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RMAF 2014: Chapman Audio Systems impresses again

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Logo - Blue VectorChapman Audio Systems speakers have impressed me over the past couple of years with the consistent solid authority of their sound. These are speakers that rock, and they tend to do so no matter what they’re hooked up to. With the recent release of the T-5 model speakers ($4,995 in the standard finish shown; $7,495 in a fancier hardwood finish), the folks at Chapman decided to demonstrate what their speakers can do with a system pulled together from the stock at a local Hi-Fi dealer. The goal was to spend less than $10,000 on the entire set-up, including the speakers.

Reportedly, this goal was nearly met, although there was some concern that the addition of an MIT Cables Z Powerbar ($1,600 new) may have pushed things slightly over the edge. A Hegel DAC (HD25, I believe, $2,500 new) and a Odyssey HT-2 amplifier made up the rest of the system, giving the room a decidedly minimalist look. Apparently there had also been a plan to bring a Scott receiver and a Pro-Ject turntable, but that fell through. I’m hoping they go for it for the next show — that’d be a blast.

The system performed admirably, especially given that the gear was purposefully chosen to be not particularly well-matched. We were treated to a track heavy on drum kit and bass, and I found the drums to be realistic and propulsive, with a nice snap. The upright bass on the track seemed a bit dark and not as detailed as I would have liked, but part of the problem was that it was feeding right into a room mode.

My impression that the Chapman loudspeakers are underrated workhorses was born out yet again. All I could think during the demo was that I’d love to partially recreate my old studio apartment system with a NAD 3020 and a Technics linear tracker and see how things shook out.

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John Gilmour of Chapman

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