CAF 2013: High Water Sound (updated!)


I’ve written many times about the audio wizardry of High Water Sound‘s Jeff Catalano. Ask around — this is one of the few rooms you can expect to hear something non-scripted. Something off the wall. Something like a first pressing, not-for-resale demo, of Dave Brubeck. Or an entire side of The Lotus Palace, by The Alan Lorber Orchestra. Jeff is pretty blasé about his record collection — but I’m not. It’s killer. And an excellent reason, by itself, to seek him out when he’s on the road.

The room here on the lobby floor was a bit of a challenge, but one well in hand by Saturday afternoon. Lots of plants, a shifting of speakers, and I was in my happy place. Or would have been if I hadn’t been all hopped up on doppio from the neighboring Starbucks. As it was, I was ready to pull my shirt over my head and start channeling my inner Beavis — each of the three times I swung by Jeff’s room. It’s not my fault. I have a weakness. Aaaaaack! I am the Great Cornholio! Ahem. Excuse me a moment. Anyway … yes, the sound here was very fine. 

As I staggered around with my arms pinwheeling, Jeff was able to point out some of the salient bits. Shown here was Horning Eufrodite loudspeakers (on super-duper show-only special of 50% off retail, which means $12,000 would have taken them home), Thoress 845 SE monos ($14,000/pair), a Thoress pre ($9,000), both a Tron Seven GT Phono and a Tron Seven GT mono phono stage, all topped off with a giant black-and-copper-and-chrome cherry, the TW Acustic AC, with the new 3-motor unit ($20,000 as configured) — this baby derived from the Black Night table, and will provide far more torque than the triple external pods on my the AC-3. I’m gonna look into that baby for the AC sitting in my listening room. The table sported a pair of TW Acustic Raven tonearms ($5,500 each), kitted out with some cartridges from Miyajima Labs, including the Shilabe  ($2,600) for stereo and the peerless Zero ($2,000) for mono.

TEO Audio cables used throughout, and TelWire produced all the power cords. The hulking monster that is the Silver Circle Tchaik 6 ($9,500) sat squarely in the power path, working it’s magic. SRA racks and platforms were used to hold everything off the floor and float them on pillows of isolation and audio goodness.


  1. Overall a good sound and the room was really a pretty sweet space for a system. Maybe the best room to set up a system in as far as the dimensions of the room went. Lots of plants and whatnot to diffuse the articulation of the speakers.

  2. Shame the photography was not as good as the sound in Jeff’s room

  3. Conditionally agree w/ the assessment. Caveat? I thought on some music, the mid range “honked,” highs were “spitty” on other music. Small sounding mids on some music … The rest of the gear? Superb! Certainly would make my short list! That battery powered turntable!? Incredible!

  4. I thought this was the best room at the show. This demo space is much better than the one Jeff had last year, and as a result, his system really has a chance to show what it can do– and it can do a lot! Plus this is one room you can be assured of real music being played.

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