Resonessence Labs Does DSD

Resonessence—what a great name for the equipment that closed out my three days of blogging RMAF 2013. Happily it sounded really good as well, especially when JA pointed out that the reason this simple system’s top at first seemed rolled off was because the only way to align our ears with the tweeters of the 20-year old, unusually short B&W mini-towers was to either crouch way over or kneel on the floor.

Thus did Resonessence Labs of Kelowna, BC Canada bring me to my knees. But why, pray tell, did the company pair its Invicta Mirus ($4995), their top-of-the-line, all-in-one music player that uses 8 Dual ESS 9018 DACs per channel to decode up to DSD 64/128 and DXD 24/384, with older loudspeakers, generic power cables, and a distinct lack of set-up graces (as in racks, supports, resonance control, and the like) save for AudioQuest Rocket 88 cabling? Because at RMAF 2012, where they also got great sound, too many visitors attributed their success, not to their electronics, but to the $20,000/pair loudspeakers they were using. I suppose if they charged $15,995 for the same electronics, people would have been less skeptical (sigh).

Streaming music from an SD card, the Invicta Mirus transcended speaker and set-up limitations, and displayed a gratifyingly warm midrange and beautiful tonalities on Pink Floyd in DSD. Then, Yello’s “Planet Dada” provided electronic stereo silliness in 16/44.1, as well as dimensionality for days. I’ll bet, with superior loudspeakers, cabling, and set-up, the Invicta Mirus is a knockout. I’d love to hear it with those $20,000 loudspeakers and some good power cables (for starters). As Stephen Sondheim says at the end of “Send in the Clowns,” “Maybe next year.”

And, with that send-off, he who is sometimes a clown despite his best intentions bids adieu to another year of blogging the one audio show that everyone I know in the industry actually looks forward to, the warm, user friendly, and consistently rich Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Here’s hoping these blogs, and the untold hours of effort that manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and show organizers put into RMAF 2013, help enrich your life with great music.

John Atkinson adds: I was impressed by the tiny Herus USB D/A headphone amplifier in this room (above). Selling for just $350, the Herus uses the ES9010-2M chip, has an asynchronous interface, and will decode both single- and double-DSD, as well as 24-bit PCM up to 352.8kHz.