CAF 2013: Daedalus, Modwright, Purity, WyWires, Kanso (updated!)

Daedalus Audio‘s Lou Hinkley and Modwright‘s Dan Wright were on hand to show off some tasty bits, including a newly re-worked Argo and a prototype DAC. For the former, the Argo has mostly “invisible” tweaks, but you can expect the usual sorts of suspects, even if Lou himself is practicing his I’m-a-mime routine on the whole thing. All he’s willing to say is “it’s better”. The Argo is currently shipping and is still $12,950/pair.

Dan was a bit more forthcoming. The Burr-Brown 1794-based current-output DAC sports Lundahl transformers both in and out, so there’s no filter or caps required. The usual complement of inputs and outputs will be available, and the USB input will leverage the ubiquitous (and excellent) Tenor chipset. The DAC itself is going to be a single-box (no outboard PSU, like the Oppo uses) design, is targeting the $6,000 price point, and should be shipping by year’s end.

The new Purity preamp took a bow today, too. The Silver Statement Line Stage ($31,995) is not their top-of-the-line, exactly, but it’s insane enough for all but the most manly of wallets men. I’ve been angling to get one of these in for a review for the last two years now, but Bill Baker and crew apparently have no love for me. Ahem. Anyway, this is the new, all-metal, chassis — a large departure from their iconic trapezoidal acrylic casework.

A ModWright KWA 150 Signature Edition ($8,495) stereo amp drove plenty of power into the room. WyWires Platinum cabling, a collaboration of Lou Hinkley and WyWires’ Alex Sventitsky, was used throughout — prices start at $1,495 for interconnects/pair and $2,299 for the new speaker cables. Another Wywires/Daedalus collaboration, the Power Broker AC distribution system ($2,499), sat off to the side (check that out, here).

An impressive-looking Kanso Audio Furniture Hamoni series rack kept everything tidy and safe from vibration ($8,970, as configured).

Lou admits that the room was challenging. An irregular space with air-core walls would have needed a truckload of ATS panels to “fix”. That said, I heard Dire Straits play with convincing air, speed and jump. Boring? Um, no? Some of music was a bit sleepy, but a quick suggestion to the maestro running the computer feeding the DAC, and it was all thunder and lightning — very very frightening! One thing that particularly surprised me? Lateral sound staging — these speakers threw a big-sky kind of net, way outside the sides of the speakers.