Las Vegas 2013: Melody HiFi, Trinity, MG Audio Designs and Triode Wire Labs

You know you made a wrong turn when the first thing you see in a demo room is your review tacked up to the entry. Eeep. Sure enough, Triode Pete came walking in as I was snapping pics — his robust, elegant-sounding, and relatively affordable, Triode Wire Labs power cords were wired into everything. I really like Pete’s power cords — they’re as good as anything I’ve heard in this category, and perhaps even more importantly (for some of us), they’re wickedly flexible. Got a light-weight component that your mega-cord will flip over? Sell it and try a Triode Wire Labs Twelve+: bam and done! You can use the left-over cash to buy another for your preamp, and another for your amp ….

Working out from there, the speaker cables and interconnects were new to me, but something I’d heard about — here on Part-Time Audiophile, actually — from several readers: MG Audio Design. This was the first room I walked into at T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas, and it was Greg Graff who was the only one in the room when I came knocking at not-quite-show-hours (oops). Greg was all too happy to show me his company’s speaker cables, the very impressive and all-new Planus III ribbons. This cable is 3″ wide for the entirety of its length, and instead of braided wire, it’s actually a very thin copper foil that uses Teflon as a dialectric. I’ve never seen anything like them … well, that’s not entirely true, but there’s nothing I know of being currently made that looks like this (except, maybe, something from Mapleshade). I’m sure it violates any number of audiophile design principles, but I was curious enough to request review samples [which are here now and are outstanding, if you were wondering — ed]. Pricing is not terribly entry level, just warning you, and starts at $1,500/pair. Matching interconnects — well, matching in that they’re ribbons too, just made from different materials and with a narrower foil ribbon — $700/m for copper and $950/m for silver. I’ll have more to say about these guys in the future, I’m quite sure, but in the meantime, you can see that the guys at StereoMojo love them.

Shown here with electronics and speakers, courtesy of Angel City Audio, I was really happy to find the Melody Valve HiFi gear. I love the look of that liquid-black finish on the M845 monoblock amplifiers ($5,899/pair). These 845-based amps put out 21wpc — more than enough for most loudspeakers, including the Trinity Series monitor.

The ACA Trinity is a 2-way, ported LCR monitor designed to share duty between Home Theater and 2-channel use.  There are two tonally identical variants, with a shallower cabinet (Trinity-C) for the center and surround channels and a deeper one (Trinity-LR) for the front left and right positions.  We offer flexible bundles to form any combination to fit your needs.

Pricing for the Trinity is $999 for Center and $2599 for a left/right channel pair.

Fronting all of this was the new Melody “reference” preamplifier, the P2688 ($6,999):

The P2688 is Melody’s premium-line cousin to the Pure Black 101. It uses the same distinctive 101D tubes but now features NOS Western Electric 403 input tubes and adds a host of internal component upgrades commensurate with the other pieces of Melody’s “AN” series. The result is open, clear, smooth, and effortless.

Okay, so as to the sound! First, let me say that I’ve heard a lot of this gear in various combinations in the last few audio shows, and yes, it’s routinely above par. The prices of the various components here is way below par, too — a delightful happenstance. That said, there were no excuses being made here in this room — a first stop, before everything had a chance to warm up and come on-song, and guess what? It’s a damn good thing I’m broke. I’m completely enamored of the Melody gear, the little Trinity speakers sound anything but little, and yes, I was very tickled by what I heard and saw here. I came back three times, and each time, the sound was better — fuller, riper, and more engaging.