It was probably my penultimate stop, and I’m sure I looked harried and more than a little frazzled, but Ofra Gershman of Gershman Acoustics was kind and failed to mention my “electric” hair-do, growling stomach and general shabbiness. Well, fine, I probably was not a shambling revenant (that would have been RMAF last year), but seeing the elegant lady in her fine dress certainly made me aware that I might not be screaming “professional” with my frantic fumbling through her careful room. Apologies for that. Maybe I ought to get a sport jacket or something. With a giant eagle on it, maybe, and a slogan. “Death to Earbuds!” Hmm. Needs work.
In the room itself, I found some worthy gear from Lamm Industries, including the M1.2 Reference mono amplifiers ($27k) and a LL2.1 Deluxe Preamplifier ($6,500). I am a big fan of Lamm and his work (thought my wallet alternately quakes and rails at the prices of his absolutely glorious tube amps), and I’ve developed detailed plans (think: A Beautiful Mind) on how to acquire some for my very own. As yet, those plans have yielded little fruit, but hope springs eternal! [Sigh].
Out in front of the audio chain was a disc spinner from Oracle, a Paris CD250 ($6,000). I will just admit right here that I think there’s something wrong with my mental filing cabinet, because I don’t have an entry for “digital” under my entry for analog king/turntable giant “Oracle”. I chalked that up to a faulty update, and learned that the CD transport feeds an internal Burr Brown PCM1792 chipset, operating at 24bit/192khz and does take a S/PDIF connection as an input. It’s also very pretty — and the cosmetics happily match the speakers, neatly tying the room together!
The speakers, the new Grande Avant Garde ($13k/pair) incorporate a new bass-trap structure down below the main cabinet, integrated this way for back-wave dissipation and an increase in focus and accuracy. Not having the old ones on hand to compare (ha!), I will simply offer that the modest-sized speakers threw an entirely immodestly sized soundstage into the room. Bass was controlled and punchy, but the tone was what caught my ears. Supple and refined. Specs on the new speaker have it covering 22Hz-20kHz, with 89dB sensitivity and a nominal 6Ω load. At 87lbs and a hair under 40″ tall, they’re really surprisingly impactful.
Before heading out, Gershman pointed out their new LVC — levitation vibration control — devices. Using some seriously powerful magnets, these robustly-sized discs will “float” your gear. A set of 4 for the LVC40 (for up to 40lbs) will run $359; the LVC100 will run a bit more at $389/4. An interesting solution, and one that may obviate the need for extremely expensive audio racks.