A Nightingale Sings...In Piazza San Marco

Ever since encountering the wonderful sound of Nightingale electronics, manufactured by Simetel of Rome (as in Italy), at the first AXPONA show in Jacksonville, I've looked forward to another visit with their Lancaster, PA-based USA representative, Valentina Ross. Her set-up of Nightingale Concentus open-baffle CTR-02 loudspeakers ($9750/pair), Onda 90 monoblock amplifiers ($12,450/pair), PTS-03 preamplifier ($9750), CR-1600 line conditioner ($3960), and unnamed source and cabling—her assistants, who handed me literature, spoke little English—was one of the most attractive at the show, and the sound remarkably open and spacious.

I loved the beautiful, warm tube sound and delicious depiction of a track from an RCA Living Stereo Stokowski CD, but regretted that the room left soprano Eileen Farrell's voice lamentably unfocused. My hunch is that huge airspace above most of the big rooms on the mezzanine was the culprit. Nonetheless, the inherent beauty of sound had my heart singing.