Sony, Rogue, Nordost

Show attendees have grown accustomed to hearing Sony's SSAR-1 loudspeakers ($27,000/pair) and other components mated with Pass Labs electronics. This time, however, their appearance with Rogue Audio's Hera II preamp ($8995) and Apollo Dark monoblocks ($14,995/pair), with Nordost Valhalla 2 cabling and power treatment, made for a unique and most successful pairing. This room sponsored by Holm Audio of Chicago was a definite best-of-show contender.

With the source Sony's justly praised Sony HAP-Z1ES ($1999) all-in-one, double DSD upsampling server/player (which I think of as the happy server), the anything but bass-shy Valhalla 2 conveyed the impressive depth of the speaker's low bass. The wonderful, Rogue electronics not only shared equal responsibility for the low end, but also conveyed a deeply musical, extremely beautiful and welcoming sound. Although everyone regretted that the bolts needed to attach Nordost's Sort Fut speaker footers to the SSAR-1s were too long, thus robbing us of the opportunity to evaluate their effects (which, at CES, greatly enhanced bass weight and clarity, as well as the overall transparency of presentation), what we did hear was memorable, nonetheless.

Allen Fant's picture

Thank You! JVS for your excellent coverage of this event. I am a big Sony ES fan and have these loudspeakers on my short-list to audition as soon as I can visit one of the 6 U.S. dealers/retailers.