Sunny Components, CH Precision, Stenheim, AudioQuest and Technics | T.H.E. Show 2019

Sunny Components in Covina was another Southern California dealer at T.H.E. Show 2019 with a dominating presence spread out over several rooms. One system that stood out for me, perhaps over all others, was an awesome metallic beast of a set-up that should have sounded ultra-detailed and analytical but instead won me over with its beautiful, non-fatiguing sound. CH Precision, based out of Switzerland, is known for making gear that digs incredibly deep into recordings–although I’ve heard from audiophiles who feel this gear is far too detailed and unforgiving. (I’ve liked CH Precision from the start, even though I usually prefer a warm and somewhat colored sound in my own home.)

Sunny Components rolled out a serious CH lineup–the C1 D/A Controller (from $32,000), D1 SACD/CD Drive (from $38,000), L1 preamplifier (from $34,500), P1 phono stage (from $31,000), X1 external power supply ($20,500) and A1.5 stereo power amplifier (from $39,500). Sunil Merchant matched this gear with Stenheim Alumine 3 loudspeakers ($29,500/pair), another gleaming metallic work of art from a brand I admire, and something I’ve been waiting to hear for a while–the Technics SL-1000R turntable ($18,000) with a Lyra Etna SL cartridge($10,995). When I walked into this room, I thought I was going to be subjected to a rigid tutorial on ultimate resolution and inner detail. I was wrong.

The staff from Sunny Components first treated me to an LP recording of Scheherazade that might have been the most impressive rendering of this classical masterpiece that I’ve heard–and I’ve heard many, many versions. Sure, the physical layers of the orchestra were laid out cleanly, row after row, but there was a natural richness to the sound that allowed these precise images to reflect and interact with the room as well as each other. In my notes I scribbled “The kind of system that I’d really want, although no one would believe it.” And yes, the SL-1000R, a sleek shiny beast on its own, lived up to the hype with a generous, hypnotic sound that really captured my heart.

In addition, Sunny Components chose AudioQuest cabling and power management to connect this glorious music machine. At T.H.E. Show, I noticed that many rooms used the AudioQuest Niagara 7000 power conditioner ($7999)–and each of these rooms were splendid (not that I’m assigning cause-and-effect here, but I’m just putting that out there). I’ve been on an AudioQuest kick lately because I’ve been playing with a bunch of their products lately–there’s a review of the AudioQuest DragonFly Red and NightOwl Carbon coming up in The Occasional. All four of the Sunny Components rooms at T.H.E. Show 2019 sounded spectacular in one way or another, but this room really defied my expectations.