Wired with Sound: Marantz Model 30, Definitive Technology D15, Kimber Kable, Torus Power, and Salamander Designs

(All prices are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise indicated)

In the mood for an under $20,000 audiophile-grade system? Excellent, because I found one in the room sponsored by Wired with Sound. There, I met owner James Drew, a chap I liked as soon as he’d offered me a beer (which, for the record, I politely declined). On display was a simple (but potent) little system comprising a pair of 3-way Definitive Technology Demand D15 speakers ($3999/pair), the 100Wpc class-D Marantz Model 30 integrated amplifier ($3999; see Herb Reichert's review, here), and 30N SACD-streamer ($3999), with cabling by Kimber Kable, power conditioning by Torus Power, and racks by Salamander Designs.

On two Roon-streamed tracks, one by Supertramp and the other by post–Peter Gabriel Genesis, I heard great imaging, a well-sorted soundstage, and an overall character that was lively and detailed but non-fatiguing.

As a side note, James said two things that left an impression on me. He said he couldn’t remember previously having so many women and new-to-the-hobby enthusiasts visit one of his exhibit rooms as at this show—a claim corroborated by other exhibitors. He also said that many of those visitors expressed the same sentiment when they entered his room: “Finally, a system I can afford.” An audiophile-grade system that doesn’t cost as much as a (new) car!

SoundLovers HiFi's picture

Nice to see this system at the show, we actually have all of it in stock and on display....great value!

thatguy's picture

That is still a lot of money for most people; however for those that have it, spend it once and enjoy it for decades.

daveyf's picture

Whomever stated ‘finally a system priced less than a car’, really is who the industry should take note of, imho.
The question is whether the industry would prefer to sell one of something to the ultra well to do…and make a very nice profit on the single sale, or to sell multiples and make less per transaction…but the same or more in the long run…that seems to be the question; one that so far most manufacturers in this industry have decided upon…

thatguy's picture

It would be interesting to study the different business models for audio companies with the resulting expenses and profits and how the variety of different companies do with them.

I would think if they can find their niche in a high dollar, low volume market it is a pretty good place to be. Less employee overhead, less inventory to worry about.

The middle area can be a tough one as the overhead increases along with the volume and slight fluctuations in business can hit hard because overhead expenses don't change quickly. Predicting demand is quite key. It would also seem to be difficult to try to keep a feel of the product being special while competing more on price with countless other manufactures.

The golden place to be is what I call the iphone zone. The top end of the price market and a volume seller with the name recognition of an exclusive brand.