The story here should be the sound, or maybe even the vibe. Laid back, welcoming, and riddled with brightness. Brightness not in sound, but in actual light. The room is dynamically hard to photograph for the background is overblown when the gear is exposed for, and the gear is bathed in silhouette if the background is properly exposed for. So you’ll have to trust me when I tell you that the room sets a vibe. With an open (visually) window and my own eyes gathering in the distance beyond, the system and room feels more like a home than many. What Dr. Vinyl and Audio Skies have done to exhibit this systems strengths is to recreate an environment most like what we as audiophiles live with day to day.
My fellow press writer David Blumenstein (currently of Dagogo) always starts the show with a Dr. Vinyl room, so as to set for himself a high bar for sound, mood, and room setup. That way, a show well begun, is half done. I would agree that both rooms under the Dr. Vinyl umbrella did well to cater to the audience more than most. Overall, a great example of the show going experience.
Listening exclusively to Annie Lennox for the time I was in the room, I felt that audiophile cliche’ feeling coming on. The one that makes me really appreciate well recorded female voices. Maybe it’s a personal thing, but nothing sounds as angelic. The RS3i monitors do well to cast a wide and tall sound-stage. This sonic image blends well with the wide open windows before me. The RS3i speakers play large and without strain. Give this credit to the power of the DS200i power amplifier? Possibly, but when it all comes down to bass scale, power will only carry you so far. In this room, the RS3i’s manhandle the air with a firm grip on bass energy and speed.
I’ve heard Pear Audio Blue turntables before, and most of them in Dr. Vinyl rooms over the years. The first time I fell in love with a Hana SL, I do believe it was on a Pear Audio Blue Kid Punch turntable. Here now at Capital Audiofest, I am being treated to a much more esoteric experience. This is the first time to my knowledge that I’ve heard a Top Wing Blue Dragon Cartridge. Admittedly, it is over twelve times the price of the Hana, but the issue of cost difference is of no consequence to me. What this cartridge does for the rest of the system downstream is heaven sent. In fact, this cartridge and step-up transformer combination is more than justified in price, not just for the cost of the associated equipment, but for also how exposing the system can be when fed the totality of analog information. Same as with the vibe set with the room, well begun in the audio signal is already half done when on the path to a hi-fi paradise hideaway.
– D3i Dual Mono Preamplifier – $6,500 USD
– DS200i Stereo Power Amplifier – $12,000 USD
– RS3i Standmount Loudspeakers – $21,000 USD
– Reference Interconnects – $2,990 USD
– Reference Speaker Cables – $8,190
– Reference Power Cables – $2,990 USD
Pear Audio Blue
– Kid Thomas Turntable – $3,000 USD
– Cornet 2 10” Tonearm – $2,295 USD
– Reference Phono Stage – $4,800 USD
– Power Supply – $2,000 USD
– Blue Dragon Cartridge – $12,500 USD
– Step-Up Transformer – $1,225 USD
– Isolation feet – $950 (set of three)