As for the room, well, that was pretty great too. Har har. No, really, it was.
Front and center were the Mike Wazowski-like Vivid B1 loudspeakers ($15k). These speakers feature integrated stands, with the speaker terminals way down on the base-plate. Tidy. The B1 is a 3.5-way vented cabinet — and I mean vented, the port goes straight through — made of “carbon-fiber filled polymer”. These are 4-ohm, rated at 89dB, and good for an F6 at 35Hz and 36kHz. Despite my Monsters Inc reference, the B1 is actually quite handsome looking, with an extraordinary auto-quality painted finish. The sound from these little guys is clean, fast, and totally transparent — and powered by Luxman’s top integrated, the L-590Ax ($10,500), 30wpc has rarely sounded this good. The remarkable Brinkmann Bardo (price starts just shy of $8k, and the ‘arm and cart are sold separately) sat forlorn on the top of the rack, it’s pride of place taken by the Luxman DA-06 DSD-capable DAC.
This may well be the least expensive setup I’ve seen Philip show at RMAF, and I was really taken with the sound. The Vivid + Luxman pairing is exhilarating — warmth and speed, detail and pure musicality. And aside from the lowest octave being unavailable (though the corner setup did ameliorate that a bit), the sound I heard was faultless. If you can get past the uber-modern styling of the Vivid, they’re most definitely worthy of an audition.