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Newport 2014: Highend-Electronics presents Voxativ, KR Audio, Aurorasound

DSC_0715 hiresnewportlogoforwebEvery time I visit Highend-Electronics, I hear something cool, and I'm not just talking about the equipment. Over the past couple of years, it's become abundantly clear that Alfred Kainz either shares my taste in music, or he's remarkably good at catering to those with my predilections. I first fell in love with Voxativ speakers after hearing the Ampeggios masterfully handle Tom Waits' "Poor Edward." This year, I was treated to a heretofore unknown album: Hans Theesink, Terry Evans, and Ry Cooder's "Delta Time," which was so up my alley that I suspect Mr. Kainz has some kind of musical lojack on my brain.

Rather than the Ampeggios, Kainz was showing with the Voxativ Pi loudspeakers ($14,000), which I first heard at the California Audio Show last summer. While I really enjoyed them, I found them a little bit restrained in comparison to their larger siblings. This time around, they really seemed to have come to life, which makes me wonder if the pair I heard last year simply needed to break in further. The guitars on the record, which is minimally produced, were beautifully textured and incredibly alive, the Voxativ drivers dodging shoutiness in favor of real dynamic impact.

The rest of the system helped things along, of course; the KR Audio VA320 tube amp ($11,500) lent a heaping helping of power, paired with the Wall Audio Opus 88 pre amp ($6,000). Analog was king during my Sunday visit, with the SoundWaves Cantano Grande turntable and tonearm ($26,900) kitted out with a Zyx Omega cartridge providing absolutely rock-steady speed.

The phono stage was the Aurorasound VIDA ($4,990). On display, but not in use in my presence, were the ViV Lab Rigid Float tonearm ($4,390), Highend-Electronics Music Server ($990), totaldac D1 tube DAC ($9,000), Wall Audio M monoblocks ($7,500), and Contrast Audio Black Moon loudspeakers ($4,000).

Clearly I could have spent hours here and barely touched what was on offer. That’s cool — it means next time I have an excuse to make multiple visits!

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