This room featured Von Schweikert Audio‘s new VR-100 XS speakers ($145,000 for the set). These consist of a four piece set: two towers with four 7″ magnesium-coned woofers, two 5″ magnesium mid-range drivers, and a ribbon tweeter. The “XS” in the name refers to the separate subwoofers with 15″ magnesium drivers.
Amplification was provided by Raven Audio, debuting their Silhouette monoblock amplifiers ($12,995/pair). Preamplification was provided by the matching Reference Silhouette preamplifier ($13,995). I was told that early in the weekend, a defective music server had been in use, but this was swapped for an Esoteric UX-1 CD/DVD/HDCD player ($15,000) with APL-HiFi tube mods later on.
Raven Audio’s full product line was on static display, and that is some truly gorgeous kit. The pricing on their line runs the full gamut from reasonably budget conscious (the Nighthawk integrated can be had for $1,595) to the Silhouettes heard here.
The Von Schweikerts put me in mind of a big, fast ol’ Lincoln, with a lot of raunch and warmth and bombast and comfort. At times the instruments and vocalists struck me as oddly proportioned — Louie Armstrong sounded a bit like he was eight feet tall — but I enjoyed the depth of presentation. I felt that the combination of Raven Audio, the speakers, and the modded Esoteric *might* have been too much of a muchness; there was a tendency toward things sounding a little too dark and warm for my tastes. I don’t believe any single component can be blamed (if you want to use such a strong word), given that I did not feel the Raven Audio Shadow amp ($5,995) and preamp ($6,995) I heard in the Burwell & Sons room were overly warm, nor have I thought the Von Schweikert speakers I’ve heard in the past were too terribly dark. It may have just been luck of the draw, something odd about the room, or a combination that didn’t quite fire for me personally.