I’ve long been a fan of Wilson Benesch (website) speakers, but they’re a rare sight here in the United States. I was intrigued to see local distributor Aaudio Imports playing a pair of Wilson Benesch A.C.T. One Evolution loudspeakers through some Ypsilon electronics and the sound can only be described as epic. Bass was well controlled but punchy, in a way none of the other rooms quite managed. Top end and mid-range were excellent, highly detailed and with great separation while gracefully avoiding the “unwrapped-burrito-phenomena”—a phenomena where hyper-detailed speakers sound too much like hyper-detailed speakers and not enough like real music.
Words and Photos by Grover Neville
This room caught my attention as having a little special something to it, not quite as heavily harmonic as the Voss Audio room upstairs, nor as lofty and uber-refined as the Audiovector and Thrax setup down the hall. Somewhere in this room, the combination of Ypsilon and Wilson Benesch was hitting that Goldilocks and The Three Bears type of balance, where rather than sounding coherent, the system becomes invisible. Imaging could have been better, though this was a problem in almost every room I visited at the show, so I chalk it up to poor architectural acoustics. Tonal balance and dynamics however were spot on to my ears, and it was one of the few rooms where I found myself slipping into a musical-meal-coma, and listening to the tunes more than the gear. Things just sounded right, what can I say.
Other than the aforementioned gear, Aaudio Imports was showing a large selection of cables, including the new Vibrance Series cable, which according to the Aaudio Imports team was designed in house as a more affordable cable option than the Stage III Concepts wire used elsewhere in the system. I’m hoping to pay a visit to what is—as far as I know—the only North American Wilson Benesch and Ypsilon distributor. I foresee a battle between myself and fellow PTA contributor Dave McNair in the near future over which of us gets to review these tremendously cool electronics and speakers.
- Wilson Benesch A.C.T. One Evolution Loudspeakers – $39,500 USD
- Ypsilon Phaethon SE Integrated Amp – $50,000 USD
- Ypsilon DAC 1000SE Valve DAC – $49,000 USD
- Aurender W20SE Music Server – $22,000 USD
- Vibrance Series RCA – $2,600 (1m/pr) USD
- Vibrance Series XLR – $2,700 (1m pr) USD
- Stage III Gorgon Interconnects – $8,300 USD
- Stage III Sphynx USB Link – $6,700 USD
- Stage III Kraken AC Power Cable – $8,400 USD
- Stage III Poseidon AC Power Cable – $22,000 USD
- Stage III Cerberus Speaker Cables – $36,000 USD
- HB Cable Design PowerSlave Marble MKII Power Distributor – $18,500 USD
- HB Cable Design PowerSlave Acrylic MKII Power Distributor – $12,500 USD
- HB Cable Design PowerStar Horizon MKII Power Distributor – $6,500 USD
- Isoclean Zero Ohm Audio Grade Breaker Panel – $8,750 USD
Rack and Vibration Control
- Wison Benesch R1 Carbon Modular Hi-Fi Rack – $8,500 USD
- Wilson Benesch R1 Carbon Plinth – $3,400 USD
- Stacore Anti-Vibration Platform w/Cryo-Max – $4,180 USD
- Stacore CLD Footers – $900 USD
Photos continue below, and more T.H.E. SHOW 2021 coverage can be found HERE.
About The Author
Grover Neville, Contributor
Grover is a recent transplant to Los Angeles, CA, and a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied music, creative writing, and how to wear skinny jeans. After graduating Grover pursued a freelance career in audio, doing professional research in the fields of Auditory Cognition, Psychoacoustics, and Experimental Hydrophone Design.
Before moving to Los Angeles, Grover worked and lived in Chicago, Illinois as a mixing and mastering engineer, working in genres such as Avant-garde Classical music and Jazz. As a recent transplant to L.A., Grover now works in the music, video game, and film industries.
He is also actively pursuing a career as an independent musician, composer, and producer. Grover wrote for Innerfidelity and Audiostream, before finding his forever-home at Part-Time Audiophile.