Back in 2018, when I first started working at Part-Time Audiophile on a permanent basis as the Managing Editor, I immediately started noticing a whole new group of audio manufacturers that made gear I really, really liked. While spending almost a decade as an importer and distributor, I was often stuck in my own exhibit room and rarely got a chance to wander through the halls and discover new and emerging brands. The first two “new to me” brands I immediately enjoyed were Spatial Audio and Linear Tube Audio.
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
Spatial and LTA made a huge impression on me because they created affordable systems that still easily met my standards for high-end audio sound. At many shows these two brands offered a special deal on the entire system on display. The system usually included ANTICABLES cabling and a LampizatOr DAC for around $10-11K. (The Innuos music server usually wasn’t part of the package.) For me, fresh on the contemporary audio scene, those systems were exciting and newsworthy.
The years have passed, but Spatial Audio and LTA and ANTIWIRES are still building mind-boggling systems for practical audiophiles. A few things have changed–at PAF 2023, the LampizatOr had been replaced by Holo May Audio, but that intimate and smooth sound is still there.
In addition, Spatial Audio brought a smaller pair of speakers than usual–the Q6, which is priced at just $5,000/pr USD. Matched to the LTA Z40 integrated amplifier, the Spatial Audio Q6 maintained the same warm, almost liquid foundation that captured my attention so many years ago. I didn’t get a chance to price out the whole system, and these companies no longer seem to be offering that unbelievable deal they did before the pandemic, but when it comes to gear that “punches above its weight” I think of Spatial Audio Lab and Linear Tube Audio first.