Stunning Sound from Music Lovers and Musical Surroundings

In the much smaller Music Lovers/Musical Surroundings room, we heard a sound very different from what we heard in the previous, massive ballroom. Just as capable of being gentle, the present system—Wilson Sophia loudspeakers, Ayre V-5xe power amplifier, K-5xe MP preamplifier, MacBook Pro feeding data to the USB input of the Ayre DX-5 disc player, Clearaudio Innovation and Concept turntables, Fosgate and Ayre phono preamplifiers, and lots of Synergistic Research ART room treatments and cabling—showcased muscularity, speed, and drama.

Of course this had something to do with the music we were listening to, but I also think that the smaller Sophias were better locked-in with the smaller room, providing more immediate and more physical low frequencies.

The portrayal of James Blake’s “Wilhelms Scream” (which has been playing in my mind all day) was fast, weighty, and present, with very fun spatial effects. And “Lost and Found” on Amon Tobin’s ISAM produced massive waves of low-bass energy that coursed through the room and seemed to push the walls outward.

“This is stunning,” said Wilson’s Peter McGrath. “Stunning!”

And I agreed. This was one of my favorite rooms of the show.