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RMAF 2018: Göbel Audio and CH Precision

KEF R Series

What a system this was!  Clarity, huge dynamics, genuinely involving sound.  I hit this room three times.  It was that good.  Elliot Goldman had brought all his top gear.  Okay, honestly he stacked the deck…or should I say they stacked the CH Precision boxes?   There were literally dozens of them.  I’ll explain this is a minute.

We were listening to Göbel‘s Epoque Aeon Reference speakers at $220,000.  The electronic stack was an impressive set of CH Precision gear including:

  • M1.1 power amplifiers at $54,000 each
  • L1 mono preamplifier at $58,000
  • X1 power supplies at $17,000
  • D1 SACD/CD transport at $38,000
  • T1 10mhz Time Reference with GPS at $28,600
  • C1 Dual Mono DAC with streaming at $73,000
  • P1 Dual Monaural Phono stage at $31,000

Supporting gear was also terrific:

  • TW Acustic Raven AC turntable with Anniversary board and three motor drive system at $24,000
  • TW Acustic 10.5 inch tonearm at $5,500
  • Ortofon A95 cartridge at $6,500
  • Miyajima Madake cartridge at $6,000
  • Sonore Signature Rendu at $3,445
  • Sonic Orbitor 10TB at $2,000

Cable was Göbel’s Lacorde Statement series:

  • Balanced Cables 1.2 meters at $7,000
  • Speaker Cables 3 meter pair at $23.000
  • Ethernet Cable 1.2 meter at $5,100
  • USB Cable 1.2 meter at $5,100
  • Digital Cable 1.2 meter at $3,500
  • Power Cable 2.0 meter ay $8.500

System was sitting on Core Audio equipment racks and stands.  Power distribution was by Furutech NCF and NCF cable lifters provided a platform for the cables.

So why so many boxes?

The CH Precision gear is highly modular and this is Point of Differentiation #1.  You can buy a component and use the on-board power supply.  Want to upgrade?  No problem.  Flip a switch on the back and add an X1 power supply.  Want to go fully balanced in power amplifiers?  No problem.  Flip a switch and add one.  Want to add a master clock to the DAC?  No problem…flip a…well you get the idea.  So this is Point #1 on what makes CH Precision different.

Point #2 is the need for speed.  The Swiss team loves wide bandwidth, speed, and well-controlled group delay.  This must be why the system sounded so clear.  Well, that and the “bending wave” drivers on the Gobel speakers.

Point #3 is the control appliance.  CH Precision has an app that controls and the components connect to your local ethernet home network.  Each component has a high quality display and you can control it from an Android device.  The flexibility is strong.  For instance, you can stream directly to the DAC.  You can login into Tidal or Qobuz directly.  But perhaps the most unique feature is that you can “program” the CH amplifiers.  Yep.  You can vary the amount of global feedback and control the damping characteristics on the amp.  That allows you to customize the amp to the speaker, or in other word, optimize this critical interface for the best sound possible.

Finally, Point #4 of Differentiation is owner experience.  CH has hired top setup expert Stirling Trayle to perform updates in the homes of their customers.  Update parts are shipped directly to the owner’s home.  Stirling is literally one of the best in the business and his services are provided free of charge for the upgrade.  It’s like getting a Ferrari delivered to your home and Enzo shows up to tune it.  And let’s be honest, at this price point owners expect and deserve Ritz-level service.  Also, the M1 amps weigh 170 lbs each.  What owner wants the hassle of moving around and shipping such an item?  This is quite impressive.  My guess is that quite a few owners may take advantage of a visit from Stirling and arrange for some of his expert speaker placement services.  Icing on the cake?  In addition to the upgrades, Stirling checks any other CH gear for proper operation.  Cost to the owner is just the difference in price for the upgrade.   Nicely done CH team.

Oh yeah.  The speakers!

We talked about the impressive Göbel debut at Axpona earlier in the year.

Back to the sound…

The “Bending Wave” tech essentially creates a very accurate, wide bandwidth driver which operates from 170 hz to 31 khz with excellent dispersion characteristics.  These Epoque speakers have double the drivers than the Aeon Fine we saw and heard at Axpona.  These drivers created a big, rich sound with sublime dynamics.  The speed of the CH gear came through wonderfully.

We listened to Dean Martin’s Dream with Dean 45 rpm LP set.  The TW Acustic is a terrific table and it really extracted a lot of the presence of this magnificent recording.  Dean’s vocals were very detailed and natural.  The realism factor was high.  The P1 Dual Monaural Phono stage from CH was super quiet.  The A95 cartridge was creating an illusion of space.

On digital, Elliot was cueing up some choice cuts and the D1 was humming We listened to a couple of classical pieces. Orchestral layers were perfectly rendered.  The dynamic capability of the Göbel Epoques helped out here as well.

Throughout the show, I heard rock, pop, electronic…and it all sounded excellent.  I named the Göbel/CH Precision system one of my Top 5 rooms.  This gear is incredibly expensive but given the Swiss and German build quality and innovation and the after-sale customer experience, this is a reference level of sound and service commensurate with the entry fee.

Elliot is trying to get me to visit his new custom showroom in Florida to hear what they are truly capable of.  Based on what I heard at the RMAF demo, game on!

About Lee Scoggins (90 Articles)
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lee got interested in audio listening to his Dad’s system in the late 70s and he started making cassettes from LPs. By the early 80s he got swept up in the CD wave that was launching which led to a love of discs from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Later while working on Wall Street in the 90s, Lee started working on blues, jazz and classical sessions for Chesky Records and learned record engineering by apprenticeship. Lee was involved in the first high resolution recordings which eventually became the DVD-Audio format. Lee now does recordings of small orchestras and string quartets in the Atlanta area. Lee's current system consists of Audio Research Reference electronics and Wilson Audio speakers.

1 Comment on RMAF 2018: Göbel Audio and CH Precision

  1. Elliot Goldman // November 29, 2018 at 12:07 PM // Reply

    Thank you Lee for your kinds words and it was a pleasure having you stop in. We hope to see you soon in Florida.

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