A visit to one of Jeff Catalano’s ornigh Water Sound rooms is a bit like going out to a great restaurant with a friend who’s a connoisseur of gourmet cooking; he says, “Do you mind if I order for you?” and then there’s this explosion of deliciousness and you don’t even care that you just spent a month’s salary.
This time, the menu prominently featured a new star: TW-Acustic‘s brand new RPS 100 B phono stage ($17,000), which features active EQ and will cheerfully handle both MM and MC. The source was the TW-Acustic GT SE turntable ($12,500), with two TW 10.5″ tonearms ($5,500 each), and your choice of either the Ortofon Windfeld ($3,899) or Ortofon Cadenza Mono ($1,219) cartridge. Amplification was TW-Acustic’s 45 & 6B4G SE mono blocks ($15,000/pair), with the Tron-Electric Syren II GT ($55,000) providing preamp duties. Hørning Hybrid Systems‘ Eufrodite Ellipse Speakers ($30,000) took pride of place between the ferns. Silver Circle Audio‘s TCHAIK 6 power conditioner ($10,500), Silent Running Audio‘s Scuttle Rack & Ohio XL bases, Symposium Acoustics‘ Super Plus Speaker Platforms, and cables from Zen Sati (Angel interconnects and speaker cables) and Shun Mook Audio (power cables) rounded out the courses.
Catalano’s music selections are nearly always as impeccable as his system-building; I’m told that our intrepid editor was treated to Pink Floyd’s The Wall and ended up listening to the album in its entirety while engaged in some kind of intense nostalgia trip. I wasn’t that, erm, lucky, but I was treated to a lovely track featuring piano and harpsichord. The instruments were exceptionally delicate and realistic, and I was particularly impressed with how well the system handled the harpsichord: it made it abundantly clear that strings were being plucked, not struck, with all of the weird resonances and harmonics that entails.
Really, what it comes down to is that I will happily sample High Water Sound’s tasting menu any time it’s on offer.