Musical Fidelity

Musical Fidelity's US distributor Signal Path invited John Atkinson and me to hear the American debut of the kW DM25 Transport ($3000) and kW DM25 DAC ($3500). I didn't know the prices of the separates, so when I saw how luxe they looked I added an extra zero to the prices. But no, they really do cost just $6500 together.

That's a lot of green, but the DM25s are solid and drop-dead gorgeous, not to mention full of nifty technology. The transport has an adjustable suspension—"Tunable" was how David Solomon put it. It also splits the digital signal into separate left and right balanced AES/EBU upconverted 24-bit 96kHz signals. The DM25 DAC then upsamples that signal to 24-bit 192kHz.

Both units employ multiple choke-regulated power supplies and use tube and class-A solid-state circuitry. The DAC also accepts a conventional digital input and allows switching between input sources.

David Solomon played my copy of Tuatara's Trading With The Enemy through a system that included the kW Line Pre ($4500), the kW 750 ($10,000)—both reviewed by Michael Fremer in the December 2005 Stereophile—and a pair of B&W 800 Diamonds ($20,000/pair). Holy moly!

Everybody kind of nodded their heads to the music at first, but as the band began to cook and Steve Berlin and Skerik began trading sax solos, jaws began to drop and bodies began to sway. It was intensely physical and almost physically dynamic. What it wasn't like was recorded music—it wasn't quite "identical to the real thing," but I've never heard that. It was pretty darn close—and awfully darn thrilling.