Super Soundsmith

Although Soundsmith brought to Chicago the very same system it exhibited at RMAF in Denver last October, there was nothing has-been about the sound. In fact, sonics that I often find enticingly romantic, as on the slightly warm side, this time sounded far more neutral, yet infused with the glow that makes Peter Ledermann's cartridges and electronics so special.

Ledermann played Reference Recordings' half-speed mastered LP of Eiji Oue's Minnesota Orchestra performance of Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances. The triangle's sound was exceptional—"That's the strain-gauge [cartridge] you're hearing," said Ledermann—and everything else seemed just right. It was especially impressive to hear how well his smallest speakers conveyed the illusion of massive timpani strikes.

You can find a description of the system's components here. Not everything in the room at RMAF was in use, but you can get the picture. When I asked Peter what was special about his equipment rack, he replied, "We picked it because the cardboard it's packed in is reusable." Sure sounds (and sounded) good to me.