Ending on a High Note

Although it can sometimes seem quite illusive, or only reserved for the chosen few, high-end proof of the proverbial scales of justice surfaced in the last room I was privileged to visit.

There I encountered the striking Red Rock Renaissance amplifiers, push-pull 50Wpc tubed monoblocks ($28,750/pair) designed by RMAF co-founder Al Stiefel and Gordon Maughan. The Red Rocks were paired with visually arresting Gershman Acoustics Black Swan loudspeakers ($30,000/pair), Exemplar Audio’s Exception II preamplifier ($3250) and Extant DAC ($8800), and Magnan cables. The system exhibited exceptionally fast, excellent highs. Especially realistic was the sense of recording venue conveyed on Karina Gauvin’s recording of Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne.

Al, you not only put on an extraordinary show, but also designed one helluva amp. You sure are doing something right. And that includes your choice of your absolutely fabulous mate.

Equal credit for the sonics (not the spouse) goes to the Gershman Black Swans. Each speaker consists of two separate cabinets, isolated from each other to prevent vibration from spreading from the woofer to the other drivers. The woofers can also be moved forward and back to achieve optimal time alignment. 88dB sensitive, the Gershmans mated exceptionally well with Red Rock amplification. I can only imagine how they would sound driven by more powerful but equally musical electronics.

The time has come to wrap myself in the high-end flag and bid this blog a fond farewell. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve.

Jay Valancy's picture

I concur. The blog was like touring the show with a real person - one who loves music AND equipment and is not afraid to have a point of view or, listen with an open mind.It is sad, however, the number of brands that are available for audition only at shows.