YG Acoustics Sonja 2.3 speakers; Nordost QPoint, QSource and cables; VTL Siegfried Series II amplifiers, TP-6.5 Series II phonostage and TL-7.5 Series II preamplifier; dCS Rossini player and clock; VPI direct drive turntable; Lyra Etna Cartridge

On the second day of RMAF 2019, I visited nine big rooms in the Gaylord Convention Center. I even spent time in rooms I had not intended to cover, in an attempt to get a handle on the sonic challenges exhibitors faced in those oversized spaces. After auditioning equipment pairings both familiar and new and hearing the same sonic characteristics—overly preponderant midrange, toned down and even seriously truncated top, grayed colors, and many more regrettables—I came to the conclusion that the acoustics in the Gaylord’s often impossibly large 3rd floor convention spaces are not good for music.

That the first big room I visited sounded as good as it did, which was far from the best I’ve heard those components sound, was due to the expertise of setup wizard Stirling Trayle. A lot of room treatment was brought in during setup, but after Trayle did his thing, most of it was stashed in a hallway.

The system, from Nordost, VTL, and YG Acoustics, was headlined by VTL’s Siegfried Series II monoblocks ($75,000/pair), TP-6.5 Series II phonostage ($12,500), and TL-7.5 Series III linestage preamplifier ($30,000); a special edition of YG Acoustics Sonja 2.3 loudspeakers wired with Nordost ($112,800/pair); and enough Nordost Odin 2 cabling and power products to keep several silver and copper mines operating for weeks. The sound, on an LP of a Haydn trio, a 24/96 rip of a ½" master-tape recording of Ella singing “Black Coffee,” and my CD of Patricia Barber’s Higher, was smooth, warm, and inviting, but it wanted for overtones, leading edge, and punch. Yes, even the Haydn.

Michael Marko treated us to the first demo I’ve witnessed of Nordost’s new QPoint Resonance Synchronizer ($749.99 each). Powered by a QSource Linear Power Supply ($2499.99) and connected by QSource DC cables ($259.99 each), the QSource is a little puck that is placed under equipment and, according to Nordost, “emits a subtle field which manipulates all electromechanical resonances within its immediate proximity so that they resonate in unison with each other.” What I heard, when it was applied to the system during the Patricia Barber recording, which I reviewed as a Record of the Month, was more silence between notes, a bigger soundstage, and more directness, which made for a more convincing and lifelike presentation. Granted, I did not witness multiple A/B demos, but I heard enough to make me eager to hear another demo, either at a show or at home.

Other essential components of the system: VPI HW40 direct drive turntable with 12” arm ($17,495) and Lyra Etna cartridge ($8995), dCS Rossini player and clock ($35,998), and Finite Elemente Pagode racks and stands.

Ortofan's picture

... to automatically adjust itself for the deficiencies of the room in which it is installed?

Curious is the apparent lack of inclusion of an electronic room acoustics compensation device in any of the demo systems. McIntosh and Accuphase, to name two, offer such units and Yamaha includes that function in a two-channel receiver selling for a mere $750.

BillK's picture

Every electronic compensation device I've heard has done more damage than good in my experience.

McIntosh claims theirs does not, but it still doesn't sound quite right to me.

Ortofan's picture

... otherwise:

Likewise for this one:

BillK's picture

I'm not sure why they listed it that way, but Nordost had the incorrect price for the VPI HW-40 listed on their price sheet.

It currently retails for $15,000.