By Rafe Arnott
Have you ever read a book or seen a film where in the midst of constantly being hunted and chased, or battling zombies the protagonist suddenly stumbles onto an idyllic hideaway?
A place of respite from being driven before the hounds, so to speak?
I’ve read those books, I’ve seen those films, and as initially surprised and relieved as the main character always is to have a chance to catch their breath, you know they can’t stay in that tranquil setting, you know that soon the hounds, or zombies (what have you) will catch up to them and they’ll be pressed to run, to move, to stay alive…
Danny Kaey’s room was that hideaway, T.H.E. Show was those zombies for me.
Keay is behind SonicFlare, and after being at enough audio shows over the years, and always being asked what he ran at home, he finally decided to bring his living room to a show.
When I walked in, Kaey seemed to be finishing a quiet conversation with a gentleman who – like I would 30 minutes later – looked pained at having to make his way out of the room.
First off, the system is stunning to behold, and Kaey has an easy smile, is affable and looks like a man at ease, so you just kind of want to sit down and take a break, relax … enjoy.
Featuring a plethora of completely drool-worthy amplification and pre-amplification from Einstein, which consisted of Silver Bullet mono blocks ($65,000 per pair) an Einstein Preamp ($30,000) and a Turntable’s Choice phono pre ($7,500) being fed from a Brinkmann Spyder with a 10.5″ Brinkman arm and Transfiguration Proteus cartridge ($6,000) with cabling being handled by Nordost ($25,000 approx.) every component fought with your eyes for time to linger on the level of craftsmanship, fit, finish and attention to the finest detail.
The gorgeous Sonoras ATR-10 tape player ($10,000) wasn’t spinning while I was there unfortunately (or fortunately from the standpoint of my ailing bank account, because if it sounded better than the Stellavox I heard the day before I would have been truly screwed).
Kaey cued up the Brinkman with Nina Simone’s Little Girl Blue, an as-yet unreleased Chad Kassem (Acoustic Sounds) remaster, and it sounded so good I literally closed my eyes and let myself be carried away for several minutes.
The pressing was incredibly silent, the very few pops or ticks pushed far away into the background by the Transfiguration cartridge, and the comings and goings of several people entering and leaving the room did nothing to dispel my reverie, my sanctuary, my communion with this system.
Alas, after another 10 minutes chatting with Kaey, I heard the groans of the zombies, and their shuffling feet pressing close to the door, and knew I had to leave, had to keep going, had to keep ahead of all the coverage at T.H.E. Show… I bolted, and ran down the hallway, seeing the door close behind me on Kaey’s idyllic hideaway.
I hope he made it out alive.