The Eficion/Plinius Room was hosted by the ever-gracious Peigen Jiang. As you may recall, it was a year ago at CAS 2011 when I first heard the exquisite sound of the Eficion F300 and subsequently fell in love with them. This year, the room was a bit more challenging. The F300’s did not sound anywhere near as good as they do in my home. Of course, it did take me a good six months or so to really get them dialed in to my room. That said, the room was still sounding quite good. I guess I am being a bit hard on them since I know what they are capable of. Challenges with acoustics abounded as the bass and imaging were a bit off. They were powered by Plinius SA-103 Power Amplifiers running in monoblock operation and M8 Preamplifier, as was the case last year. Source was a Pioneer disc player and a computer audio player.
New (to me) was the white lacquer finish on the F300’s. I have to say that, much like the way I feel about the white lacquer finishes on the MBL, I just simply don’t get it. I personally would take black lacquer or the beautiful Rosewood any day of the week.
One of the first of the big ballrooms I visited was the Legacy Audio/Ayon Room. This room was easily one of the most crowded throughout the weekend. Also, it may have been the loudest! On tap were 3 systems that showcased the Legacy Audio speakers, Ayon electronics and speakers, and AVM electronics.
First of these was the Legacy Whisper XD System. This room did not seemed to be plagued by the bass nodes as some of the other rooms. Blessed with speed, dynamics, and imaging, this system was sounding better than I had heard it in other recent shows.
On the adjacent wall: the Legacy Focus HD system with all Ayon Electronics. I was unable to make it back to hear this system in action which actually is a shame. The Focus HD has become probably my favorite of the lineup. Also on hand was yet another system with Ayon Electronics paired with a pair of gorgeous Ayon speakers. Which I also was unable to listen to since the focus of the crowd was clearly on the Whisper XD System.
George and Carolyn Counnas of Zesto Audio teamed up with the ever-gracious and hospitable Alex and Nina Sventitsky of Wywires in a room that sported one of the best sounds of the show.
On hand was the newly released Zesto Audio Leto linestage ($7,500), cosmetically the twin companion to the Andros PS1 phono stage ($3,990). I’m happy to report that you will be reading much more about this wonderful new product from designer George Counnas on these pages in the coming months.
Rounding out the front-end and electronics was a Gamut D200 power amplifier ($6,000), Merrill Williams R.E.A.L. 101 turntable ($7,200), Triplanar tonearm (5,800), and Dynavector XX2 MKII phono cartridge ($1,985). Cabling was Wywires Silver Series RCA interconnects($1,399), Gold Series Balanced ($1,599), and Gold and Silver phono cables ($1,199), and Wywires Juice II Silver power cords with ATL copper NEMA and IEC ends ($399). The equipment rack is by Steven Blinn Designs.
Wywires speaker cables ended the connection path directly to the superb TAD CR1 monitor speakers sitting atop their dedicated stands.
There was also a Lindemann DAC and a laptop running J River software on hand. Still, the analog system was sounding superb and the system as a whole was a real treat for extended listening. Needless to say I probably overstayed my welcome here as I kept returning almost every few hours each day. There was always fresh vinyl on hand as this room had become the stop of choice for serious local vinylphiles to come and spin their own vinyl.
The next listening in this year’s CAS journey was the Electrocompaniet room. This Lobby-level room proved to be a great treat as Peder Beckman of Electrocompaniet was playing a Direct-from-Master tape from the Tape Project on an overhauled Otari open reel machine. Needless to say the sound was exquisite. The rest of the front-end equipment on hand included the Electrocompaniet 4.8 fully balanced linestage ($5,129), Electrocompaniet EMC-UP1 cd player ($7,290)
Rounding out this fine sounding system were the excellent Electrocompaniet Nordic Tone speakers ($31,500) and Electrocompaniet AW250R power amplifier. Though well outside of my price range, I can say with some level of certainty that ever since first hearing them in CAS 2010, the Nordic Tone would easily make my personal short list at their price. Each time I hear them, just serves to re-confirm that assertion.
In a room adjoining Electrocompaniet was Bernd Gruhn of Brodmann Acoustics. The Viennese company known primarily for their musical instruments, were showing their exquisitely built VC-1 and VC-7 acoustic active speaker systems. Equipment was furnished by Electrocompaniet throughout and cables were provided by MIT. These speakers, particularly the smaller VC-1 were admirably dynamic, fast, and developed an image and room-filling volume that simply cannot be believed from a speaker of this size.
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