It was my first listen to the Backert Labs Rhythm 1.3 (~$10k) tube preamplifier, which features a completely dual-mono power supply, even down to the transformer having two separate power. Power supply capacitors are of the copper V-cap variety, no tin allowed.
Also showing from Backert, a prototype phono stage — so expect a production ready product within the next three to four months, which is exciting news from a well respected producer of high-end electronics. Estimated street price for the phono stage is to be in the $4k range.
Currently the phono stage doesn’t have a name, but relying on experience, there is a possibility that Backert Labs will hold another naming contest where the consumer audience will have the chance to submit, and vote on the future name of this upcoming electronic wonderment.
Power amplification was provided by High Fidelity Cables, which is a fun departure from the norm for the Texas based company. Rick Shultz is High Fidelity Cables, and between the two — I would argue that people know Rick Shultz just about as much or better than they do his cable company High Fidelity Cables. At times, I too have had that same problem.
The High Fidelity Cables power amplifier is named the MA-1 Magnetic Amplifier and retails for $30K. For that kind of squeeze you do get plenty of juice for your dollar. 150-watts into 8-ohms, 200-watts into 4-ohm. Topology is Class-A/B current injection construction: a purely current driven amplifier.
The standmount speakers used in the system were the Caravelle MkII from Soundstage Audio, formerly Star Sound Technologies, (estimated at $8K pr) and near production ready status. Soundstage also makes the speaker stands, and system component rack, which to be honest is what the company is best known for as speakers are a new foray for the company.
It must be said that the speaker stands, component platforms, and resonance control devices are some of the most beautiful and wickedly functional pieces in hi-fi and don’t garner the attention they rightly deserve.
The turntable provided was the Primus by Acoustic Signature which retails around $2K, and was outfitted with the Dynavector XX2 cartridge.
One of the most exciting things in the room was actually the High Fidelity Cables power strip, as it’s the second time I’ve had the chance to listen to one in the system, and from all consensus from those who have made the leap and bought one, it’s a game changer.
I wish I could tell you more about how the power strip from High Fidelity Cables sounded, but there’s just no way I had enough time to replace it in the system for long term A-B comparisons. That said, I found the entire system to be as sweet as ever, as I do make it a point to drop in on Starsound Technologies (now Soundstage Audio) as often as I can.
The loudspeakers have been in development for what seems like almost a year now, and for a freshman effort, they play like anything but. Bass is rich and copious. Top end frequencies are smooth and well integrated with the mid-woofer. In a shoot-out with some of my favourites in the marketplace as I see it, I would say these would likely do better than expected.