Hometown dealer Apex Audio presented some of the most complete, well-thought-out rooms at the Marriott Denver Tech Center for RMAF 2015.
I didn’t have an opportunity to take the retailer’s stretch limo service to its local showroom, but I did spend plenty of time in its demo rooms inside the hotel.
I started with the Crestone Peak Room on the mezzanine, which was featuring Focal Stella Sopra 2 speakers ($14,000), driven by a rack of Aesthetix Saturn Eclipse gear that was making its U.S. debut. Included was the company’s Calypso Eclipse preamp ($10,000), Romulus Eclipse DSD DAC/CD player ($13,000) and the new Atlas Eclipse stereo amp ($15,000).
An Aesthetix Rhea Signature phono preamp ($10,000) handled the signal from a Clearaudio Innovation Revelation turntable ($5,000), outfitted with a Clearaudio Magnify tonearm ($3,750), holding a DS Audio D-W1 “Night Rider” cartridge ($8,500) or from an AMG Giro turntable with 9W2 arm ($10,000) and AMG Teatro cartridge ($2,750).
Cables were mainly Nordost Valhalla 2, along with a number of Nordost tweak devices that were being demonstrated in the cable maker’s own room across the hall.
The sound on Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” from his 1986 album So (on vinyl), was very lively but a bit overcooked, which actually was faithful to the recording practices of the day.
A different cut, Daft Punk’s “Lose Yourself to Dance,” from the French electronic duo’s 2013 record Random Access Memories (also on vinyl), was more successful, proving the Aesthetix-Focal system pretty much gave you back what you fed into it.