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FLORIDA 2019: Classic Audio Loudspeakers, Purist Audio Design, Atma-Sphere, Tri-Planar











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Classic Audio Loudspeakers brings field coil sound to the Florida Audio Expo, the minds at Purist Audio Design give us a tour of their Neptune series cables, Atma-Sphere brings the Novacron, Tri-Planar flexes their Ultimate 12 tonearm.

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The Story

Purist Audio Design’s new Neptune series of cables is part of what they call their Luminist Revision. The revision was widespread across their product line, redesigning most series of cab le, to improve and include new technologies. Details range from the use of copper-beryllium everywhere, thicker gold plating, and fluid damping throughout. The most pragmatic and welcomed upgrade in my opinion is their custom switchable banana and spade termination. It’s like having two cables in one.

The Neptune Series has you covered from Interconnect, Speaker, Digital, Phono, and Power cables. What separates the Neptune series from the pack, is their proprietary fluid shielding. This design aims to help any system worth it’s weight reproduce a nearly 3D sound and shape to the music. Leading in its strengths, top-end and mid-range detail, the Neptune series sounds like the perfect cable for those who want strong and full-body vocal performances.

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Being seated in front of a Classic Audio Loudspeakers system, with the Atma-Sphere Novacron monoblock amplifiers lighting the way. Now for some history on the Novacron; originally introduced in 1991, the Novacron was the first US product to use the classic 6C33C Russian power triode. Just within the last few years Atma-Sphere is making the Novacron again, now updated to Mk 3.3 status. Class-A tube power, at a stout 60 watts.

Classic Audio Loudspeakers often demo with two pairs of Godzilla sized field coil speakers, here at the Florida Audio Expo it was business as usual. Firstly the T-1.5 Reference is a 450lb large horn based loudspeaker owing much of it’s heritage in design to the James B. Lansing Hartsfield loudspeaker. Utilizing energized field coil drivers to replace the typical permanent magnet structure found in every other cone speaker driver that isn’t a field coil design. Field coils for lack of better terms are “perfect” in that the magnetic field they create is more stable by comparison to permanent magnets. Something interesting that most people don’t know about the T-1.5 is that it’s front facing 15” woofer isn’t the only bass providing driver in the loudspeaker. Under the cabinet is a floor-facing 18” woofer used to wrangle in true 20hz extension. I think from that bit of trivia you can now understand why these speakers need so much room to breathe.

The Sound

Often being heard well away and down the halls of audio shows, the Classic Audio Loudspeakers systems are now free to play as loud as they like, with an entire free-standing building at their disposal. I now can’t blame them for flexing their ability to play loud and spreading out the sound with so much room at their disposal. Doing so genuinely pushes the point of building big loudspeakers with high efficiency woofers and horn drivers.

Something I think lost on most who enjoyed this room was how long the cable runs in this system had to be. With that, you’d expect RFI and other issues by the boatload, but none were audible, even when the system was idle between reels. Good show for Purist Audio Design, as the task of reeling in the noise-floor on such a gigantic system is no small feat.

Speaking of “Reels”, we did half of our listening this time from the Studer reel-to-reel machine. Often at shows you’ll see a reel-to-reel machine and a few tapes lying around, but usually it’s one tape on demo. The Classic Audio Loudspeakers guys brought a few hundred miles worth of tape, so we had plenty to choose from. During our sessions we swapped around genres but mostly remained with classical. As far as I can tell, nothing else at the show really gave us the impression of realism in scale or dynamics for classical music like the Classic Audio Loudspeakers systems were at the Florida Audio Expo.

The System

Classic Audio Loudspeakers

– T-3.4 Project Field Coil Power System – $54,950 pr USD
– T-1.5 Reference Field Coil Power System – $72,950 pr USD

Purist Audio Design

– Neptune Series AC Cables, Balanced Interconnects, and Speaker Cables
– AC Extension Boxes
Total Cable System Retail – $30,000 USD

Atma-Sphere

– Novacron Mk3.3 Monoblock Amplifiers – $22,200 pr USD
– MP-1 Mk 3.3 Preamplifier – $18,900 USD as optioned

Technics

– SP 10 MkII + Music Technology & Krebs Upgrade $10,000 USD – $13,000 USD

Tri-Planar

– Ultimate 12 Tonearm – $9,800 USD

Van Den Hul

– Colibri Crimson Signature Stradivarius Cartridge – $13,000 USD
– Crimson Stradivarius – $5,500 USD

Air Tight

– Opus Cartridge – $15,000 USD

Studer

– Model #810 Reel-To-Reel Tape Deck – Priceless!