Damon Gramont of Bricasti Design, the company known for the “gold standard” in pro-audio reverb, is (still) kicking ass in hi-fi.
Words and Photos by Scot Hull
I can no longer recall how/when I was introduced to this brand, but long-time readers will remember our fascination with the M1 digital audio converter (reviewed here). Ye olde Publisher used a dipped-in-gold version for years (reviewed here). In short, the brand has served as our professional reference — our own “gold standard”.
This year, Bricasti upgraded the M1 to the new Series 2 spec. This update includes a new “MDx processor, new higher current twin linear power supplies with larger performance capacitors, all fit into a handcrafted chassis milled from solid aluminum that stands taller in size fitted with the same M1SE feet as standard.”
I got to see it first-hand here in AXPONA — and the first thing that leapt out at me was the new display. The old Bricasti red LEDs are gone — there’s now color! And while red is still an option, it’s pretty clear at a glance that the new display is giving Bricasti the chance to share a lot more information at-a-glance (no more barreling through menus), which has got to be welcome.
Also at AXPONA, a pair of new or newly-tweaked boxes, including the updated M21 (shown here as a Platinum Edition — $19,000). All the “party tricks” from the new M1S2 are here too, but with some tweaks. Including a high-quality pure analog volume control, which allows for some very interesting signal path options. Above and beyond the standard delta-sigma conversion, the M21 adds a user-selectable ladder DAC path, and also an auto-sensing direct native DSD path. And the Platinum finish is SHINY.
Directly below the M21 was the new M20 linestage ($12,500). This box has a beefier version of the analog section taken from the M12. The finish on that box is the new “Argento”. Damon described the finish, shown with the black knobs and buttons, as a “photo negative” of the finish on the M1S2. It looks fantastic.
A pair of familiar-to-me M28 mono blocks ($30,000/pair) hulked at the bottom of the rack.
Flanking the rack were a (also familiar to me!) pair of Piano G2 loudspeakers from Tidal Audio of Germany, shown here in inky piano-black.
Room treatments came courtesy of ASC. All cabling was in-house Bricasti.
In full disclosure, I happen to own a pair of Tidal G2 speakers, driven by the big M28 monos, so this room was “in my wheelhouse”, as it were. That said, I hope you’ll forgive me when I say that the sound in this room was elegant, refined, and balanced. I would have hoped for a larger room, of course, one where those magnificent speakers could be pulled further apart, but hotel rooms are what they are. Nevertheless, I was thrilled with the detail, the nuance, and the depth this system was effortlessly displaying. I was struck, as I’ve been struck (many) times before, by how natural this combination of gear sounds. Probably why I bought it. Ha!
The plan is explore the new M1S2 this year, perhaps in concert with the M20 — so stay tuned for that.
To Damon: once again, excellent work!
If you would like to hear even more coverage from AXPONA 2023, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.
Also don’t forget to check out our collaboration to commemorate the event with our solid bronze record weight available only for a limited run. This 800 grams of solid bronze features the PTA roundel on the top with also acts as a 45 adapter. You can purchase direct from the PTA Approved Store here on the site.
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