Antal Audio Group assembles a global cornucopia of sound, Triangle Speakers stays true to its high-end sound however not its cost, Soulines spins the grooves, and Tsakiridis Devices stuns us with extremely good value.
I almost don’t know where to begin. This room shouldn’t sound this good given the price. Let’s start with the turntables. Soulines was a company more recently forged during the current decade after establishing themselves as turntable upgrading and tweeking specialists in their hometown of Belgrade, Serbia. It all started in 2009 with a project company called TT Recycled (link here), where the practice of recycling and re-building turntables eventually lead to in-house designs being formed. Their first model, the Hermes DCX turntable took the 2011 Belgrade Hi-Files show by storm, walking away with numerous awards. Here in 2019 at the Florida Audio Expo, we have two turntables; the Kubrick DCX, and Elgar DCX.
The Kubick DCX may look like a certified piece of space exploration history, and that is no accident. Named after Stanley Kubrick, and inspired by “2001 A Space Odyssey” the Kubrick turntable is the most advanced, and dare I say “futuristic” turntable that Soulines has built to date. To the classical genre fans, the Elgar DCX has only one possible inspiration, and if you guess Edward Elgar, you’d be right. As a composer, he was the first to take the gramophone seriously and thus earned his name upon a turntable. Both models are manufactured and sold with no specific tonearm intended. For instance, the Kubrick DCX includes Aluminum Arm Bases for 9” SME, Rega/Origin Live/Audio Note, Jelco/Linn tonearms. The Elgar DCX covers the same brands of tonearm listed above, but with arm bases being made from acrylic.
Triangle Speakers were showing off their uber-affordable Esprit range of loudspeakers. Active in the system, were the largest towers of that series, called the Australe EZ — which integrate their new DPS (Dynamic Pulse System) technology. The DPS was until recently only found in their flag-ship Magellan series of speakers. DPS technology is based on the addition of a second tweeter at the rear of the speaker, expressing higher frequencies without interfering with the signal emitted from the front of the speaker. This feature improves the imaging and reduces directivity by providing an almost holographic restitution of the soundstage. The spot of the listener in relation to the speaker is therefore less critical.
Along with DPS, almost every other component of the Esprit loudspeaker series has been revised, updated, or out-right replaced with something better. From wood-pulp and carbon composite woofers, DVAS cabinet decoupling, and trickle-down crossover designs. What remains is the stunning looks that I am personally familiar with from Triangle.
Enter Tsakiridis Devices, of which I am unsure how to pronounce their name. It’s all Greek to me. And it’s all Greek to them as well. Tsakiridis is in fact a Greek company founded in the early 1980s and known for producing fantastically valued and acclaimed tube electronics with decades of experience under their belt. All Tsakiridis electronics are still made in Greece and continue a long heritage of smart and yet classic designs. As to value, it’s done almost to an extreme. Even while there in Florida, I could point to a whole rack of electronic components where most were under $1,500 USD. Be sure to check out the Tsakiridis Devices prices below.
This might be the best value system at the show. Each component on its own is of great value, and together yield a sum greater than its parts. If it was a sandwich, it would be a Reuben. Bass was fast and speedy. The tweeter horns, both front and back did well to create landscape and precise imaging when demanded. The Tsakiridis added the right amount of warmth to the Triangle Esprit Australe EZ’s without sacrificing detail. As an analog demonstration, I would dare to say there were only a few better systems at the show. However, those who bested this system were easily asking for three-to-five times in total system costs.
- Kubrick Turntable – $3,100 USD (not including arm or cartridge)
w/ Oracle SME 345 arm and Oracle Corinth cartridge
- Elgar Turntable – $4,000 (not including arm or cartridge)
w/ Rega RB808 arm and Ortofon Cadenza Blue cartridge
- Zeus Phonostage – $1,495 USD (two used in system)
- Thalia Preamplifier – $1,295 USD
- Apollon Monoblock Amplifiers (150w) – $3,995 pr USD
- Esprit Australe EZ Loudspeakers – $4,500 pr USD
Cabling by Nordost