Publisher Profile

Aaudio Imports/Musical Artisans, February 2009 Chicago Event

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Editor’s Note: Brian Ackerman of Aaudio Imports is not a strange face to readers of Dagogo. This time, the president of the U.S. distributorship has taken to the roads again, and this time he traveled to the land of the stinking onion in his trusted Land Rover-ful of audio gear. Dagogo Senior Reviewer Ed Momkus reports.

I had the good fortune to be invited to a special in-home showcase of audio systems at the home of Ricardo Reyes, proprietor of Musical Artisans, a Chicago high-end audio dealership. The invitation came to me via Brian Ackerman, President of Aaudio Imports, importer of a wide range of high-end and ultra high-end audio equipment, such as Lindemann, Einstein, Raidho, Acapella, Isoclean, Stage III and Ypsilon. The event spanned 3 days, from Friday February 6th through Sunday February 8th. I attended for several hours on both the 6th and the 7th.

When I got there I was very happy to see three “real-world” setups. Oh sure, Ricardo has some nice acoustic treatments in his home, but the emphasis here was on the systems and their capabilities in a normal home environment. One system was in a separate, small dining room area, one system was in the living room and one in the entertainment room. The speakers were all positioned slightly away from the walls, but not 5-7 feet out like you might see in a large dedicated listening room. In short, they were showing how these systems perform in the type of environment that the vast majority of listeners have to deal with in their own homes.

All three sets of speakers were by Raidho, a brand I had never had the opportunity to audition. The smallest/least expensive was the 2-way Eben X-Baby MK2 monitor, the next up was the Ayra C1.0 2-way monitor and the third was the Ayra C3.0 3-way floorstander. Even though I’m a full-range floorstander kind of guy, I deliberately started with the smallest system, just to see how it sounded on its own merits without comparison to the largest/most expensive system. I spent considerable time with it and found it very easy to like. In short, it sounded great, exhibiting both detail and delicacy while producing surprising bass. More specifically, the system consisted of the following:

Raidho Eben X-Baby MK2 speakers
Lindemann 882 Integrated Amp
Isoclean 80A3 power filter
Isoclean Super Focus power cord (80A3)
Isoclean TT-009, tiptoes and base, set/4
Isoclean RF Isolator, set/4
Stage III Gryphon, 1.5m RCA Interconnects (Phono Stage – Integrated Amp)
Stage III Vortex Prime, 2m power cord (882)
Acapella High LaMusika speaker cables, 2.5m spades

I then moved to the “mid-size” system, which consisted of the following:

Raidho Ayra C1.0 speakers
Einstein The Source CD Player
Einstein The Tube Preamp
Einstein The Light In The Dark Stereo Power Amp
Isoclean PT303OG III Isolation Transformer
Isoclean 80A3 Power Filter
2 Isoclean Super Focus Power Cords
Isoclean TT-009 Tiptoes, set/4
Isoclean RF Isolator, set/4
Stage III Gryphon, 1.5m RCA Interconnect (Cd – Preamp)
Stage III Gryphon, 1.5m XLR Interconnect (Preamp -Amplifier)
Stage III Zyklop, 2m Power Cord (The Source)
2 Acapella High LaMusika AC-L Power Cords (The Tube & The Light In The Dark)
Acapella High LaMusika Speaker Cables, 3.0m spades
Acapella High LaMusika, 1.5m XLR Interconnects (Extra Cables)
3 Acapella Puck sets @ 3/set (Einstein)
3 Millennium M-Block 8055 Tuning Weight

The Raidho Ayra C1.0 didn’t seem that much bigger than the EbenX-Baby Mk2, but it sure sounded bigger, with bass that sounded more natural, real and extended than many speakers that are larger with bigger woofers. I thought that the Einstein electronics made them sound especially beguiling, supplying that tube depth and dimensionality we all crave while driving the speakers superbly, both during ethereal vocal passages and staccato bass notes.

I then wandered into the entertainment room and was greeted by the third system:

▼Raidho C3.0

▼Lindemann 820S SACD player

▼Lindemann 830 preamplifier

▼Lindemann 855 stereo power amplifier

▼Stage III “Gryphon” XLR

▼Stage III “Zyklop” power cable

▼Stage II “Vortex Prime” power cable

Raidho Ayra C3.0 speakers
Lindemann 820S Super Audio CD Player
Lindemann 830 Preamp
Lindemann 855 power amp
Isoclean PT303OG III Isolation Transformer
Isoclean 80A3 filter
Isoclean TT-009, tiptoe and base, set/4
Isoclean RF Isolator, set/4
2 Stage III Gryphon 1.5m XLR Interconnects (Cd-Preamp & Preamp Amplifier)
2 Stage III Zyklop 2m power cords (820S & 855)
Stage III Vortex Prime power cord 2m (830)
Acapella High LaMusika Speaker Cables, 3.0m spades
3 Acapella Bases, 21×16
3 Acapella Puck sets 3/set

I really liked the other systems, but I’m a big speaker maniac, especially when I saw that it was driven by all-Lindemann electronics. I became especially excited because I had just reviewed the Lindemann 820S just a few months ago and was so impressed that I mentioned to Brian Ackerman my desire to check out more Lindemann equipment. Well, now I had my chance.

I brought a few random CDs to play, but I had not known what to expect, so my variety was limited. I swore to bring a few more CDs which would offer more appropriate tests for the “big” system.

Before leaving on Friday I went back to the Ayra C1.0/Einstein system, a teed up Ellen McEvoy’s “Yola”. Part way through, either Brian or Ricardo asked if I use any CD treatment. Of course I do – I’m a dedicated audiophile! I told them that I have tried virtually every treatment and clearly preferred Walker’s Ultra Vivid. They asked if the disc I was playing was treated and would I consider trying a treatment on it. I figured, what the hell, and gave Brian the disc. It took him all of 20 seconds to apply the treatment twice (about 1/8th the time it takes to apply two coats of the Walker Vivid) and another 10 seconds to recognize a clear and obvious improvement. I tried it on another CD with the same results. When I came back the next day I brought money and bought two bottles – but more on that in another article.

I came back the next day loaded for the Ayra C3.0/Lindemann/Isoclean/Stage III/Acapella system. I was not going to leave a stone unturned, with particular emphasis on the bass which had been so fast and effortless yet full on my brief listen the day before. I won’t go into detail about all the music that was played and evaluated, other than to say that I don’t think I’ve ever heard “Happy Feeling” by Earth, Wind and Fire or “Big Sky Country” by Chris Whitley played any better than on this system.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable time, complete with listening to incredible systems, new music and talking to music lovers and audiophiles of all persuasions who came to the event and shared freely of their music and equipment preferences while on the common road to audio nirvana, all in Skokie IL. Many thanks to Brian Ackerman

of Aaudio Imports and Ricardo Reyes of Musical Artisans. If you’re a Chicago guy, you will not go wrong if you contact Ricardo at (847) 877-2791 and ask for a consultation on your system. If you’d like to know more about Lindemann, Einstein, Raidho, Acapella, Isoclean, Stage III and Ypsilon (along with other brands) contact Brian Ackerman at (720) 851-2525 or go to www.aaudioimports.com. This is some of the most amazing audio stuff on the planet.

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