SAE and Eggleston Works

I spent some time listening to systems from two companies of which Brian Barr is President: SAE (Scientific Audio Electronics) and CAT (California Audio Technology). In the first, two SAE 2HP-D amplifiers ($20,000/each), which graced the cover of Stereophile when Michael Fremer reviewed the amp in the October 2016 issue, drove new bi-amped Eggleston Works 20th anniversary Limited Edition Andra Viginti speakers ($40,000/pair). Michael is currently reviewing these speakers, whose 4 ohm nominal impedance indicates that they were driven by a mere 1200Wpc of SAE power.

Sharing space on an XTC rack ($4000/shelf) were the Theta Gen. VIII DAC/preamp ($15,995) which I used to own, Theta Compli Blu transport ($3995), VPI Avenger reference turntable ($20,000) with Zu cartridge, new VPI Voyager phono preamp, and SoundChord Cabling ($50,000 total). Aaron Neville's voice sounded gorgeous and warm on a track from his LP, Everybody Plays the Fool, and bass and snap were excellent. However, there was no denying that treble sounded sharp and metallic. The same metallic treble coloration manifested on my CD of Lou Harrison's Violin Concerto, where the midrange core of the sound was shortchanged. Regardless, the response of electronics and speakers was thrillingly fast.