I’m looking at my notes from the Well-Pleased Audio Vida room at the 2019 Capital Audiofest, and I spot this little nugget: “OMG. What can I say?” The Well-Pleased Audio Vida room is more commonly known as the “Vinnie Room” these days, meaning Vinnie Rossi is once again showing his fabulous L2i-SE integrated amplifier ($18,995) with those deceptively diminutive Qln Prestige Three SE speakers ($12,000/pair) from Sweden. It’s almost exactly the same system that importer/distributor Mark Sossa of Well-Pleased AV brought to the 2019 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest just a couple of months ago–Vinnie Rossi, Qln, Innuos Statement, GigaWatt power conditioner and SGR rack. There were only two difference from that system, the very one that tied for Best Sound of Show in my wrap-up report just a few weeks ago.
Well-Pleased Audio Vida brought a loom of Triode Wire Labs cabling (I just learned the word “loom” recently, by the way), and the spacious diagonal placement of the Qln speakers was replaced with a more convention position, albeit one that was still pulled out a third of the way into the room. The sound of this system was almost exactly the same, however–an exquisitely deep soundstage that breaks down the wall of the listening space, a smooth yet crystal-clear tonality that provides continuous goosebumps, and some incredibly powerful low frequencies that seem unlikely from such a petite two-way floorstanding loudspeaker.
I felt that the buzz in the hallways concerning Well Pleased Audio Vida had changed from Vinnie’s amp to the QLN speakers at CAF 2019. Sure, that Vinnie Rossi L2i integrated is sensational, but how is it that those little Qlns sound like gigantic six-figure monoliths? I asked Mark Sossa what the secret was to these speakers–fairy dust, a deal with Old Scratch at the crossroads–and he simply mentioned the excellent engineering that goes into every Qln speaker, and how each and every part used is optimized for the overall design.
Here’s how impressive that 3-D presentation was in the Well Pleased Audio Vida room. Vinnie started playing Julie London singing “Cry Me a River,” and the song was almost over before I remembered it was a mono recording. It’s an absolutely breathtaking mono recording, to be sure, but Julie’s voice was so immediate and natural that it simply didn’t matter. I kept returning to the room during the show, trying to soak it all in, but there was consolation in knowing that I just packed up Vinnie’s L2-i integrated amplifier (with phono module) in my trunk before I headed home, and now it’s waiting for its turn for review.
Just writing this reports makes me want to grab it, unpack it and fire it up so I can once again experience the glory of this sound. What can I say?