CAF 2014: Salk Signature Sound goes exotic, crowd poleaxed

Salk Signature

Jim Salk of Salk Signature Sound was showing some very fancy new loudspeakers at CAF this weekend, a prototype he’s calling Exotica 3. The name derives from the main driver in use, the X2-08 Exotic W8 from the SEAS “Exotic” line. The cabinets were very fancy, and a bit of a deviation for Salk, featuring a blend of automotive paint and veneer — the result was very pleasing, but the final versions (which should retail for about $11,995) will likely cleave a bit more closely to the older Soundscape models.

This room was jammed pretty every time I stopped by, unusual for this show and a good indicator of how special this brand is and how interesting this model is within that lineup. Hint hint, nudge nudge, wink wink.

A Van Alstine amplifier/pre drove the rig, fronted by a Vega DAC from Auralic and a digital streamer from Salk. A pair of Philharmonic 3 loudspeakers sat off to the side. Jim’s custom-finished pair of Soundscape 8 were also on display.

The sound in this room was very engaging; air and texture rated high on the geek-o-meter, and bass performance was excellent. It’s hard to judge the particulars from this kind of setup, but based on my fly-by, I can say it’s very much in keeping with the brand — that is to say, wildly over-achieving for the price point. I’m going to need more exposure — and need to kick those barnacles out of that front row. Ahem.

Salk, and Van Alstine, are cult leaders for a reason. No, this is most definitely not entry-level either in price or sound, but again, these are brands that the lucky cognoscenti happen to fall into after a happy accident. Once there, incredulity follows. Audiophiles routinely make fun of high-price audio components, happily debating the merits of various business models and go-to-market strategies like we have any idea what we’re talking about. But the point at the bottom of that barrel is that we love us a bargain. And these guys are routinely offering them.









About Scot Hull 1057 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.