CAS 2013: Music Lovers presents Wilson, Aesthetix, AMG, Ayre, Shunyata

Music Lovers Audio debuted Wilson Audio‘s Duette Series 2 ($19,500), small stand-mount speakers designed specifically for tight spaces — they are designed to be placed near a wall or on a bookshelf. This latest iteration of the Duette series features a new tweeter that utilizes the rear wave technology from the much-pricier Alexia’s Convergent Synergy Tweeter. They are available in two versions: the Novel version ($17,500, not on display at this show) is intended for bookshelf or cabinet use, and features an external crossover in its own box. In the case of the standmount version, the redesigned stands hide unsightly cables from view, and contain a recessed compartment for the external crossover. In short, these are perfect speakers for an apartment or any room where space is at a premium.

These little critters were super dynamic and I thought the sound was very well-rounded and balanced; I didn’t find myself wishing for a subwoofer to fill things out. When I first entered the room they were definitely a little overdriven, probably in an attempt to demonstrate that they could hold their own in a ballroom — the volume was turned up to eleven, and while they performed valiantly, I much preferred the sound when turned down to simply “loud” rather than “earsplitting.” I have no doubt, however, that they could handle my living room with little difficulty, and in an apartment I could get myself in trouble with my neighbors, no problem.

The Wilsons were powered by Ayre gear: a KX-5 preamp, VX-5 power amp ($7,950), and DX-5 A/V Engine ($10,950). The Audio Beat caught some good info on that new preamp:

The Ayre KX-5 preamp was derived from the preamp section of AX-5 integrated amp, which itself was derived from the KX-R. It has the same VGT variable gain stage as Ayre’s top preamp and Ayre’s Diamond output stage. It was shown in pre-production form, so pricing was not set, but it should be around $8000.

This was an all-analog room, with an AMG Viella 12 turntable with 12J2 tonearm ($16,500) and Benz Micro SLR Gullwing cartridge ($3,000) running through an Aesthetix Rhea Signature phono stage ($7,000). Shunyata cables throughout.