You ever have someone tell you something like “you really got to hear these speakers, they’re amazing. I want to marry them.” Well, I haven’t, so when Marc Phillips of Colleen Cardas Imports told me that before he’d even had a beer I knew I was going to be in for something out of the ordinary. And I was.
One of the most difficult system expectations in my experience is synergy. This is a word many reviewers have used to describe a sound (I love to use it, because it’s apt) , and unless you’ve got an end-to-end solution from the same company where all the components are voiced, and built to perfectly compliment one another, it is a Holy Grail of achievement for those putting a set-up together from disparate manufacturers.
It takes a great ear, intimate technical understanding of the components involved for proper performance, and impedance matching, and the real key to synergy: voicing. If you’ve got your speakers, amps, cabling and source dialed-in, and then you swap out a cartridge, or change tonearms for example… poof! All that hard work can disappear like a magician’s trick right before your eyes, and ears. This is why people suffer so brutally at the hands of upgraditis. But Phillips had conjured up some real magic here. Drawing on his years of expertise, and also showcasing a diaspora of Down Under artistic sonic technology, he had built a truly synergistic system composed of gear that sounded like it had all been built to mate seamlessly with one another.
The system comprised the Brigadiers Audio BA2 loudspeakers ($12,000 p/pair), the PureAudio Duo 2 power amplifier ($9,500 USD), PureAudio Control pre-amp ($9,500 USD), PureAudio Vinyl phono pre-amp ($4,500 USD), the Mark Döhmann Helix 1 turntable ($40,000 USD), The Wand Tonearm 10.3 Master Series (TBD approx. $2,500 USD), Les Davis Audio 3D2 constrained-layer dampers ($125 USD per/12 pack), and Furutech cabling, and power line conditioner Ftp-615 (approx. $725 USD).