By Richard H. Mak
If there is ever an award for the most dynamic sounding system of the show, I’ll have to give it to DVL Audio’s CH/Viola/Magico system.
DVL Audio is the Canadian distributor for CH Precision and Viola Audio Labs. The system featured a CH Precision D1 Trasnport and a D1 DAC (US$ 38,000.00 & $33,000.00), CH Precision P1 Phono Stage, and X1 Power Supply (US$31,250.00 & US$ 15,000.00), a Viola Labs Sonata Preamp (US 35,000.00) and a Viola Labs Bravo Stereo Power Amp (US$59,000.00). The Bravo power amps is actually not a monoblock amplifier, it is a stereo amp housed in two separate chassis of equivalent size.
Viola Lab’s chief engineer Paul Jayson, is a well respected name in the audio industry. Paul Jayson, together with the late Tom Colangelo, was the driving engineering force behind the Mark Levinson name, as well as the famous Cello Audio of the early 90s. The sound of Viola Audio Labs equipment is reminiscent of Cello’s notorious house sound which is fast, dynamic and with super fast transient responses.
At 5 pm on the closing day of the show, I asked Lawrence Lock of DVL Audio to give me a private demo session where we cranked the volume to a level which registered over 110 dB on my iPhone’s decibel meters. On Shostakovich’s Symphony Number 8, conducted by Paavo Berglund with the Russian National Orchestra, the LP was played on the Kronos turntable (USD $22,000) featuring two equal mass counter rotating platter, producing a sound which is famous for its sonic accuracy and transparency. The Bravo amplifier delivered 700Ws into the 4 ohm Magico S7s, and was completely in control of the three 10 inch bass drivers at a volume level well above above 110 dBs. The speakers seems to keep begging for more power, and the Bravo’s has no problem delivering it to them.
On Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, the Bravo and Magico delivered a performance which is definitely not a fanfare for the common man. No other system at the show were pushed to its limits and I am sure not every system can handle the abuse they were taking. We played it so loud that the ceiling tiles were rattling out of position! The bass coming out of the Magico S7s were chesting pounding and solid. The sound remained composed and undistorted at all times. Make no mistake about, this is truly a system for those who love to show off dynamic range or fast transient response. The Viola Sonata preamp and Bravo amplifier combo is the Porche 911 Turbo of audio amplifiers.
I must admit though, that I much preferred the sound of the system with large orchestral music, rock or jazz over female vocals or choirs on these Bravos.
Last but not least, the Artesania Audio racks from Spain, is a new product being debuted at TAVES. The 3 tier rack lists at US$ 5,990, and the 4 tier rack lists at US$ 6,990.