RMAF 2014: Planning retirement with Acoustic Zen and Triode Corp







There are a couple of rooms on the audio show circuit that are pretty much a guarantee of goodness. Acoustic Zen is one.

Robert Lee was showing off one of my favorite finishes on the big Crescendo Mark II loudspeakers ($18k/pair), though I keep forgetting to ask if it’s a spalted maple or a burl or what. I just know it’s purrrrty. I’m also not exactly sure why his big transmission line loudspeakers, which a single glance would tell you are  almost too large for the rooms I find them in, nonetheless sound incredibly integrated. The mysteries of life, right there. But a 90dB and 6Ω nominal impedance does sound “tube friendly”, though, which is probably why the Triode Corp electronics seem to match up so well.

Speaking of which, the monster TRX-M845 mono block amps ($22,500) are 50wpc paralleled SET wonders that weigh 130lbs each. Ha! These are most definitely set-and-forget amps in that once you’ve got them in place, you’re never gonna want to move them again. I really hope Robert has some minions stuffed somewhere.

The literature lists the preamplifier as a TRX-3 ($4,950). If correct, that would make it “new”, but I can’t find any info on it.

A Triode TRV-CD5SE CD player ($3,200) was used as a transport, with a matching TRV-DAC1.0 ($2,500) for the conversions.

All cables came, as expected, from Acoustic Zen.

With all that out of the way, lets talk about sound.

It was, in a word, delicious.

This gear tends to the warm, and that’s fine with me. The bass was deep and solid, the mids clear and enveloping, with the expected and probably completely cliched “fatigue-free” top end.

I seriously don’t know why we bother hunting. This is game-ending stuff, right here. I could take this room home and retire happy.