This year saw Catalano unleash the new Cessaro Wagner on the crowds (which debuted at Rocky Mountain in 2015), and I’m here to preach some aural opinion: If you consider yourself not to be a horn person, these may just change your mind. Cartridges, tonearms, DACs, pre-amplifiers, and amplifiers will always play a part in the acoustic waveform reproduction chain, but transducers are the final arbiter (translator, if you will) of what speaks to our brain, and horns tend to get a bad rap IMO. Shouty, honkish, resonant, colored, are but a few of the variations on a theme of how horn speakers usually tend to get spoken about in the general press. I’ve found this to be the exception, not the norm. To me, horns, or horn-loaded loudspeakers tend to have an immediacy, speed, impact, and visceral dynamic to their playback that once heard, is difficult to disassociate from a truly emotionally-engaging music listening experience.
I’m of the opinion Catalano doesn’t carry acoustic curiosities to push on those unable to wrest a deeply emotional experience through musical playback. Catalano is Highwater Sound to me, I can’t separate the two, because I don’t think it could exist without him. To my ears, and my way of listening, my way of hearing music, he is able to force – from disparate manufacturers, and with an obviously deep knowledge, and understanding of electro-acoustic synergy – a confrontation with nostalgia playing old jazz recordings. This is not a system for the emotionally distant to trifle with, because to me its purpose is emotional provocation.
- TW-Acustic Black Knight turntable ($40,000 USD)
- TW-Acustic TW 10.5 tonearm (x2) ($5,500 USD each)
- Miyajima Labs Madake Stereo cartridge ($6,000 USD), and Zero Mono cartridge ($2,000 USD).
- TW-Acustic RPS 100 Phono Stage ($17,000 USD)
- TW-Acustic RPS 100 Line Stage ($17,000 USD)
- TW-Acustic 300B Mono Blocks ($18,000/pair USD)
- Cessaro Wagner Speakers ($65,000 USD)
- Silver Circle Audio TCHAIK Power Conditioner ($11,500 USD)
- Silent Running, Scuttle Rack, and Ohio XL basese, Symposium Acoustics Super Plus speaker platforms, and Zen Sati interconnects, AC cables, and speaker wire.