Newport 2015: Acapella and Audio Note


By Rafe Arnott

THEShow_LOGO2015“The [Acapella] Atlas offers an extraordinarily open and transparent sound in a more compact home loudspeaker system.”

Uh, compact?

These speakers are over six-feet tall and weigh in around 350 lbs apiece, so you’re going to need some help setting them up, and at $85,250 US they ain’t cheap, but I can assure you they are worth it if you want that right-effing-there sound.

And to be fair I took that opening quote out of context, Acapella was comparing the Atlas to its massive hyperspherical midrange horn-equipped Poseydon ($279,000 US) and Apollon ($154,000 US) loudspeakers, which kinda dwarf the Atlas, and you ain’t moving those babies without several people, or better yet, a forklift.

The Atlas was set up by Cornelia and Michael Davis in their Audio Federation room at T.H.E. Show. These two are real brick and mortar owners with their gorgeous digs in Boulder, Colorado and they carry some of the juiciest rigs in the business as far as I am concerned, and the kit they assembled for Newport was full of jam, as I like to say.

Fronting the little Atlas speakers was the Audio Note CDT Five transport ($54,000) the Audio Note DAC Five Signature ($98,250) and Acapella’s own LaMusika hybrid integrated amplifier ($100,000).

A mix of Audio Note UK Pallas interconnects ($2,428 US), NVS Sound Silver Inspire power cords ($5,430 US) and Acapella speaker cables ($???) rounded out the system with all the weighty bits piled onto the HSR SXR rack and M3x Isolation Bases ($13,680 US).

So, “thanks for all the deets Rafe, how was the sound” you ask…?

The gear was dealing with some rather tame tunes when I walked in thanks to a Show goer who brought his mom’s CDs to play, but after photographing the room and chatting amicably with Cornelia, she seem to sense that it was time for something a bit more capable of demonstrating what the Audio Note/Acapella combo was capable of.

On went Radiohead’s Amnesiac, and Thom Yorke’s dissonant voice snaked into the room causing the hair on my arms to stand upon end as the chest-rattling bassline and eerie electronic hysteria of “Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box” made its way up my spine and into my lizard brain at the base of my skull.

I’m sure some people would play nothing but classical on this system, and jazz and classical sound staggeringly good through this setup, but if you really want to hear what the fuss is when it comes to Audio Note and Acapella, let your hind brain take control and throw on something challenging, this combo will not disappoint.

Proud to sponsor Part-Time Audiophile and The Audio Traveler at THE Show in Newport 2015!