Wynn Audio/Vimberg/Kalista/Karan Acoustics/Crystal Cable

In the killer-sound megabuck category, I present to you Wynn Audio's system, which, in your typical hotel exhibit room, wouldn't fit or, if it did, would be so squished together as to make the room look like a storage space, not a listening area. Here, in the spacious hall-like Carlyle room, Wynn Audio's system fit like a glove, a musical glove, I might add. Compared to its system at the last Toronto show in 2019, Wynn Audio went slightly lower key this time, not in the size or price of the equipment, but in the color of the demoed speakers. Those in 2019 were finished in an alluringly striking lime green. Forget lower key—this year was lower key lime.

For this year's show, Wynn Audio went with a more traditional white for nearly all its components, and the global visual effect was smashing in a James Bond white dinner suit way.

Also smashing was the sound. This system was probably the most lifelike sounding of all the systems I heard at the show, and by lifelike I mean that gave me the impression of hearing an actual band playing live in front of me, visually and sonically—the latter, in no small part—and there's a lesson here in acoustics—abetted by the fact that this system was in a room big enough to let the music breathe out, expand, bloom, and otherwise accommodate the sound without physical constraints. It all amounted to delivering a close approximation of what some people like to term the absolute sound.

Replacing 2019's Vimberg Mino D loudspeakers were Vimberg's flagship speaker, the 3-way, 90dB-sensitive Tonda D speakers ($90,000/pair), while downstream components included a pair of 2100Wpc Karan Acoustics Master Collection POWERa monoblocks ($145,000/pair) and LINEa preamp ($55,000), and, making its North American debut!—a Kalista Audio DreamPlay XC SACD/CD player that incorporates a digital preamp and can stream DSD ($100,000). All cabling belonged to Crystal Cable's Art series.

It all amounted to offering a near 1:1 replica model of a stage on which life-sized musicians played authentically sounding instruments.

Is it live or is it Memorex? It's Wynn Audio's system at the Toronto Audiofest 2022!

(All prices in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.)