Super Salk

Bob Walters of the Bay Area Audiophile Society often refers to Jim Salk's loudspeakers as one of the best buys in high-end audio. Certainly I have never heard them sound better in a show context. Using an AVA ABX switch ($1499), Salk Audio switched between three of its speakers: Salk Silk Bookshelf ($3499/pair), Salk Supercharged SongTowers ($3495/pair), and, the largest Salk SoundScape 8s ($7995/pair). The 8 uses the same RAAL ribbon tweeter, Accuton midrange, and 12" passive radiators as in the two larger SoundScape models (not shown), albeit with two 8" drivers.

On an unidentified classical track—Jim, who knew, was out sneaking a smoke—I admired the really nice full-range sound of the enormously impressive Soundscape 8, and bass that remained in control despite the fact that one of each speaker's side-firing woofers was firing right into the side of the SongTowers. As we switched down the line, from largest to smallest, bass inevitably diminished, but the highs remained wonderful. This was a very, very impressive demo, and a perfect way for me to bid adieu to three days of listening at AXPONA 2013.

All-important associated equipment: Salk StreamPlayer ($1299); Audio by Van Alstine FETValve hybrid DAC ($2499), FET Valve hybrid preamplifier ($2499), and FET Valve 600R amplifier ($3499); sundry unidentified interconnects; and Salk custom speaker cables (NFS). Associated reaction: All thumbs up.