Newport 2014: Prana Fidelity brings cheats and a Cheshire Cat


hiresnewportlogoforwebPrana Fidelity‘s Steven Norber always seems to be smiling about something. He’s just one of those guys who seems to suffer from a terminal case of good cheer.

A complete space alien by my standards, really.

At least debuting his new Vayu/fs speaker ($6,950) gave him a pretty good excuse for the smile. It’s a friendly, four-foot tall, floorstander with an easy 8 ohm load and four 6″ woofers per cabinet for bass extension down below 30hz.

Paired here with Prana’s own Purna/ca preamplifier ($9,950) and Purna/ma stereo amplifier ($8,950), along with a Brinkmann Bardo, a Kuzma 4point arm, and a Miyajima cartridge, the performance was nothing short of wall bending. The system easily communicated the tonal richness of the Miyajima cart, with the Prana electronics adding just about no grain to the completely musical presentation.

But, again, Steven Norber is always smiling. That’s because introducing a promising speaker isn’t enough for some people. He also brought some reel-to-reel tapes and an Ampex ATR 102 that had been gone over by Bernie Grundman Mastering. If the system was good before, the flesh and blood musical drive from the tape deck made the previous playback seem no better than watered down.

Folks, playing reel-to-reel at a hi-fi show is just cheating. That’s the simple truth. That smile Norber wears is the smile of a kid who just got away with raiding the cookie jar right before he divvies the loot up with his friends.

This was a masterful room. I couldn’t help smiling either.



T.H.E. Show at Newport 2014 Show Sponsor


  1. Steven may always be good-tempered, unlike assholes like us– but don’t hold that against him. Dude knows his stuff.

    Just don’t let him talk you into yoga. He will HURT you. ;->

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