Toronto Home of Audiophile: Gershman/Pass Labs/PS Audio/Weiss/GutWire

I heard some very nice sound in retailer Toronto Home of Audiophiles' room, whose system included the Gershman Grande Avantgarde speakers ($16,995/pair), a perennial favorite of mine at shows because they always sound good, hooked up to a Pass Labs XP22 preamp ($14,400), the Pass Labs X150.8 amplifier ($10,500), a source combination of a PS Audio DirectStream Memory player ($9500) and a Roon Ready Weiss DAC 501 ($12,495), another product featuring room EQ. Cabling was all GutWire: interconnects, digital cable, speaker cables, and power cables, with a GutWire power conditioner.

The DirectStream player might be the most versatile player I know of when it comes to the kinds of digital formats it can play. Along with regular old CD, it reads the DSD layer on SACD discs, plays HDCDs, DVD-Audio discs, HRx discs—of which I own one that I've never been able to play, so here's my chance—Blu-ray discs and, finally, regular homemade CD-R-type discs. It also has a USB port on its facade for those who want to play music stored on an external hard drive, such as a thumb drive.

Playing CDs, what I heard listening to well-recorded jazz excerpts was some of the most solid imaging so far at the show, with sound that was notably textured, rich, and harmonically resplendent.

Double bass notes were meaty and bold, piano sounds were clear as crystal and real-life dynamic, its notes ringing out forever as if from the peak of a mountain. Along with its big and brimming-with-detail presentation, the system projected a palpable sense of realism, likely due to it being so good at reproducing the fundamental timbres of instruments.

It was a sensational sonic pleasure!

(All prices in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.)