Wynn Audio presents the new Kalista DreamPlay X CD transport and first USA showing of the Karan Acoustics POWERa power amplifier

For looks alone, few systems could top that from Ontario-based Wynn Audio. Perhaps the most eye-catching CD transport on the market, the Kalista DreamPlay X CD Transport ($68,800) with large outboard power supply, teamed with the DAC in the Métronome AQWO CD Player ($20,000) to create an awesome front end. Next to them, the unusual Vimberg Amea Bookshelf speakers ($18,000/pair; above) looked somewhat tame (which they weren't).

Throw in the first US showing of Karan Acoustics' POWERa Stereo Amplifier ($53,000; below), which outputs 650Wpc into 8ohms and includes Critical Mass Systems Centerstage Footers; Karan's LINEa Preamplifier ($41,000); a save-the-day (thank you, Oz Turan) Thrax Dionysys preamp (below) that filled in for a delayed-in-transit unit, two Entreq Olympus Infinity T Ground boxes ($4900/each), and Crystal Cable's Art Series cabling with "Infinite Crystal Silver" conductors and special noise-lowering ground technology, and you have quite the system.

"What's not to like?" I asked about a system that perfectly articulated the piano, bass and drums on an Audio Lab Japanese CD of jazz by Junko Kimura, Osamu Kawakami, and Donald Bailey (CDA-351). The music was perfectly articulated, timbrally correct, warm, and clear. The sound of every instrument was spot on. An excerpt of Chopin Nocturne, from Gryphon's 24k gold CD sampler, and another from Dorian's Romantic Encores for Violin, further confirmed that colors were excellent. When I describe this as a true, non-hyped audiophile experience, I say it with the highest respect. This system sounded as I hope music will sound.

The Kalista DreamPlay X CD transport (above) is Kalista's first transport to support SACD. Upsampling to 24/192 PCM is possible through AES/EBU and S/PDIF, and to DSD256 through HDMI/i2s. Forthcoming is the DreamPlay XC ($79,000) that will feature a built-in DAC and digital preamp.