By Richard H. Mak
Every time when I walk into Triangle Art’s esoterically decorated room, it reminds of me of walking into Le Cirque at Bellagio or Red Square at Mandalay Bay, the dark reddish room was lit by the glow of Triangle Art’s golden gear and the chrome finished turntable. With Tom Vu (President of Triangle Art) sitting quietly at the corner of the room, I almost had the urge to ask him for a palm reading.
The system consist of Triangle Art’s Signature turntable ($15,995), Osiris Tonearm ($ 5,800), and Apollo cartridge ($8,000). Right to its left, sat the lower priced Symphony turntable ($ 7,000), the all new Horus Tonearm ($ 3,300) and Zeus cartridge ($4,000). The electronics are fresh debuts, with the Reference tube phono preamp ($12,995), Reference Tube preamp ($17,995) and Reference Tube mono block with 4 KT88 tubes per channel ($17,995). Speakers were Venture Audio’s Ultimate ($ 68,000) while cables were provided by Skogrand of Norway. All prices are listed in US Dollars.
Tom Vu spent a lot of time telling me about the new Horus tonearm. Horus is a name drawn from ancient Egyptology, he is the Son of the Osiris and Isis. The Horus is a classic and minimalist unipivot design featuring a Macassar ebony armwand. The tonearm sits on a diamond coated single point bearing, azimuth is stabilized by a top horizontal bearing. Discovering a new product at only $3,300 is almost as good as breath of fresh air as my senses have almost been numbed by the high ticket prices of modern audio gear.
Visiting Tom Vu’s room is always a pleasure because of his wide music selection. He runs one of the very few rooms at shows which will play real music rather than pressing the repeat button on some audiophile demo test tracks. I sat down and immersed myself into Highasakite’s newest album “Camp Echo”, an indie rock pop band from Norway. Records from Scandinavia are more often of very high quality, and Camp Echo is no exception. The sound was detailed, but carried no sibilance or bite, it was clean but not shrill or metallic. The lovely piano piece accompanied by cello, on Belanger and Bisson’s album, Comme un Tango is a nice demonstration of Tom Vu’s complete new line of tube electronics, offering the right tonality and decay on the piano with just enough metallic tone when the velvet hammer strikes the metal wires, on the backdrop of cello tunes with plenty of detail, texture and harmonic decay.
We went back and forth between the two turntables, and if price is an indication of sound quality, it most certainly applied in our case. While I could have easily lived with the sound of the lower priced Symphony Turntable the top of the line Signature model is more extended at both end of the frequency spectrum, with better overall tonality and dynamic contrast. I went back to the room several times during this year’s show, as it is one of my favorite sounding systems, offering new music upon every visit.
All three brands are now represented by Mirko Krolo of Krolo Designs.