Blackbird Audio Gallery of Santee CA was there in spirit, even if the incomparable Dan Muzquiz decided to skip out for the flimsiest of excuses. Really, Dan? You think your son’s wedding is more important than a stereo show? For shame.
Brad was an obvious choice. His Axis Voice Box S speakers ($2500) were anchoring the room. These are tiny (about a foot tall), two-way standmounts. You’re looking at a ribbon tweeter, 83db sensitivity, bass extension to what seemed like just about 60hz-ish, and a ridiculously uncolored sound. The presentation here was all business in a very, very good way. Having Brad on hand made it easy to ask questions like “how well do they do in extreme nearfield?” and “How do you think they’ll work on my desk?”
We listened to Shooglenifty through a Unison Research Unico CDE disc spinner ($4500) and the Unison Triode 25 ($4000 including a USB DAC). While the sound certainly didn’t have the power of, say, the big Volti and Border Patrol system upstairs, it made up for that shortcoming with a precise dissection of the recording and an excellent sense of timing. It also made up for it by being tens of thousands of dollars cheaper, small enough to fit into a hotel room without using a crowbar on it, and light enough for one out of shape guy to move on his own.