Publisher Profile

2012 CAS Coverage, Part VIII

Soundscape/MartinLogan, Angel City Audio/Melody/WyWire, Dared, Audio Note UK, Sonist/deHavilland, Music First Audio, Win Analog/Florence Audio, Burwell & Sons/Pass Labs/Esoteric/JIB-Germany, Loggie Audio/YG Acoustics/Esoteric/Ypsilon/Bryston/Stage III

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Soundscape Audio and Video of Santa Rosa were showing MartinLogan speakers paired with Vincent Audio gear. This to me took a bit of mental adjustment. Seeing the MartinLogan name to me is all about electrostatics. Having been an owner of ML electrostatic speakers from the period of 1987 until just this past May, it was a bit disconcerting to see not the familiar line-up of curvy transparent panels, but instead a pair of svelte black box towers and a gorgeous pair of box satellite speakers on dedicated stands. In this case, the Motion 20 ($1,500pr.) and Motion LX16 ($800pr.) speakers. These speakers do not have electrostatic drivers but instead they sport MartinLogan’s own interpretation of the legendary Heil Air Motion Transformer; the folded motion driver in MartinLogan-speak. Having been a recent convert from electrostatics to an Air Motion Transformer-based speaker, I certainly have no reason to judge this departure from electrostatics. To my ears, the Motion 20’s and Motion LX16’s both earned their MartinLogan nameplate. A MartinLogan Dynamo 700 subwoofer was also in the mix delivering the all-important subterranean notes.

Soundscape Audio

Electronics employed were the K-35 tube integrated amplifier and stable mate C-35 tube CD player from Vincent Audio.


Melody Valve HiFi and Angel City Audio were producing some sweet sounds in their room with the Melody 845 ($8,000/pr), 21 watt monoblocks and Melody P2688 linestage ($6999). These were running via Spiritual Audio’s new top of the line power supply, the VX-12 ($9,995) via the WyWires Blue powercords (starting at $249). You will be hearing much more from me regarding Spiritual Audio’s power conditioning products as Bill Glenn of Spiritual Audio has graciously accepted an invitation for review. Also I will be evaluating the WyWires Blue powercords from this very room since Alex Sventitsky has also submitted these babies for review.

Melody Valve HiFi and Angle City Audio

The speakers were the excellent Angel City Audio Trinity speakers. Overall the system had an excellent inviting clean sound with good imaging and suprising few issues with the bass. Their on-the-fly treatments in the room proved to actually be effective in eliminating the demon.

Melody Valve HiFi and Angle City Audio

Next up in the “How Cool is That?” category, is the Dared/Sonist room. They were showing a system and products that I can comfortably describe as some of the greatest deals in HiFi. Supplying the sound was a Dared DT-99 USB DAC being fed by an iPad, PA-99 amplifier that produces 50wpc, and EF-99 class A tube preamplifier. This front end was feeding excellent Sonist Concierto2 ($2495/pr.) and Concierto 3 ($3495/pr) speakers. The sound was warm, rich and yes, occasionally tubey but overall pretty darned amazing for the money (though didn’t write down the actual prices, I noted in my notes that the DAC, Pre, and Amp were all under $2k total!).


Also, way up in the “How Cool is That?” factor, was the Retro Dreams Dared RD-1 Vacuum Tube Digital Radio. I return three time to this room just to hear this little baby. It’s a stereo FM table radio that sports 3 tubes, and stereo line inputs as well as Bluetooth, and even a remote control. With a price of $499 and sound that was pretty darned impressive for what it was, what’s not to like? If they hadn’t sold out at the show I may have been tempted to bring one of those babies home with me.

Retro Dreams Dared RD-1 Vacuum Tube Digital Radio

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