Sadhan Audio, NuForce, Crystal Cable, Shunyata, Monster, VibraISO

A newcomer from Denver, Colorado, Erwin Jesudason's Sadhan Audio made its debut at AXPONA, presenting its new preamplifier, cables, and loudspeakers. Though humble and homey-looking, this minimalist system was sweetly transparent, its largish floorstanding speakers imaged beautifully and practically vanished, casting a wide, deep soundstage. Some more expensive systems lack the Sadhan Audio system's effortless reproduction and natural tone, which made a CD by Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, and Mike Marshall a toe-tapping wonder. (The late Art Dudley often said if a system got you bumping and dancing, it's onto something good). I could have plopped myself down in this room and never moved.

Regarding his partially open-baffle Aern Speakers ($5000/pair), Jesudason later wrote: "It's a hybrid speaker with traditional MTM (mid-tweeter-mid) housing a QuasiPoint high-frequency driver with traditional cone mid-woofers and a ported bass enclosure with traditional cone drivers. I use acoustic shaping cloth for sides and rear designed to attenuate certain frequencies and to add slight delay and dispersion to the rear high frequency radiation pattern. A carbon-fiber waveguide widens the high-frequency dispersion pattern of the planar drivers. This together, with the baffle, helps maintain tonal balance over a wide space in front and almost to the horizontal plane of the speakers. The result is only a slight shift in tonal balance throughout the room."

Jesudason's system consisted of the Aern loudspeakers (40Hz–20kHz, 90–91dB sensitivity), an Arcam CD player, a Model S preamplifier prototype ($2000–$3000 depending on power supply option), a Doge 8 LP tube preamplifier (for comparison only), a NuForce STA 200 class-D amplifier, VibraISO footers/filters, in brass ($320 for set of 3) and titanium ($1149 for a set of 3). I spied a large Monster Power and small Shunyata Hydra Model-2 conditioners round back, routing Sadhan's PCS 1 and PCS 3 power cables ($500–$800). Sadhan's SS Model S speaker cables ($800/8ft pair) and Crystal Cable Absolute Dreams interconnects were also in use.

Sweet sounds for minimal $$$ outlay. A thrill, same as it ever was.