Publisher Profile

AKFest 09 Coverage 7

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The May Audio room showcased the Harmonix Reimyo CDT-777CD transport ($11,000) and DAP-999EX DAC ($9,000), a Mastersound 300 BSE amplifier ($6,100, 12wpc), ASW Genius 400 ($5,400 pair, 93dB/8Ω) speaker system as anchored by GutWire MaxCon Extreme AC line conditioner.

I should know the sound of 300B amplifications as put forth by the Mastersound 300 BSE for I reviewed and owned several $10k+ designs, including the Harmonix Reimyo PAT-777, and although I am not familiar with the ASW speakers, I was of the belief that it was the Combak Harmonix Reimyo system that imparted much of the spectral finesse and resolution. I also owned the company’s DAP-777 before, and I know well the peerless virtues of the JVC K2 processing; of this I think that the DAP-999EX was probably the best product in the Harmonix Reimyo line.

Note the GutWire Notepad2 atop the Harmonix Reimyo transport.

Herbert of GutWire demonstrated a $45 EMI/RFI absorption accessory named “NotePad2”, which was a pouch for placement atop electronics and amplifier transformers, containing “specially formulated cellulose high polymer gel to absorb vibration, unwanted resonance, EMI and RFI”. At the show, when one such NotePad2 was put on top of the Harmonix Reimyo CDT-777 CD transport, there was noticeable increase in spatial clarity, giving instruments stronger presence. Lifespan of the pouch is three to five years.

In the first few moments I sat down to listen to the Bamberg Series 5 TMW loudspeaker system ($8,275 pair, 83dB/8Ω) I did not think the Bamberg system, as complimented by the Pioneer Elite CD player, the ModWright LS 36.5 balanced tube linestage ($4,995), ModWright KWA 150 solid-state stereo amplifier ($5,995; $5,295 introductory pricing), the Slim Devices Transporter and the PS Audio Power Plant Premier ($2,199), was as impressive as some other speakers its size, until I heard it play my favorite piano solo by Evgeny Kissin, and the piano sound had the most fluidity at the show. I could listen to my entire piano solo collection with the Bamberg.

▲Bamberg Series 5 TMW speakers: 150lb each, powered subwoofers, external crossover boxes, 18Hz ~ 20kHz, -3dB.

As the music on my demo CD progressed, I started to become more and more aware of the fluidity in texturing. Addictive sound. Dynamics on jazz and symphonic tracks was also outstanding. Power conditioning is important, and the ModWright tube linestage surely contributed to the listenability of the system. Still, I can’t help but wonder what if they were using more superior loudspeaker cables…

▲Top to Bottom, left to right:
▪ModWright KWA 150, 150wpc (dual-mono, bridgeable); Pioneer Elite CD player; ModWright LS 36.5 DM, 2-box (balanced, external dual mono tube rectified and regulated power supply); Slim Devices Transporter; PS Audio Power Plant Premier ($2,199)

The Tyler Acoustics room was a much larger one among Suite Exhibitors, hence a farther listening space was possible. For the company’s Decade D10 Tower ($11,500 pair, 90dB/8Ω, 230lb each), the space was mandatory.

Within that space, the speaker didn’t seem to be adversely affected by its close proximity to the front wall, although one does ponder the outcome if the speakers were 5 feet out. Still, considering the size of the towers and the limitations of the room, I was surprised to find the bottom-end very well controlled with definition and transients. As driven by the McIntosh MA6600 integrated amplifier, the top-to-bottom coherency was of demonstration caliber. At $11,000 the pair, the TYler Acoustics ought to be a best seller. The turntable was a VPI Scoutmaster II, with a Denon 103R cartridge and a Bel Canto Phono 3. Digital playback was via the McIntosh 851 DVD/CD player.

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