I remember being impressed last year with the E.A.R./Marten/Townsend room — this year was no different, though the gear was mostly new. Starting with the triangular-profiled $6500 Marten FormFloor loudspeaker, which I thought were very good, throwing a nice wide sound stage with great imaging.
The digital front end, a new $6.5k 192 DACute D/A processor from E.A.R. fed by the latest $4.5k custom “Diamond” audio server from Music Vault, was not being used on either of my trips through the room.
What was being used was the superb $3.2k Townshend Rock 7 turntable, damping trough on full display, fitted with the $2.8k Helios Omega arm and a $5.5k Dynavector XV1S cartridge. Phono preamp was the $5.9k E.A.R. 324 and everything fed into an $8k E.A.R. 834 integrated.
The sound on this delightfully affordable (by contrast) room was every bit of wonderful. And the fact that everything fit so well, and was so closely matched in performance and price, really caught my attention and imagination. I wish I’d actually been able to hear some playback through all that pretty digital gear. My loss!
Anyway, great sound and very well done.