I’m a fan of Duke LeJeune and his AudioKinesis brand. Brought to AXPONA by Brian Walsh’s Chicago-area based dealership, Essential Audio, I got to see Duke’s latest work — the Bienville Suite.
$12k nets you a bunch of speakers — two “mains” and four subs. The latter, which you may have heard about as the “Swarm“, is a tested approach to deal with the problem of subwoofers and room nodes. The short of it — many, smaller (10″) subs (all passive, the 1kW external amp is included), strategically distributed around the listening area — may not be as sexy as a single 24” sub, but the improvement over one such is pretty much undeniable. The Swarm works — and works well.
What isn’t quite so obvious is the whole late arrival phenomena. That is, the idea that by eliminating the early reflections and encouraging the late ones (those that are behind the signal), we can recover far more experience in the signal. What experience? Ambience, the venue, the life of the music. It’s pretty cool, actually. Anyway, that what the Bienville mains offer — there are two 1″ wave-guided compression drivers, one facing forward, one rear. There are two 12″ forward-facing mid/woofers and one 10″ rear-facing one. The result is a 98dB, tube-friendly 8Ω speaker with a theoretical in-room of 20Hz to 20kHz. Pretty nifty, if you ask me.
Also in-room, an analog system courtesy of Kuzma, a Stabi-Stogi combo ($2,156 + $4,640), with a Kuzma CAR-30 cartridge ($2,250) playing through an Atma-Sphere UV-1 preamp (with LOMC phono stage, $2,900) and a pair of Atma-Sphere M-60 Mk III.2 OTL amps ($7,700/pair).
News was on the digital front — Resonessence was showing off their new Veritas ($2,850). From the press release:
Resonessence Labs are proud to announce that their latest Audio DAC product, VERITAS will start shipping within the next 4 – 5 weeks. The company has secured an early release of the ES9028PRO series chip however quantities are limited. In celebration of the fact that we are the first company to introduce a product that has the PRO series Sabre chip at its core we are offering a choice of three colors, Black, Silver and Gold. Each unit is machined out of a solid block of Aluminum.
A note about the ES9028PRO Sabre chips: What is so special about the SABRE PRO series DAC chips? Put simply they sound phenomenal and it’s all down to the inclusion of the newest generation of the ESS Hyperstream II technology.
VERITAS includes all the features our customers have come to expect: USB Audio 2.0, DSD and DXD, XLR outputs, RCA outputs, Optical input and more. Remote control for track selection, programmable on-the-fly filters – all the technology introduced by Resonessence in our award-winning products. VERITAS has outstanding DNR and THD, but this time it is about the sound. There is no specification we can mention that communicates the remarkable sound of this device.
The most interesting thing in the room, however, was none of that. Well, okay — that’s strong. But what struck me as “holy crap, what is that?!?” was the stuff from Teo. Teo Audio makes cables, sure — cables with a liquid conductor, which is pretty awesome — but the rack ($7,500) was not liquid. That was made from “foamed aluminum”.
The Teo Audio equipment rack, shown here and in the large home page system images, is unique in several ways. The shelves are of aluminum foam, a material available in various densities and extremely strong and rigid yet very lightweight, which enables excellent vibration control and tuning. Judiciously placed damping materials are used, and the shelves are resiliently yet firmly mounted to the Baltic birch plywood frame, using Teo Audio’s Juicy Gems.
Wait, did someone say “foamed metal”?
Yesterday a client read to me Ayre Acoustic’s marketing text for their coming flagship DAC, $9k SRP, employing the same all-new Sabre ES9028PRO chip as that in this new Resonessence Vertias DAC. One presumes Ayre’s sole prerequisite was the world’s best performance regardless of cost, which bodes well for the Veritas DAC priced less than 1/3rd the Ayre.
Also, the Veritas chassis is one piece CNC machined from a solid chunk of aluminum billet, looking more like cost no object in the image posted at their website. Nothing I know of competes at or below its $2800 price.
If you’re about to pull the trigger on DAC priced around $2k or above, you might consider waiting till Veritas appears in a few short weeks.