WASHINGTON DC (PTA) — “Familiar Brands, New Experience” would be how I would slogan-ize this Capital Audiofest exhibit room if such a thing existed. It’s Daedalus Audio loudspeakers, BorderPatrol Audio tube electronics, Triode Wire Labs cables, Innuos serving up the digital.
Daedalus Audio was showing their newest version of the Muse loudspeaker, dubbed the Muse Studio. The Muse Studio is an upgraded version of the three-way point source loudspeaker that sits one click above the Muse in price, making it the second most affordable model in the Daedalus line-up at just under $11K.
The Muse Studio is a floor-standing three-way design that loads the drivers into the front baffle in a way to achieve the kind of point source sound often heard with two-way loudspeakers, however without all of the compromises made when going the two-way route. Ideal for smaller listening rooms, though I’d imagine what we consider “smaller” may vary. They include front porting so as to make speaker placement near room boundaries more friendly to the sound.
The crossover network for the Muse Studio model is sourced from within the Daedalus family of loudspeakers and comes directly from the Athena three-way model. The choice to hand down this crossover was made because it provided more definition and accuracy across the spectrum in research comparisons against the stand Muse model.
Being a point source loudspeaker, the Muse Studio would be a more honest choice for those looking to create a solid stereo image and soundstage within a difficult or oddly shaped listening space. In less than idealistic room situations you’d likely notice the Muse Studio interacts more with the listener than it does the room.
Along with the new Muse Studio, came the Daedalus Isolation Devices that were incorporated throughout the system. They included DiD isolation devices for components and loudspeakers, and also the new SS/Brass Spikes, which combine different metals for cancellation of resonances, and include threaded brass leveling collars for dialing in loudspeaker yaw, pitch, and roll when on uneven surfaces.
From BorderPatrol the P20 a model of tube power amplifier that uses the ever-popular 300B triode. Available in single-ended, parallel single-ended and push-pull configurations with power outputs ranging from 9 to 20W/channel. All P20 models use inter-stage transformers to couple the driver tube to the 300B’s and have no negative feedback to maximize resolution and preserve signal integrity. The chassis are composed of non-magnetic materials and the higher priced EXD version (as shown) uses copper chassis parts and inter-stage and output transformers that have undergone deep cryogenic treatment.
The BorderPatrol P20 models feature external power supply units (PSU). The parallel dual-mono design features two PSUs, one for each stereo channel. Encasing the PSU’s externally keeps the weight and size of the amplifiers manageable. It also keeps the hard working iron (and its electric fields) away from sensitive audio circuitry. Using the available space of larger external PSU chassis’ also allows for a degree of design elaboration and sophistication.
Each PSU contains three independent tube rectifiers: choke input filter (high voltage) supplies to independently feed the 300B’s, input/driver tubes, and the negative bias supply, along with filament supplies for the 300B’s and small signal tubes.
Once again, I’m impressed with something Lou Hinkley of Daedalus Audio has set out to improve upon. The Muse Studio loudspeakers perform as advertised. The point source is real. The front port presents bass in a way that avoids what these Rockville Hilton hotel rooms are known for, specifically the 55Hz bass hump.
Electronically the bargain SE-i USB DAC continues to astonish. It’s a minimalist non-oversampling R2R digital-to-analog converter that is simple, if not entirely retro, that is built out to provide a seriously insightful and romantic sound that makes digital sound less digital. Bravo!
– Muse/Studio Loudspeakers – $10,850 pr USD
– DiD-SPK – starting at $45 ea USD
– SS/Brass Spikes w/Brass Leveling – $32 ea USD
– DiD Component Isolation Devices – starting at $480 set USD
– SE-i USB DAC Digital-to-Analog Converter – $1,350 USD
– P20EXD Dual Mono 300B Amplifier – $17,500 USD
Triode Wire Labs
– High Power Digital American Power Cord – starting at $699 USD
– Digital American Power Cord – starting at $499 USD
– Spirit II RCA Interconnects – starting at $399 USD
– American Speaker Cables – starting at $699 USD
– Split Power & Data USB Cable – starting at $349 USD
– ZENith Mk. III Music Server (4TB) – $4,249 USD