This time around the speakers were combined with Constellation Audio gear: the Virgo II preamp ($24,000), Centaur Mono power amps ($27,000 each), and Cygnus media player/DAC ($29,000). I didn’t hear the media player while I was in the room, however, because I was treated to Louis Armstrong on a United Home Audio Phase 11 PB tape deck ($17,000). The cables were by Master-Built Audio, and ranged from $3,600/pair for 1 meter interconnects, to $12,000/pair for 2 meter Ultra Extreme XLR cables. The rack was Critical Mass Systems’ MAXXUM Precision Component Support System ($5,650 per component).
There wasn’t a whole lot here not to like. Armstrong’s voice really came alive and was nicely textured. The sound staging still strikes me as a bit odd with these speakers — sometimes deeper voices can seem like they’re coming in too low, or conversely that the singer seems to be too tall for the room. But the “too dark” sense was replaced with just the right amount of warmth, and the pleasant grit in Armstrong’s voice came through unhindered.