Japan’s Technical Audio Devices Laboratories, Inc. (TAD) brought several products to CAF, including the US debut of the TAD Grand Evolution One (GE1) floor-standing speakers ($65,000/pair) and new TAD C1000 preamplifier ($24,950). Also in Room 651—hosted by Professional Audio Design (PAD)—were the TAD TAD-D1000MK2 disc player ($21,000), TAD-DA1000TX DAC ($15,900), and, driving the GE-1s, a pair of TAD TAD-M700 monoblocks. Synergistic Research supplied cables, including SR30 Speaker Cables $499/pair); other Synergistic products included the aPowercell SX ($8995), Synergistic Research Black Box ($1,995), and a Synergistic Research Galileo SX ground block ($7995). Jocavi Acoustics Mopi and Low Note C panels ($2500) and a Wolf Audio streamer ($9250 - $12,750) completed this statuesque gear mountain.

TAD's CEO, Shinji Tarutani, and TAD sales and marketing manager, Kazuto Okura, supplied the shiny product while Professional Audio Design's Dave Malekpour gave the lowdown on TAD's philosophy and the new equipment.

The massive soundfield producing rig showcasing the GE1 floorstanders was like no other at CAF. It created the deepest, most extended, room-filling and brain-frying low-end I've heard outside of a recording studio. Bass was seismic. Mids were clean, upper register sounds, cleaner. London Grammar's "Hey Now" (from the album, If You Wait) was silky smooth. Low-end tight and smooth. The new audiophile anthem, Boz Scaggs’ "Thanks to You," was immediate, thick, and viscous.

In Room 653, a Wolf Audio streamer ($9250), TAD-DA1000TX DAC ($15,900), TAD C600 Preamplifier and TAD-M700S Stereo Amplifier ($60,500) drove TAD CR1TX Compact Reference speakers with ST-1 stands ($87,500). Synergistic Cabling and Jocavi Acoustics panels made a repeat performance.

On Rickie Lee Jones's "Last Chance Texaco," Steve Gadd's spanning drum tattoos were clean and deep, spanning the soundstage left to right. Stevie Ray Vaughan’s "Tin Pan Alley" was similarly rich. The smaller TAD rig was nearly the match of its larger, more expensive sibling, and I wanted for little.