Since MIT (Music Interface Technologies) Cables put this room together, it only seems fair to talk about the cables first, for once. MIT was demoing their new SL-Matrix 50 interconnects ($4,999) and SL-Matrix 90 speaker cables ($9,999). These are available in both balanced and single-ended versions. Reputedly, these have been designed to optimize the mid-range of a system, and they feature adjustable impedance switching. They represent a smaller and sleeker adaptation of MIT's classic technology, at a lower price. The SL-Matrix USB cable ($499) was also in use.
All this cable strung together a pretty fine system: Magico S5 Speakers ($32,500 in brilliant M-Coat orange) took pride of place, with Constellation Audio's Inspiration Preamp 1.0 ($9,000) and stereo amp ($10,000) providing the oomph. The new Berkeley Audio Designs Alpha DAC Reference Series ($14,000) was in use, in conjunction with the Alpha USB ($1,895). The Aurender W20 music server ($17,200) provided the tuneage.
I was able to spend an enjoyable few minutes listening to an orchestral piece (note to self: get a little bit better at identifying classical pieces) with piano, woodwinds, and strings. The strings sounded a bit off to me — recessed and weirdly artificial, almost more like synthesized strings than an actual orchestra. Since the piece was not something I was familiar with, I could not determine the source of the string weirdness, particularly since the woodwinds sounded strikingly realistic, and the piano was beautiful in its tone, decay, and impact.