By Richard H. Mak
When the Bugatti Veyron debuted at the Toronto Auto Show in 2012, the $ 2 Million dollar price tag naturally generated a lot of buzz, it was the undisputed star of the show. If there is one system which can be described as the “Bugatti” of TAVES, it has to be Wynn Audio‘s Goldmund and Tidal system. The room is situated passed the booth exhibits, and right in front of the Sheraton Convention Center’s entrance. It is definitely the most eye-catching and most talked about room of TAVES 2016.
As with previous years, Wynn Wong (President of Wynn Audio) spared no expenses. Credit must be given to him for not only showing the most expensive setup at the show, but also for the nice artistic backdrop which cost US $12,000 dollars by itself. It is also the only room at the show with non-stop serving of fancy drinks and teas.
The system is nothing short of an all out assault (prices in $CAD):
- Goldmund Eidos 17 Universal Player: $17,799
- Goldmund Mimesis 20H DAC (top of the line): $88,999
- TIDAL Presencio Preamplifier with Phono Stage: $92,000
- Goldmund Telos 1000+ Monoblock: $147,998
- CMS QXK with Black Platinum Rack: $26,000
- CMS MAXXUM AMP STAND: $7,450
- CMS MAXXUM AMP STAND: $7,450
- TIDAL Sunray Loudspeakers: $180,000
- TIDAL LPX Active Crossover: $20,000
- Thales TTT-Compact II Turntable: $12,500
- Thales Simplicity II Tonearm: $18,000
- Total Price (excluding Cables): $618,196
- ZenSati Seraphim Speaker Cables & Interconnects: $200,000 approx.
- Total System Price: $818,196
If you are buying the system at full price in Canada, there will be a 13% sales tax on top which brings the cost of the system closer to 1 Million Canadian dollars.
I sat in the room for more than 45 minutes, and listened to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto performed by Heifetz in its entirety. It was being played on the Thales “Easy” tonearm (CAD$ 8,000) and the “Slim” turntable (CAD $12,500). The “Easy” tonearm is a trickled down version of its more expensive brother, the “Simpicity II” (CAD $12,500). Both of these tonearms feature Thales’ patented Tangential Pivoted Technology, which combines the advantages of a pivoted tonearm and those of a linear tangential arm, which adjusts the cartridge to a position with zero tracking error in real-time as the record is playing.
The sound was warm, musical and laid back. As they cranked up the volume, the elegant composure of the sonic image was maintained throughout the entire frequency spectrum, I could have easily listened to the system for hours without any listener fatigue.
Wynn Wong attributes the sound to the Goldmund Telos 1000+ amplifier, which as in ultra wide frequency bandwidth of approximately 3Mhz, roughly 100 times that of a typical amplifier.
After that, I asked Wynn to put on some digital files so I can get a taste of the Goldmund Mimesis 20H DAC, which according to him is the embodiment of Michel Reverchon’s 35 years of experience in designing cost no object equipment. The 20H DAC could very well be his last digital product because everything he knows about digital has been put into this box, with no new designs in the foreseeable future.
Oscar Peterson Trio’s “You Look Good To Me”, and “Girl from Ipanema” was delivered with a warm intimacy reminiscent of a live Jazz lounge, the sound was coherent, immediate and complete with plenty of lower energy and texture on the double bass.
The overall presentation was refined, elegant, warm and velvety, bottom octave was not punchy but tuneful and adequate.
It is truly difficult to draw similar comparison as no system at the show comes close to its price level; it is like riding a Bentley, because nothing else rides like it.
To the left side of the room, Wynn had plenty of ZenSati cables on display inside a locked glass cabinet, they look almost like jewelry and are probably priced like jewelry too. ZenSati cables are the creation of Mark Johansen of Denmark, who was also present at the show. They are uniquely original in their looks as well as the construction and they promise to deliver a level of performance beyond anything you have ever heard before. I asked Wynn multiple times for a price-list but to no avail. At the end I was told they are in range beyond that of the most expensive Siltech and Nordost cables.
An expensive system is often an easy target for those who love to dwell on the value equation and I overheard many such conversations both inside the room and outside the corridors. I have no interest in such debates as value is all relative, I am just thankful for Wynn’s effort for bringing brands such as Goldmund and ZenSati in Canada, otherwise I would have never had the opportunity to hear them.
Wynn Audio has undoubtedly raised the bar, and has set a higher standard for others to follow.