AXPONA 2017: Well Pleased with Rethm and Aqua HiFi

Mark Sossa of Well Pleased A/V was, once again, show off his penchant for nifty-yet-affordable gear here at AXPONA. Mark is one of those guys with a reputation for exploration: all the brands he carries are just off the beaten path. Gems, all. But most are probably not “household names”.

Take Rethm. Rethm makes some interesting “Lowther-esque” loudspeakers that you will probably never have heard of — because no one writes about these Made-in-India marvels (well, no one other than 6moons). And that’s a shame because they’re pretty nifty. At $3900/pair, the Bhaava speakers are hybrids — metal/wood | single-driver + powered sub. The hand-off between low-end and “everything else” is user-adjustable, and has quite a bit of flexibility. I was quite taken by the sound of jazz and light ensembles, for example — the in-room tuning was clearly biased that way — but electronica, however, seemed a little unfair. YMMV.

Other delectable goodies in this room include the Innuos Zenith music server ($3400), which has not only convinced Mark of its inherent worth and goodness, it’s pretty much turned him into a soapbox carrying evangelist. I’ve wandered down several (dozen) blind and dead-end alleys in search of sonic joy out of a “mere server”, but this one has me intrigued. More on that front, soon.

A more familiar bit was the award-winning Aqua HiFi La Scala MKII Optologic DAC ($7000). The “Optologic” part has to do with the way the signal is not affected — there are optical couplers linking the analog and digital portions to prevent all manner of noise-and-nasty from making the jump to your ears. And did I mention the DAC uses tubes? Heh heh. Read more about it over at DAR.

A new-to-me brand, LinnenberG, provided their Maestro preamplifier ($1200) and Allegro monoblock power amplifiers. Fully-balanced architectures and robust industrial design, all come wrapped in a tidy footprint. The amps are good for 55wpc into 8Ω and cost $5400/pair.

As usual for Mark, Anticables provided all the wiring.

Sound in here was engaging and unexpected — one of the highlights of the show.

AXPONA coverage generously provided by NOBLE AUDIO.

About Scot Hull 1039 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.