OMG: Blue Light's Golden Sound

As familiar as I may be with the Playback Designs/Evolution Acoustics set-ups that Blue Light Audio's Jonathan Tinn brings to shows—one of these, with darTZeel electronics and much bigger Evolution Acoustics loudspeakers, received my Best of Show at T.H.E. Show Las Vegas a few years back—I constantly find myself amazed by the quality of the sound. This time, with Playback Design's MPS-3 DSD-capable high-resolution CD player with USB input ($8500); an Ampex ATR-102 open-reel recorder, restored by ATR Services, Inc of York, PA, playing 15ips master tapes sourced from ATR and Puget Sound Studios; and B.M.C. Audio's AMP CS2 integrated stereo amplifier ($8400) driving Evolution Acoustics' MMMicroOne 2-way monitor loudspeakers with stands ($2500/pair), the sound of a Shelby Lynne demo safety copy of her new album, provided by ATR Services, blew me away with its solid bass, powerful slam, and great depth. True, there was a bit of an edge on Lynne's voice, but it may have been room-induced, and sure didn't stop me from writing "OMG" in my notes.

Then again, we were listening to a master tape, and comparing its sound to a double DSD copy played through the Playback Designs CD player. I didn't have time to linger, but I thought the DSD version sounded a bit warmer and smoother, which sure is a good thing.

I've learned over the years how important component supports and cables are. Here, the system benefitted from Wave Kinetics' A10-U8 Component Control System ($700/set of 4) and 2NS Loudspeaker Interface System ($1600/set of 8), and, from a company new to me, AFSC cabling. The latter included AFSC-S(pades) speaker cables ($1250), AFIC-X(LR) balanced XLR interconnects ($1250), AFSC-S(ource) power cord ($1250), and AFSC-A(mplifier) power cord ($1250).

JohnnyR's picture

No that wasn't a reference to the group LMFAO by the way

John Atkinson's picture

I don't see why, JohnnyR. I listened to these speakers at CES and they produced a sound with more extended low frequencies and a wider dynamic range than I had expected from their small size. For an audiophile with a small room who can dispense with the octave and a half below 50Hz, this speaker is one to listen to.

I'd be interested in hearing what your reaction was to this speaker when you heard it. And if you haven't heard it, then why on earth would you believe anyone should pay any attention to your opnion.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

GeorgeHolland's picture

Why ask JohnnyR when he has been banned and can't reply? I find this puzzling. Maybe me was refering to the "OMG" reference and poor use of wording for a report. Are you saying that those that haven't heard something can't have an opinion? Seems a bit rude. I see opinions all the time in your forums,

Ariel Bitran's picture

"Are you saying that those that haven't heard something can't have an opinion? "

Logic would dictate yes. If you've never tasted an apple, then how could you offer an opinion on its flavor? 

Forums: open discussion is always welcome, and so are misinformed opinions, but it can certainly be the duty of the people in the discussion to call out other on their misinformed opinions.

GeorgeHolland's picture

What confuses me is the amount of attention given to correcting people on here and at the same time not answering more important questions. Seems like you are ignoring them.

Ariel Bitran's picture

But what questions are being unanswered? I will repost another comment I responded to you in another thread:


what questions was Johnny R raising in regards to the show reports? all he really seemed to be doing to me was complaining about the content of the coverage which is relatively consistent from show to show in terms of style. show reports are not reviews, they are not value judgments, they are not opinion pieces, they are short reflections on the sound heard in each room, the emotions stimulated, and the gear that made it happen.

most of what Johnny R has been doing is complaining about is the high price of the products; that they are overpriced, but with the limited time each writer spends in each room, they cannot make full value judgments (relative to lower priced or similarly priced products or higher priced) nor can they make sonic judgments with a reference system. so, they tell you what they hear, and how much the stuff costs and that's about the most of it, minus any personal flare. show reports are not the venue to criticize pricing for high-end products. At shows, manufacturers are gonna want to show your their best, and as a result, the folks AT the show have a GREAT time listening to these systems. Audio Shows for the visitors are more about fun! If you went and you saw a Toyota at a car-show and all they were showing was a beige Camry with cloth interior, would you care? would you talk about it? even if it was $19,000? 

no, you want the Delorean. or the Ferrari. b/c that's what makes a car show fun. Audio shows should be fun too.  

Just because you are reading about it here does not mean Stereophile is offering validation on the prices of these products. Any validation would have to come in the form of a full review where our staff will always offer their own opinion on sound, compare to other products and deliver a value judgment in the end as a result. 

so my question for you George is, what could Stereophile do differently in our show report that would validate JohnnyR and your objectives that would not be disqualified lack of resources to actually conduct a full review?

JohnnyR's picture

,,,,,,,,following in Fearless Leadr's footsteps at such a tender age. If your reading comprehension is so low, then I would suggest you going through all the posts once more but this time saying the words out loud so your brain can figure it all out. have fun JA Junior

chuck's picture

thanks for the great pictures and reporting -what a job- where do you sign up ?'s picture

....when Jason was there, listening to the same tracks.  The only difference between our listening was that I thought the tape rendition was a wee bit more sublime, that hard-to-describe loveliness that is perceived or sensed. The double DSD version was terrific, as expected, but the tape had that analog je-ne-sais-quoi that always pleases.

Other than that, I always trust Jason's ears, and his reporting.'s picture

....$2500 for those speakers (with stands!)?  I have heard them numerous times. They play MUSIC, and are a very worthy purchase.