Folks reading the interwebs tend to be sensitive to some of the buddy-buddy relationships the hobbyist press corps has with some of the manufacturers. Keeping that in mind, this room, presented by Malibu dealer Sweet Spot High End and shared with Colleen Cardas Imports, requires a few disclaimers.
The first, and most obvious disclaimer, is that Marc Phillips, the hairier partner in CCI, occasionally writes think pieces and cigar reviews for our parent site, Confessions of a Part-Time Audiophile. The second disclaimer is that I tend to be a big fan of Leif Swanson’s Endeavor Speakers. The third is that nobody in their right mind trusts me to be nice in print just because we’re chummy at the bar. Heck, I’m not even all that nice at the bar.
Still, I have to admit that familiarity made me look forward to this room. It offered an amplification chain sourced from New Zealand’s Pure Audio, including the American debut of Pure Audio’s Duo stereo amplifier ($9,500). Scot recently raved about Pure Audio’s other electronics, and I was curious to see how this Class A/B chassis would compare to the frightening dynamics that their monoblocks showed at last year’s RMAF.
The system was fronted by an Oracle Delphi MK VI Gen 2 turntable ($10,000) with a SME 5 arm ($7750) and an Oracle Corinth Cartridge (price not listed). Pure Audio’s Vinyl phono preamp ($4,500) did the correction duties. Even with that heavy hitting lineup, the real star was Marc’s crate of vinyl. He pulled out an old copy of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s take on Rachmaninoff, and the gear basically faded into insignificance next to that particular freight train. You don’t get this kind of synergy in most show rooms, and it’s a little hard to be analytical when the experience is so captivatingly natural. Still, I think it’s safe to say that there’s a big, green check mark next to “dynamics.”
Other gear in the room included a full loom of Snake River Audio‘s Signature cabling, an Aurender N10 music server ($8,000), and a Berkeley Audio Design Reference DAC ($16,000 base). Sadly, I didn’t listen to much (read: “any”) digital while I was in the room. Gear can be fun, but it’s not every day that you get to raid the Vinyl Anachronist‘s back records.
We all have our priorities.