I kinda like to wander about. Take fancy photos while I pretend to know what I’m doing with my camera. I’ll sit, listen, get up, take notes, shoot some pix, and that’s that. This room? Standing room only and no one was catching my not-subtle shepherd’s crook hand-gestures. Nope. I was invisible.
Hard to blame them, to be fair. Up front was a pair of top-of-the-line Pearl 3 loudspeakers from Joseph Audio ($31,500/pair), arguably, some of the finest you can buy at any price. I’ve written about Joseph Audio loudspeakers before, so I shouldn’t be showing off my underwear too much by saying that I think they’re incredible.
Aa full set of wires from Luminous Audio Technology carried the signals and power around the room, and linked the speakers to the impressive (and dense) Harmoni audio rack from Kanso Audio Furniture (prices vary, but this particular configuration would set you back over $12k). A Wells Audio Innamorata Signature stereo amplifier ($14k?) sat in the lower-right corner, on a Kanso amp stand. A Tweek Geek Bybee Stealth Power Purifier sat on the opposite wing, over the VPI SDS controller.
Dead-center of the audio rack was a new Dynamic Sounds Associates Pre 1 ($16,500). This linestage has six inputs (three XLR and three RCA) on the rear, with another (RCA) on the front along with a 1/4″ headphone output (both are under a flip-down panel). Outputs are either XLR or RCA. The volume control includes a remote and a high-precision balance adjustment (1dB increment with digital tracking), and the unit also includes a switch for stereo/mono and inverted phase. Users can also select from three levels of gain (6dB, 12dB and 15dB).
Directly below was the new DSA Phono II phono preamplifier ($13,500). This phono preamp has three inputs, and can take either RCA or XLR right off the tonearm. Loading for MC includes 120 options; MM carts can get up to 20 options.
Moving up the chain, we find a VPI Avenger. In this configuration, which VPI’s Mat Weisfeld affectionately called the Big Dick, there were three 12″ tonearms. That, plus the magnetic driver, takes the Avenger up to near $30k (as shown — but entry-level pricing starts below 1/3rd of that). The first ‘arm, a JMW 12″ 3D, carried an Ortofon MC A90 cartridge. The second and third arms, both 12.7″ from the Classic 4 ‘table, carried a Miyajima Madake ($5800, it comes with a bamboo cantilever!) and a Miyajima Zero ($2k) mono cartridge.
The sound in this room was consistently excellent — the packed room all day on Friday and Saturday was the giveaway, I’m sure. Deep bass, startling attack and excellent music (including The Beatles in mono — hello, Miyajima Zero!) kept folks riveted. Me? I got to sneak in, finally, on Sunday and got my own dose of what everyone else had been raving about. Yes, I was a day or two late, but the ravers were right — it was all that and a bag of cherries. Very nice work.