deHavilland and Sonist: An Ideal Union

After years of searching for the right speakers to match deHavilland electronics, Kara Chaffee of Vancouver, WA has happily alighted on the ultra-efficient Sonist line. It's a wonderful match.

When I entered the room, the CD sound was as mellow as can be, with a gorgeous midrange and excellent sound staging. Gone was the darkness I used to associate with the deHavilland Mercury III tube preamp with remote control ($4495) and KE-50A KT88 monoblock power amps ($9995/pair). For this, credit is due Chafee's latest electronic refinements and the excellence of the Sonist Concerto 3 floorstanders ($3495/pair, Concerto 2 standmounts ($2495/pair), and Recital 3 standmounts ($1795/pair). Kubala-Sosna cabling also played its estimable part.

Not only did I fall in love with the sound, I also fell in love with the soulful voice of Lizz Wright. I cannot imagine going much further in life without acquiring her album, I'm in Love (Verve Forecast). The feeling is mutual, Lizz.

I didn't audition the Kara Chaffee Engineering Model 222 Vacuum Tube Magnetic Tape Playback Preamp ($2295) this time around because I spent so much time raving about its debut at the Dagogo California Audio Show a few months back. When my husband paid a visit to the show on the final day, we spent a good half hour in this room, seduced by old reel-to-reels of Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, and Everest classics. I don't think I've ever had so much fun in an exhibit room at a show.

Kara will demo all this equipment for the Bay Area Audiophile Society in December, when she transports the whole show to Casa Bellecci-Serinus in East Oakland. I can't wait.