The Signal Collection

The system in distributor The Signal Collection's room was decidedly esoteric: Klimo Labor Merlino preamp ($6699) and Tine class-A tube monoblocks ($8999/pair) from Italy, and the Transmission Audio M1i Ribbon Mini speakers from Sweden ($4499/pair), hooked up with Klimo Labor Reference interconnect ($2999/1.2m pair) and Stereolab Diablo speaker cable from the USA ($1395/2.5m pair). Source was a more mundane Oppo BDP-95 universal player ($999). The speakers caught my attention, as they are designed by the engineer responsible for the similar-looking Red Rose Music R3 that Michael Fremer reviewed for Stereophile a decade ago. However, the treble above 3kHz is now handled by four ribbon units.

The sound in this room benefited from the presence of M•A Recordings' Todd Garfinkle, who played me some of his new recordings recorded at either 176.4kHz or 88.2kHz. A track at 176.4kHz, "Sera Una Noches," which featured guitar, bass clarinet, bandoneon, and female voice and which Todd made with a Fostex solid-state recorder and custom mikes using a DPA capsule mounted on a battery powered preamp body, was about as natural-sounding as I can imagine.