A Winner from VPI, Totem, Transparent, and Simaudio

The three best lower-cost systems that I heard at CES were this one ($7105 total) and others from Chord/Spendor and Music Hall; thanks in no small part to Totem's founder, Vince Bruzzese, whose extensive traveling has brought him in touch with a treasure chest's worth of eclectic titles that he searched out on Tidal and then purchased in physical form, this one was hands down the most musically enjoyable.

When I entered the room, a track about LSD by A$AP Rocky was streaming from his album At. Long. Last. ASAP. Beyond the incongruous association of the artist's cracked voice with the adventures of my youth, the soundstage was wide, the colors saturated and pleasingly rich (if unvarying between selections), and the entire experience lots of fun. Equally compelling, for reasons of sonics and musical uniqueness, were tracks from Iver Kleive, Ljiljana Butler, and, on LP, Alan Toussaint's The Bright Mississippi. Note to self: If you can, spend more time in Vince's room at the next show.

These great tracks did a perfect job showcasing Totem's new Signature One bookshelf loudspeakers ($2650/pair), VPI's Cliffwood turntable with Grado Green MM cartridge ($895), Transparent's near-entry-level cabling, including their MusicLink phono ($250/1.5-meter pair), and Simaudio's new Moon 240i integrated amplifier with phono stage ($2100) and Moon CD 260D ($3000). To quote Transparent's Director of Product Development, Josh Clark, "I think our entry-level cables are our most extraordinary product."

spacehound's picture

There is nothing "extraordinary" about any length of wire use in audio systems.

If there is the wire is faulty.

iListen's picture

you couldn't be more wrong. sorry. if you think all interconnects are the same, you shouldn't even be on this site. Walmart audio will do just fine. please do not make accounts to troll.

spacehound's picture

Where did I say I thought all interconnects are the same?
Of course they aren't - they vary in length, color, termination, and price for a start.

They can vary on 'sound quality' too of course. But as they are purely passive devices they cannot ADD to the sound quality, only leave it unaltered (best) or degrade it in some way, usually by being a filter, deliberately or accidentally.

And as the 'science' (which is very simple) of cables has been known for 100 years plus and is always far nearer 'perfection' by several orders of magnitude than what it is connecting every so-called 'high end' cable is a rip-off.

They MUST be or they would not sound different from each other, as there is only one 'perfection'.

I will believe this cable stuff only when the designer shows us his Nobel Prize for discovering previously unknown physics.

Bear in mind - many people here forget, or choose to ignore, that recording music as accurately as possible and later reproducing it as accurately as possible is engineering based on known science.
In that it is no different in principle from any other engineering goal. Yet AFAIK not a single manufacturer of these so-called 'high end' cables has ever been able to produce any known science to back up their claims.

RebelMan's picture

Precisely stated spacehound!

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

This thread is silly. "Extraordinary," in this case, clearly refers to the cable's price/performance ratio.

spacehound's picture

The entire 'high end' cable business is a nonsense that verges on fraud.