Well Pleased AV, Vinnie Rossi, Merason, QLN

Well Pleased AV’s Mark Sossa corralled me for an early-morning listen session. I'm glad he did.

Mark brought an Innous Statement Next Gen Music Server ($25,000), a Mearson DAC1 MKII ($8500), and an Innous Phoenix NET network switch ($4350) to complete the all-digital front end.

Vinni Rossi’s Brama Integrated Amp (rated at 200Wpc into 8 ohms, 400Wpc into 4 ohms, $47,995) drove the QLN Reference 9 Loudspeakers ($42,000) in a worldwide debut.

The Reference 9 Loudspeaker, QLN’s flagship, is a 3-way bass reflex speaker with a 6dB-slope crossover between midrange and tweeter. The cabinet is made of a 40mm Qboard® sandwich with a visco-elastic damping layer. A 9", coated, ultra-stiff carbon sandwich cone woofer is joined to a proprietary 7" Kevlar cone midrange driver with hexagonal copper voice coils. The 25mm tweeter features an airflow magnet system and a new acoustic chamber said to eliminate compression, reflections, and resonances. Sensitivity is specified as 91dB/2.83V/m, the nominal impedance, 4 ohms.

This system had synergy and sweetness whether playing Mark’s favorite hip-hop from Gang Starr or my selections of contemporary tenor giant JD Allen or old school tenor swinger Illinois Jacquet. It played all types of music with sensuous appeal and fine ambient detail, with a dynamic range that took me by surprise on Jacquet’s high-flying saxophone shouts and the intricate orchestral shading of Camille Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre, with exceptional depth, rhythmic speed, and texture.

An SGR Audio Model 5/3/1 Symphony Rack, comprised of Model 1 Amp Stand ($1200), Model 3 Shelf ($2200), and Model 5 Shelf ($3200) supported the electronics. Analog cabling was Graceline Level, 3 including a 4m pair of speaker cable ($13,995/pair), 1.5m XLR interconnects ($6495), and 2m power cords ($7995). An AB-Tech REN 2m ethernet cable ($1250) and a 2m KLAR USB cable ($1350) completed the chain.