AXPONA 2012: Scaena, Conrad-Johnson, dCS, Veloce, Nordost

Scaena is Latin for “line source speakers with monster subwoofers”. Okay, I made that up. But that’s what I think of whenever I see Scaena hit the showroom floor.

At AXPONA, the $110k Spiritus 3.4 system, including the two dual-18″ subs, was extraordinarily impressive looking. The lighting in the room was rather low, which is a shame, because it means that the gorgeous pearlescent finish on the speakers would have been largely impossible to see if you were sitting down in the sweet spot. Instead, you’ll have to settle for what my Canon did to the slippery colors — and no, the speakers didn’t look quite that trippy in person. Close. But not quite.

The thing about line sources is that all those little drivers compete with each other. It works really well, however, if you’re in the sweet spot. Or so I’m told. I didn’t rate a good seat. Okay, that’s not fair. This room was always packed, so I didn’t even rate a seat on any of my three visits to the room. Which meant that while I got great pics, I only got so-so sound.

These subwoofers look a lot like missile launchers. You’ve been warned.

The front end was an $80k dCS Scarlatti rack, heading off into one of the newly revised $18k LS-1 linestages from Veloce Audio.

[Sigh]. It’s in my color, too.

Amplification came from a $35k pair of Conrad-Johnson ART monoblocks.

All cabling was from Nordost’s top of the line Odin lineup. Pricing is by request only. Okay, I made that up, but if you have to ask ….