Back at RMAF 2011, I thrilled to the dynamics of the big $62,000 Affascinate SE-1 from Cessaro Horn Acoustics in the High Water Sound room.
Here at the Waldorf, Jeff Catalano had his work cut out. Not satisfied with the Day-1 setup, Jeff spent another six hours that night getting them just-so for Day 2 and more time that night tweaking them again.
By Sunday, the big horns were much improved and Jeff was back to spinning vinyl from his happy place.
Whether or not you’re a horn-guy, it’s impressive as all hell to see so few watts deployed so convincingly.
I overheard some … ahh … interesting …conversations in this room, on various days. One ‘goer asked Jeff about digital playback and whether or not he had a CD player or some kind of DAC in the system. “No, I don’t have one”, Jeff said, slipping an LP back into its sleeve. The guy persisted and Jeff stopped moving, seemingly perplexed, “But we don’t do digital”, and gestured at the wall of LPs behind him.
And why should he?
With the $40,000 TW Acustic Black Knight swinging two Raven 10.5 tonearms ($5,500 each), Jeff was able to play both kinds of music: mono and stereo. For the former, he had a $1250 Miyajima Premium BE Mono. For the latter, he had a no-longer-offered A-90 from Ortofon.
Tron electronics ran the show here. A $40,000 Telstar 211 SE amplifier pushed out a couple of healthy 12 watts into the big horns, and was fronted by an $18,000 Tron Seven GT Linestage paired with an $18,000 Tron Seven GT phono pre. All cabling came from Pranawire. Platforms and racks came from SRA.
I had a quick chat with Thomas Woschnick of TW Acustics about his up and coming projects. According to Thomas, the Munich show in May will see my turntable gain a sibling. The forthcoming Raven GT will slot between the Raven One and the Raven AC, and should retail for about $10,000 US. It’ll come with space for two tonearms using the same armboards as the AC, with everything sitting on a 2.5” plinth carved from a single block of aluminum. The power supply and footers are the same as those from the much more expensive Raven Limited, introduced a year or so ago. Stay tuned for more on this front.
I noticed something odd on the power supply feeding the Black Knight – there was an LED lit up that I’d never noticed before, and one that certainly isn’t on mine. The label read “battery”. Another ‘goer saw it to, and asked Thomas about it. He then kept interrupting as Thomas tried to explain it, as if he could just somehow get him to jump to a “yes, that’s it” response. After half a dozen abortive attempts to explain himself, Thomas gave up, and then said in perfectly clear but German-accented English: “Stop. I talk, you listen. Got it?”
Ah, New York.