Newport 2015: SoTM and ESS Laboratories


by Rafe Arnott

THEShow_LOGO2015SoTM (Soul of The Music) and ESS Laboratories paired up to show off some of their latest goodies at T.H.E. Show and it was a pleasing combo, that for an all-digital front end sounded surprisingly organic.

It could have something to do with the match-up between ESS’ peculiar Air Motion Transformer (AMT 12″) loudspeaker ($4,450 US) SoTM’s sDP-1000 D/A converter and battery-powered preamplifier (featuring constant power-cycling and automated charging) with DSD playback and USB input (Approx. $2,900 US), the SoTM sMS-1000 music server ($3,000 US), and the sPS-1000 DC Linear Power Supply (Approx. $1,200 US).

SoTM are doing some very groovy things with their clean DC power, and the sPS-1000 has the ability to run three separate SoTM components via umbilicals, which eliminates a lot of power cords (if you’re into that sort of thing).

A fat Plinius stereo integrated 8150 with 150 watts/8Ohm (Approx. $3,000 US) was supplying ample get-up-and-go to the kit.

From SoTM:

“sPS-1000 is a high performance DC linear power supply to connect with audio devices using DC power to maximize the sonic performance.It is designed to operate by linear circuits only it means it doesn’t use any digital circuit at all, so doesn’t generate any digital high frequency noise. Also it uses Ultra Low Noise Regulator circuit to minimize the faint noise occurred even from the linear circuit and it has the built-in Noise filter to block the noise coming from AC power.”

Are you into low noise and no garbage scrambling your DC power waves? SoTM has got you covered. Very cool indeed.

I’d love to see a similar, dedicated unit for hooking turntable power supplies to from some of my favorite manufactures.

The ESS sound was deep and bouncy, and in some ways reminded me of an older JBL 4430 Bi-Radial Studio Monitor set-up I heard at a dealer’s several years ago. The 4430s were 93 dB efficient compared to the AMT 12″ at 98 dB, so these things will pump out big sound with not a lot of juice, which is a big plus for the SET heads like me out there.

Both these companies are onto something good, and I look forward to spending more time hearing more at the next opportunity.

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





About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream