Saturday afternoon I wasn’t at my best. In fact, I wanted to go home. Faith in what “we” are doing as a hobby, community or industry was at an all time low, and I was ready to write a requiem piece for the entire future of audiophile culture. More on that later (in another article).
While in my state of wandering dissociation, I bumped into Alan M. Kafton of Audio Excellence AZ (and The Cable Cooker). If you know Alan, you can understand how sobering and grounding his presence is. I was thrilled and relieved to have been so lucky to have him find me.
Together we make our way into a room and I snap back into focus. I see one of those familiar speakers that like a fine Swiss Cheese, which can easily be identified by sketch. An absolutely stunning pair of Diapason Adamantes MkIII’s ($5,495pr USD), these are Anniversary Editions nonetheless. I’ve known for years how beautiful Italian designed speakers can look. But nearing the prime listening position I am realizing all too quickly that these beautifully “carved” speakers are disappearing into the corners of this room. The sonic allure of these sculpted lines are indeed functional. Dispensing away with the unwanted cabinet reflections, assuring that image remain tightly in focus. Speaker placement was on the wide side of things and boy did that help this room stand apart from many others. Cabling was every bit of three meters from amplifier to speaker, but the ($5,295pr USD) Tellurium Q Black Diamond Speaker cables did so without drawing attention to the distance in any way.
Warlike: odd ways to describe what I’m hearing from this system, but the sense that I’m getting is that I haven’t heard yet what she can do. I petition that the volume go up. I was correct, she’s ready for battle. Helming the heavy artillery is a rack of rather conservatively designed but still distinctly Italian; Norma Audio electronics. Norma’s Revo IPA-140 ($7,795 USD), which boasts 140 watts per channel but feeling like much more to my senses.
Moronic: odd ways to describe myself for picking up the album jacket to a record that we weren’t even listening too. I don’t know if anyone noticed this, but I did and blushed. Turns out, the spinning record player was a decoy for the Norma Revo DS-1 CD/DAC ($4,995 USD), which played the compact disc we were listening too. Nice to meet you Norma. Either I’m getting old or digital is finally welcoming the competition that analog has been bringing to this hobby since day one. Lines are blurring and I swear, I haven’t had a drink this entire show — yet.
Still interested in the turntable, I take to inquiring if it is Italian as well, turns out it’s German, so at this point I feel more of the same. It’s a gorgeous piece of construction, with one of the best looking plinths I’ve ever seen. Makassa wood… never heard of it, either. It looks like a $20k piece, but happily outfitted as it is here, the analog portions of this system include the Acoustic Signature Triple X Turntable in this Makassa / Black finish at only $5,795 USD, along with Acoustic Signature TA 2000 9” Tonearm ($2,395 USD) and Acoustic Signature Tango Ultimate ($2,399 USD).
It was pleasantly easy for me to regain a little composer and focus in this room, so I’m eager to see what the fine folks from Fidelis of New Hampshire can bring forth at future shows like Capital Audiofest. Who knows, I might again need that restoration of faith.