Channel D / Merrill Audio / TAD
Merrill Wettasinghe of Merrill Audio and Rob Robinson of Channel D were on hand. Rob was “spinning” some excellent-sounding “Pure Vinyl.” This room overall was a real treat to the ears. The system included the superb Merrill Audio Veritas monoblocks (which I reviewed earlier this year), the TAD Evolution 1 speakers, and ANAP X1 cables also by Merrill Audio. The amplifiers did a wonderful job on the TAD’s. The sound in the room was richly detailed with superb bass control and nicely layered images. The Veritas amplifiers clearly demonstrated the same sort of magic on the TAD’s as they did on my Eficion 300’s. Also interesting to note is fact that the Channel D front-end was quite impressive. On several occasions I found it very obvious when the digitized vinyl was recorded from different turntable/cartridge combination! That speaks highly as to the quality of the Channel D Pure Vinyl process. This was one of my favorite rooms.
MIT’s room showcased both the entry level Styline Series Cables as well top of the line Oracle MA-X cables in a system comprised of the diminutive Magico Q1’s, Spectral electronics, phono “blocks” by Ron Sutherland, and the AMG Viela turntable equipped with a Benz cartridge. Though unfamiliar with the music, I must say that the sound in this room was outstanding. I recall hearing the Q1’s on other occasions and never being as impressed. This is likely due to the purpose-tuned $100,000+ MIT Oracle MA-X interfaces.
NOLA / Audio Research
NOLA showcased their Metro Grand Reference Gold loudspeakers with all Audio Research gear including the Ref 75 amplifier, Ref 10 preampifier, and CD-8 player. Cables throughout were Nordost. This room had a very warm sound. Poor room acoustics seemed to have gotten in the way of attaining good imaging however.
Lawrence Audio had their unconventional and beautiful $28,000 “Double Bass” speaker system. These speakers have always been of interest since the Air Motion (Aero Striction) drivers employed in this design are the same Aurum Cantus units as in my Eficion F300’s (just more of them). Rounding out the system were the huge two chassis Rowland 825 power amplifier and Aeris DAC, Bryston BDP-1 player and Nordost cables throughout. The sound produced was huge,powerful, detailed and nicely layered.
Aesthetix / Focal
A local dealer, APEX, was showing the excellent Focal Scala V2 Utopia speakers. These were fed by a full complement of Aesthetix’s gear including the Romulus player, Callisto Eclipse linestage and phono, and Atlas monoblocks. Source was a Clearaudio turntable with Graham Phantom Supreme tonearm and Clearaudio Goldfinger phono cartridge. Cables were once again all Nordost. The sound was clean, dynamic and richly voiced. I always come away pleased after hearing rooms that feature Focal speakers, which seem to have a sonic signature that I am drawn to.
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