McGary Audio, Salk Sound, Anticables, Exogal | CAF 2019

The McGary Audio and Salk Sound room was my first stop on the second day of the 2019 Capital Audiofest, and within seconds I realized I made a very wise decision. The combination of the McGary Audio SA2 power amplifier ($7985) and the Salk Sound SS 9.5 loudspeakers (from $9595/pair), along with a Salk Stream digital player with Exogal DAC and Anticables all around, offered the type of sound that made me think, “Wow, this is why we tube lovers love tubes.” This system was just so lovely, so warm, so utterly embraceable. It eased me into a busy day with a kiss on the cheek and a big hug.

Tenacious Sound
Capital Audiofest 2019 brought to you in part by Tenacious Sound.
Verdant Audio
Capital Audiofest 2019 brought to you in part by Verdant Audio!

The McGary Audio and Salk Sound room made me realize something crazy–I’ve been an audiophile for over 40 years, and I’ve never listened to Jennifer WarnesFamous Blue Raincoat. Not once. I know all about it, but I wouldn’t know it from any other female voice recording that audiophiles treasure. I have to admit that it’s pretty darned good. The acoustic guitars, in particular, so were clearly etched into the soundstage that you could hear every note, every fingertip on the strings.

I’ve visited the McGary Audio and Salk Sound room only once before, and I had a similar reaction–beautiful, beautiful sound. I also noted how affordable these components are considering the features and, most importantly, the sound quality. The Salk SS 9.5s have impressive specs for a sub-$10K pair of speakers such as bass response down to 25 Hz, a beryllium tweeter and superb wood finishes–not to mention the fact that they weigh 112 lbs. each. The McGary Audio SA2 is…well, just look at it. LOOK AT IT! It’s a work of art, and it has a seductive demeanor that’s enchanting, no matter the ancillaries.

I have to give a little shout out to Mike McGary, since I love the way he runs an exhibit room. He sits quietly in the corner, listening to the music just as intently as the show-goers. It’s fairly obvious that he’s enchanted by the sound as well, and perhaps that’s why he offers a lifetime warranty on his amps. In this industry, that’s how you know you’re doing all the right things.