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RMAF 2017: Wyred 4 Sound, Acoustic Zen combine for sonic harmony

Robert Lee tends to exhibit his well-regarded Acoustic Zen speakers at shows with an ever-changing list of electronics partners. Despite the diverse group of components — tubes, solid-state, Class A, Class D — he never fails to make a good sound.

The Zen master may have found his best match yet at the 2017 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Lee, who’s based in California, teamed up with another Sunshine State manufacturer, Wyred 4 Sound.

Lee paired his flagship Maestro speakers ($43,000/pair USD) with a rack of gear from Wyred that included no fewer than four new products. Those components included the nextGEN amplifier ($3,625 USD), 10th anniversary limited edition 2v2SE DAC ($4,499 USD), Roon-ready music sever ($2,999 USD) and PS-1 modular power supply ($624 USD).

Other Wyred 4 Sound equipment included its STP-SE preamplifier ($3,749 USD) and Sound Recovery reclocker ($199 USD). The company also used some of its own cable, including C2 interconnects (starting at $558 USD for a 1-meter pair), Premium USB cable (starting at $398 USD for 1 meter) and P1 power cords (starting at $169 USD for 1 meter).

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Some of the new Wyred models have been previewed at other shows, but the nextGEN was being displayed for the first time. The Class D amplifier produces 250 watts per channel, and is bridgeable to output 750 watts. A significant design feature, according to the company, is an extra-large toroidal transformer that provides substantial energy reserves.

The first demo track I heard was Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong doing “Summertime” from their 1558 studio album, Porgy and Bess. The vocals were nicely rendered, and the orchestral arrangement was conveyed with realistic scale. Overall, there was a sense of smoothness that is typical of today’s better Class D amps, along with an ease on dynamic peaks that likely reflected the nextGEN’s power-supply design.

I also listened to Jennifer Warnes’ version of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire,” from Famous Blue Raincoat. The high frequencies — especially percussion instruments — were extended and polished, and bass response was deep, full and tight. Warnes’ voice, meanwhile, was clear and up-front. Here, the Maestros did a particularly good job with image height, layering and overall weight and impact.

Acoustic Zen and Wyred 4 Sound seem to have struck up a mutually beneficial relationship. Audiophiles interested in the products of one should also investigate the other.

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About John Stancavage (183 Articles)

Contributing Editor for Part-Time Audiophile

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