Every time I see one of the big gold Reference-level ‘tables by Triangle Art the theme song from the Sean Connery film Goldfinger starts playing in my head. It’s not even a conscience effort on my part, those big, brassy horns just immediately fire up, and there’s Shirley Bassey belting it out between my ears “GOLDDDDFINGAAAH!!! He’s the man/ The man with the Midas touch/A spider’s touch…” I could go on, such a great track. But I digress, Tom Vu’s deck designs have been impressing me for a number of years, not just because they are so damn beautiful in their “turntable as altar to music” guise – which can be off-putting to some because they are so shiny, glossy, and big – but because they allow the music to come through with formidable resolution.
At AXPONA this year Vu was showing his wares (which included not only the Master Reference deck, but his Osiris tonearm, Apollo MC cartridge, Reference Tube Phono Stage, Reference Tube Preamplifier, TA260S Power Amplifier, and Rhea Reference cabling throughout) alongside legendary Memphis-based loudspeaker manufacturer Eggleston Works, there with their 87dB Viginti three-way design. Tipping the scales at 255 pounds, and boasting a Beryllium tweeter, along with two six-inch carbon-cone midrange drivers, and two 10-inch carbon cone bass drivers, the Vigintis go full range with a spec’d frequency range of 20Hz – 20KHz.
What I heard here was not only a thick thread of musicality winding through every LP being played, but bass control, resolution, and midrange punch with the all-too-necessary air up top around the highest registers that allow piano notes to bloom with delicate decay alongside the fading shimmer of cymbals, and high hat. Trumpets, sax, stand-up bass, and vocals were reproduced with uncanny realism, and left an impression of unruffled confidence, and headroom to spare in playback. A gorgeous-looking system, that packed synergy, and fun into a sound that kept people smiling whenever I looked around.