It was an enormous pleasure to take a few mintues to sit down and play a test track. In this case, I opted for First Aid Kit’s “Ghost Town.” At this point I should admit that I may have had entirely too much fun all weekend saying, “It’s a sister act of Swedish country singers” and watching the trepidation cross the exhibitors’ faces. Really, though, the band’s got more in common with Emmylou Harris than anyone else, as everyone quickly learned.
This Audio Note system really did it justice: the sisters’ voices were airy and expansive and realistically textured, and the dynamics and especially the tone of Klara Soderberg’s acoustic guitar were just awesome. On some systems, the opening keyboard strains, which evoke an accordion, could seem overly harsh or discordant. Here, however, the system captured the appropriate amount of dissonance without sounding like it had been pushed past its limit. The center of the soundstage suffered a bit due to Audio Note’s traditional indifference to hotel room set up, but the rest of the soundstage was incredibly solid, and I heard none of the power issues that plagued other rooms. In the past, I’ve been at times dubious about the cost/benefit ratio of Audio Note’s pricier options, but in this case the combination of the amazingly real musical experience and the relatively sane costs involved made me understand what folks have been on about.