DENVER (PTA) — This is my first time with a Commonwealth Idler Drive ($19,900 USD) professional turntable. Exactly the story behind it, I don’t know. It’s from Xact Audio of Boise, Idaho and I like it. That’s all that matters. The rest of the system: CH Precision, Nordost, and Rockport Technologies.
I really wish Marc Phillips was here to experience this CH Precision I1 ($38,000 USD) integrated amplifier, as I think it would be right up his alley, or anyone’s alley for that matter.
The CH Precision I1 integrated is basically an A1 amplifier, C1 digital-to-analog converter, L1 preamplifier, and P1 phono-stage all crammed into one beautiful looking box.
Okay, cram probably isn’t the correct word. When have the Swiss ever crammed anything into a compact chassis, they don’t cram — they “gently squeeze” things. Things like 100-watts per channel of stereo amplification for one, and a full-complement DAC for another.
When you think “Integrated Amplifiers” you often also think of pairing them with small speakers, and in this case you’d be mostly right as Xact Audio decided to pair them with the smallest speakers made by Rockport Technologies.
Rockport Technologies currently offers only four models of loudspeakers. All of them being towers, and the smallest being the Atria II.
The Atria II ($26,500 USD) is a true three-way design with a reflex loaded 9-inch carbon fiber sandwich composite woofer, a sealed box 6-inch carbon fiber sandwich composite mid-range and 1-inch beryllium dome tweeter. This “small” speaker is almost 44-inches tall, weighs in at 150lbs each, and covers a frequency spectrum of 28Hz to 30kHz, while presenting a 4-ohm load.
Webbing for the whole affair was provided by Nordost. Starting with their Vahalla 2 cabling, QKORE6 ($5,000 USD) parallel grounding device, and QRT QB8 ($1,600 USD) power distribution block.
Uncommonly clean, and even more uncommonly rich across all frequencies. Undoubtedly high-end and assuredly capable of broad dynamic range. We listened to vinyl and digital, each time the experience exhibited chameleon like qualities. It, they, — they do it all. The Reed 3P tonearm is a new one for me, but the Lyra Etna is a wonderfully old-hat. Did it ever sound better on a turntable? In short, no.