by Rafe Arnott
Austin HiFi‘s room at Newport was an interesting one for me.
First off, it was packed the whole time I was there and I had to play musical chairs for about 15 minutes to get a seat in the sweet spot, as the Tocaro Model 42E loudspeakers ($14,000 US pair) and Crimson CS 710 pre-amplifier with MC and MM phono stages ($7,000 US) and CS 640E-III mono blocks ($6,000 for two pair) were impressing the hell out of everyone and no one gave a shit what my Show badge said. Reviewer or not, I could sit when they were damn well ready to move their asses on up and out.
Records were spinning on a gorgeous and competent Linn Sondek LP12/Ittok LV II tonearm (vintage) with a Reson Lexe MC cart ($2,600 US) and digital files were pumping through the beautiful Resolution Audio Cantata Music Centre ($6,495 US). Cables were all Crimson.
These speakers don’t produce a sound that I can easily classify, as they don’t sound like anything else really… if I had to describe them I’d say the sound was very coherent, in-the-room, smooth and deep, with very sweet and natural highs. String instruments in particular sounded incredibly convincing. And the thing is these Tocaros use laser-cut wood for the tweeter membrane.
Yes, laser-cut wood. Not a typo.
They’re also 99 dB efficient, have no crossover and can be bi-amped if you wish (they were here). If you search around, it seems Crimson are a natural pairing with the Tocaros, and since this was my first exposure to the two, I just went with it.
It might serve you well to just go with it too. If you’re near Austin, look up Creston Funk at Austin HiFi. He’ll hook you up.