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2009 CES & T.H.E Show Coverage 14

Special Coverage: An Evening with Cole and Ania of Nawrocka Dst.

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We were all young once, but we never had the drive and ambitions of one Cole Hatfield of Nawrocka Distribution, U.S. Importer of Aaron Electronics, Neeper Acoustics (loudspeakers) and Sovereign system (electronics, loudspeakers). The word “Nawrocka” is the maiden name of Cole’s beautiful wife, Ania, who he met in her homeland of Poland. Think of Michelle Pfeiffer and Natashi Henstridge, and she will pale them in person. He personifies brilliance, and she has the class. What a young couple. I wish Nawrocka success.

▼Top shelf: Sovereign Glory solid-state power amplifier ($17,000), Ypsilon CDT-100 CD player/transport.

▲Middle shelf: Aaron No.3 Millennium 2-channel amplifier ($3,500, 100Wpc/8Ω, 550Wpc/1Ω), Aaron No. 22 Cineast 5.1-ready preamplifier ($3,500).
Lower shelf: Aaron No.1a integrated amplifier ($5,000, 95Wpc/8Ω, 250Wpc/2Ω).

Neeper Perfection One▼

The only other Exhibit on the same floor as the Magnepan one, Nawrocka demonstrated the latest Neeper Perfection One loudspeaker system. Neeper Acoustics is the brainchild of another young man, a Kim Neeper Rasmussen, who also designed the GamuT L5 before founding his own company. Sporting an 87dB/4Ω sensitivity, the Perfection One was not an easy speaker to drive but obviously a non-issue for the 250Wpc/8Ω, 1,000Wpc/1Ω Sovereign Glory stereo amplifier. Dagogoans Fred Crowder and Doug Schroeder were there with me, and the Neeper managed to cover the center 3 spots with fairly uniform sonic impressions. Bottom-end was phenomenal for such a modest-sized floorstander, and all three of us were taken by the exclamation-mark-like construct of the Neeper.

In the founding of Neeper Acoustics, Kim sold many of his personal belongings to amass the necessary finance. It was a dream come true, and a story that many of us can identify with.

One of us cracked a joke, and the laughter of Ania just made our day.

▼A munching Doug Schroeder (left) and an attentive Fred Crowder (right).

The evening didn’t end there.

At around 10:30pm, Cole packed up the Ypsilon CD player/transport and drove Fred and I to the Rockport/Ypsilon Suite at the Venetian. The room was packed, whereas we had hoped for an empty room at the hour. The speakers in action were the Rockport Aquila ($44.5k/pair), driven by the $90k Ypsilon SET-100 monoblocks. In a direct comparison, between playback via a MSB music server ($7k) and the accompanying MSB DAC ($17k) and the Ypsilon CDT-100, I thought the MSB system accorded impressive textural smoothness, coupled with couch-shaking bottom-end. What the Ypsilon CDT-100 brought to the experience was a livelier tonal balance.

In any case, the SET-100/Aquila system yielded incredibly rich spatial cues and 3-dimensionality. Probably even more impressive was the system’s dynamic transient, the kind that offered some of the most lifelike transient attacks, conjuring the expeditiousness of a live event. There seemed to be vast dynamic headroom in the sonic makeup of the system, as the surges of transients as produced by coordinated shouts from the supporting choir were resplendent with raw force and natural dynamics.

Though a 3-way speaker, the Rockport Aquila’s front baffle housed only the 1-inch Ring Radiator tweeter and the 6-inch Audiotechnology custom composite midrange, with the huge, 13-inch woofer on the side. Minimization of the front baffle was thus achieved fantastically. There is an armada of 3-way speakers that look more or less the same, and then there is the Aquila. The sheer physical aspects of the Rockport was enough to impress upon any visitor of its seriousness; the Rockports looked seriously more refined in person than in pictures.

▲Front row (Left to Right): unknown, Kim Neeper Rasmussen, Dagogoans Fred Crowder and Constantine Soo.
Upper row: Ania, Dagogoan Norm Luttbeg and associate.

▼Ypsilon SET-100 hybrid monoblocks on left and right; SET-100 VS dual-mono tube stereo amplifier in the middle.

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