This the third time this year that I’ve heard CH Precision and Stenheim loudspeakers matched in a system–I’ve already heard this combo at both High End 2019 in Munich and at T.H.E. Show in Long Beach just a few months ago. I’m not sure why I’m so surprised at the musicality of this pairing. CH Precision, for me, has always been a marque that symbolizes ultimate resolution and the rendering of detail. Stenheim loudspeakers, on the other hand, have always sounded musical to me despite the fact that these enclosures have been meticulously built from aluminum. The visual cues of this system always suggest a rigid version of perfection, and yet the execution is always supremely musical to my ears.
CH Precision showed in three different rooms at RMAF: one with Bending Wave and Kronos (an impressive room, by the way), one with Xact Audio and Nordost (which I didn’t get to hear), and this room with the relatively compact Stenheim Alumine FIVEs and NVS Sound cabling. It seemed a little strange to hear all this CH Precision firepower–A 1.5 power amplifier (from $39,500), C1 DA controller (from $32,000), T1 clock generator ($24,700), D1 SACD/CD drive (from $38,000) and X1 power supply ($20,500)–with the Alumine FIVEs ($60,000/pair), but that would be underestimating the sheer capability of these Stenheim loudspeakers (which, surprisingly, weigh 100 kilos each).
The exhibitors were fairly brave with their musical choices–during my visit I heard both Elvis and a very rare, very old mono recording of Satchmo. When I was a distributor, I’d bring gorgeous mono recordings such as the Analogue Productions reissues of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong only to have show attendees complain about the lack of imaging. Only about one in five people, in my estimation, seemed to enjoy the purity and tonality of these recordings. I noticed that same exquisite tone in this system, with transparency and warmth that bordered on eerie.
A second smaller system was also in the room, but I didn’t get a chance to listen. This featured one of my favorite 2-way monitors from the Stenheim loudspeakers line, the diminutive Alumine TWOs, and LinnenberG gear was used instead of CH Precision. I’ve been working with Walter Swanbon of Fidelis AV to get Stenheim loudspeakers in for review, and I met briefly with the Stenheim loudspeakers crew in Munich. These loudspeakers are truly intriguing, and hopefully I get to explore them further in the near future.