Now Listen Here, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania dealer located at the edge of several bedroom communities that serve the I-95 corridor between Washington, DC and Philadelphia proper, showed large at Capital Audio Fest 2021. Three exhibit rooms in total, each showcasing a system for a different level of customer, commitment, and good ole’ audiophile insanity. The smallest of those exhibit rooms contained a breathtakingly simple system from Joseph Audio, Bel Canto, VPI Industries, and Transparent.
This was an exhibit room I visited three times over the long weekend. The benefit of having a smaller show is having a sliver of more available time to visit those special rooms more than once. The reason this exhibit was special is in the system attributes: compact, full-featured, and excellent sounding.
Starting with the Joseph Audio Pulsar2 Graphene loudspeakers, the latest iteration of an already modern iconic in loudspeaker, the Pulsar2 Graphene is a two-way stand-mount monitor that features the same tweeter found in the upstream Joseph Audio Pearl3 floorstander, mated here to the latest Graphene coated Magnesium cone mid-woofer. Everything is premium on the little-monitor-that-could, right down to the Cardas binding posts around back.
Handling pretty much everything else in the system was the yet to be iconic Bel Canto e1X integrated amplifier, with built in DAC, streamer, and phono stage. The e1X is an advanced integrated amplifier that embodies the lessons of simplicity found in the e.One series, and directly borrows technology and philosophy from the more upscale Black EX and Black series. Offering a healthy 200 watts of total output power at 8-Ohms. The simple black box from Bel Canto isn’t messing around.
I’ve heard Joseph Audio Pulsars play well with 25 watt tube amplifiers, and I’ve heard Pulsars play with 300 watts of solid state — at each end of the spectrum, success. The Pulsar2 and e1X’s aforementioned simplicity played its role. While the pairing stood more forward in presentation and more intimidating than most offerings elsewhere at the price. The combination of power and dynamics, along with a slightly more focused upper mid-range, made this simple system ideal for both music and cinematic dialog.
Truth be told, one can’t go wrong with Joseph Audio’s plays-well-with-others attitude towards speaker design. So if you own a pair or are looking to buy, do have fun trying out different amplifier topologies and power ratings. The possibilities are near endless, as your dealer might agree.
Joseph Audio Pulsar2 Graphene – $8,999
Bel Canto e1X Integrated Amplifier – $8,000
VPI Industries Prime 21 Turntable – $5,000
Transparent PowerWave Conditioner – $1,995
Transparent Super Cables (Gen 6)
- speaker – $2,000
- phono – $850
- power – $625
For more Capital Audio Fest 2021 coverage—CLICK HERE!