I detest writers who start an article by detailing the specifics of how they got themselves into an exhibit room. Two feet, one after the other – so what? But it’s not that simple. So in what may appear like a masochistically literary move, I now wince at mentioning that Alan Kafton of The Cable Cooker pleaded with great emotion that I hoist myself up to the 15th floor to see (and hear) what he exclaimed to be “a perfect system.” Being Alan’s friend and myself a member of the press corps, I am accustomed to audiophile hyperbole. What I was not accustomed to was Alan being so reliably spot on.
Einstein Audio of Germany has been designing and building fine-art audio components since the late 1980s. What they had brought to Axpona thirty years later was an exhibition of time-tested experience, poise, and power. A one-brand system of their own technological evolution. Though they eschew philosophies like “bling,” and separate themselves from brands blameworthy of delivering more jewelry than sound, upon first look at the system, one has to wonder what exactly the designers at Einstein consider to be in the realm of garishness. The Einstein gear is outright stunning and polished like the complications of a fine timepiece. Everything is clean lines, glistening with either chrome or a creamy gloss black finish. What else should we expect from a German design house?
Debuting for the Axpona show were two components, or possibly one, depending on how you look at tonearms. Einstein’s The Record Player is a new statement-level component that would occupy the entire analog source position in their product lineup, if it were not for the fact that they consider The Tonearm Silver to be a completely separate component along with their The Pickup phono cartridge. Call it strange if you like, but I choose to call it an observant action of the obvious. Few of us with true vinyl passions consider a turntable to be a one-box turnkey solution suitable for extracting the soul of our most prized recordings. It’s about time we were called out for pretending things were as such.
If I’ve learned anything at this show, it’s that system synergy isn’t a magical recipe of mix-match trial and error, or decades of experience listening to components of various sonic flavors to then become a sommelier of component pairings. In fact, you can buy turnkey synergy in one immediate action. A single brand system that relies on co-ordinated engineering to do all of the laborious decision making for you.
Listening to the reference system, everything comes from a place that feels as real as it sounds. Nothing is exaggerated, nothing is there for me to nitpick. Its sound is clean and truthful. We climb the volume ladder never looking down. Seven hundred watts of self-amplified bass fill the room without ever becoming prodigious or lumpy. Mid-range snap from the crossover-free full-range driver is spacious and quick. Top-end treble is disgustingly good, and in perfect order with all the other players of the frequency range.
Danny Kaey of Positive Feedback fame and general industry prominence is on hand to DJ for the afternoon. His selections are speaking to me emotionally. From artists like Curtis Mayfield to Talking Heads, nothing is lost in the spiritual transmission. I feel connected with the messenger, and it’s true what they say, “Last Night a DJ saved my life.”
- Einstein The Preamp Dual-Stage Tube Preamplifier $28,000 USD
- Einstein The Silver Bullet Mk 2 OTL Monoblock Amplifier $65,000 USD
- Einstein The Pure 3-Way Active Loudspeaker $48,000 USD
- Einstein The Record Player Turntable Base $12,000 USD
- Einstein The Tonearm (12” version) $7,800 USD
- Einstein The Pickup Cartridge $5,600 USD
- Einstein The Phono Amp Phono Preamplifier $13,000 USD
- Einstein The Octopus 8 Plug Power Strip $2,700 USD