LOS ANGELES (PTA) — Computer Audio Design (CAD) exhibits at their second ever US audio show, partnering with Aesthetix and Boenicke Audio. It was Scott Berry (CAD) and Jim White (Aesthetix) who gave us a tour of the system and internal display pieces.
Two companies, debuting electronics. Well, not exactly, or not exactly in the same way. The new Aesthetix MIMAS Integrated Amplifier is truly a new USA made product debut, whereas Computer Audio Design (CAD) is making its US West Coast debut, just entering the US market less than six months ago, but with well established UK made digital electronics.
First, let’s talk about Aesthetix new hybrid integrated, MIMAS. The preamplifier section utilizes one 6DJ8 (6922) vacuum tube per channel in a fully differential and balanced configuration borrowed from their Calypso preamplifier. The amplifier stage is a borrowed derivative of the output section from their Atlas amplifier. This power output section is fully discrete (no integrated circuits), fully differential, zero-feedback, DC coupled, balanced bridge output operating in Class A/B. The MIMAS is capable of 150-Watts into 8-Ohms, and nearly double that into 4-Ohms, with both channels driven. Options include a phono card (pictured below) and DAC card (pictured below), upgraded discrete headphone amplifier, upgraded remote, and high-pass crossover network.
Secondly, the rest of the HRS is blessed with the rather attractive acrylic enclosures that clad a few of the CAD electronics. The 1543 DAC for instance uses a fully acrylic enclosure, not to cut costs as it is more expensive to mold than bent steel, but for the purpose of eliminating the entrance of outside high-frequency resonances.
Scott Berry (CAD), designer of the acclaimed 1543 MKII DAC, USB Cables and Grounds Controls has skillfully employed technology that he developed over years of computer audio research, to create an audiophile-grade digital transport. The CAD Audio Transport/Server provides a high-quality one-box solution for a digital music library, integrating CD ripping, music storage with streaming and playback. Each CAT is built-by-hand (and, to-order) in the UK and can be tailored to suit a home system: either as a stand-alone two-channel system, or for integration into home networks.
At the bottom of the rack are three boxes, one being a power supply for the media server, the other two being ground boxes, which are passive ground controls that do not connect to any devices, but rather are run in parallel. The ground control boxes reduce high-frequency (>1MHz) noise on the ground of all components in the system.
Having the small Boenicke Audio W8 SE towers as my only window to the CAD and Aesthetix electronics, I must admit that this is the second time I’ve heard their loudspeakers, and these towers with their side firing woofers do the trick. The window, though small, was clean and clear from distraction, colors full and landscapes that lie beyond deep into the sonic horizon. The electronic pairing yielded dark and silent backgrounds for the loudspeakers to use as their canvas.
Computer Audio Design (CAD)
– 1543 DAC MkII – $12,000 USD
– CAD Audio Transport/Server “The Cat” – $14,000 USD
– CAD Ground Control GC1 – $1,995 USD
– CAD Ground Control GC3 – $4,500 USD
– CAD USB Cables and Ground Cables (throughout the system)
– MIMAS Hybrid Integrated Amplifier – $7,000 USD
– W8 SE Loudspeakers – $12,200 pr USD
Harmonic Resolution Systems (HRS)
– SRX Rack (price unspecified)
Interconnects and Speaker Cables provided by Bibacord (Sweden)