Parasound amplification with the Innuos Zenith, Marantz Ruby, Dr. Feickert Woodpecker Deluxe, and KEF Blade Meta speakers

Of the two systems in Parasound's large room, time only allowed a listen to the big one. Given that room's entire front wall was composed of outward-facing glass, Parasound's Phil Jackson had no choice but to opt for heavy draping that, as with all heavy draping, nipped depth in the bud.

I initially typed "death" rather than depth. Whatever that may say about my own internal preoccupations, it does not reflect on the core of the system's sound, which was gratifying alive without being hot or splashy.

On a track from Arturo Sandoval's Trumpet Evolution, the system did a fine job of depicting the trumpet's bite, but never sounded overly edgy. On Sueye Park's recording of Paganini's Caprice No. 5 in A minor, her violin sounded quite convincing. And for better or worse, soprano Renée Fleming exhibited her recognizable vaunted tonal beauty and less vaunted technical limitations on her recording of Handel's "Quando spieghi I tuoi tormenti."

Doing the honors: The first public showing of Parasound Halo JC1+ monoblocks ($9499/each), mated with the company's Halo JC2BP preamp ($3999) and Halo JCEJr. phono preamp ($1699). Also heard: Innuos Zenith 1TB music server ($4699), Marantz Ruby SACD player ($3999), Dr. Feickert Woodpecker Deluxe turntable with Schick tonearm/headshell and MoFi UltraGold MC cartridge ($9990), and KEF Blade Meta loudspeakers ($35,000/pair). The reliable word has it that while "Meta" is liable to host flames at any moment, the KEF speaker is not. Last but not least came NorStone's audio rack and amp stands and StraightWire's cabling.