CAS 2013: Acoustic Zen, Triode Corporation

CAS4Mal and I arranged to pop into the Zen/Triode room a little early on Saturday, in the hopes of getting some photos that weren’t full of people’s feet. This was particularly necessary as the room was basically a cube in shape, and thus staging was not exactly a simple matter.

The system consisted of Acoustic Zen Crescendo speakers ($16,000/pair), with Triode providing the rest of the system. Triode’s TRX-M845SE class A monoblocks ($22,500) provided the amplification, with the TRX-I Tube pre-amp ($3,200). The sources were the TRV-CD4SE CD player ($2,400) and TRV-DAC 1.0 ($2,499). I believe Acoustic Zen also provided the cables and interconnects, but I don’t have good notes on this. Acoustic Zen’s Adagio speakers were also on display, but were not in use during any of my visits to this room.

I walked into the room faintly hungover that morning, having spent the evening drinking hard cider and listening to a bluegrass band cover Paul Simon at the Plough & the Stars. I was greeted by Ave Maria sounding close to transcendent, which maybe should have made me feel appropriately contrite for my excesses of the night before — but instead mostly soothed this savage beast. Triode’s amps are among my favorites, but I have to say that their DAC and CD player really impressed me this time around, offering realistic sound without noticeable “digititis” (and believe me, I would have noticed it that morning).

I found it a bit difficult to find a spot in the room where the drivers integrated as fully as I would have liked, but given that this marks the fourth time I’ve heard Acoustic Zen speakers, and the first time I’ve had this issue, I suspect it had more to do with the odd proportions of the room than anything else. The sound was otherwise airy and the soundstage remarkably deep and holographic, giving the illusion of extending well beyond the back wall of the room. Not at all a bad way to start the day.