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2012 RMAF Coverage, Part II

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Deadalus Audio and Modwright Instruments room

Deadalus Audio and Modwright Instruments room

See-through of Modwright KWA 150 Signature Edition Amplifier

See-through of Modwright KWA 150 Signature Edition Amplifier

I next looked in on the Daedalus Audio/Modwright Audio room with the Daedalus Ulysses and Bow Speaker System, which I reviewed recently. Lou Hikley was playing some real world, funky music which was refreshing. I’m not so sure the Analysis Speaker folks next door were as appreciative of the subwoofers, however.

The system comprised of Oppo BDP 95 with ModWright ‘Truth’ Mods ($2,995), Elyse DAC (concept design, not yet in production), LS 36.5 Preamp ($9,995) and KWA 150 Signature Edition Power Amplifier ($8,495) drove the Daedalus Orpheus Loudspeakers ($38,500/pr) and BOW (Bass Optimization Woofers; $2,290 each). The system had tremendous dynamic impact and snappy transients, but was a bit strong on the top end. I conjecture the rear firing tweeters against an untreated hotel room wall were to blame. To my ear, the new Orpheus was more immersive than the Ulysses, as would be expected.

Triode Corporation LTD. and Acoustic Zen room with Acoustic Zen Crescendo Speaker

Triode Corporation LTD. and Acoustic Zen room with Acoustic Zen Crescendo Speaker

Triode Corporation TRX-M845SE Monoblock Amplifier

Triode Corporation TRX-M845SE Monoblock Amplifier

A terrific effort, as well as a terrific result, was put forth by Triode Corporation LTD. – Japan and Acoustic Zen. The components were downright bargains relative to their performance; TRV-CD5SE Tube CD Player ($3,200), TRV-DAC 1.0 ($2,499), TRX-1 Tube Preamplifier ($3,200), and TRX-M845SE Monoblock Power Amplifiers ($22,500/pr). The Acoustic Zen Crescendo Speakers are $16K, and Acoustic Zen cabling bringing the system cost to just under $50K. The performance was better than many systems well north of $100K. This was simply a stunning result, and the quality of the sound was obvious.

(Left) Vaughn Cabernet II Speaker; (Right) Vaughn Cabernet II Speaker rear

(Left) Vaughn Cabernet II Speaker; (Right) Vaughn Cabernet II Speaker rear

Wavelength Cardinal 12W 300B SET Mono Amplifiers  I have not historically been a low power/high efficiency man, but a set of components like those in the Wavelength Audio Ltd. and Vaughn Loudspeakers room had me thinking. This was one of the few such systems which truly captivated me, primarily since the lowest octave of bass wasn’t missing, thanks to two 12” passive radiators side mounted on the fairly narrow Vaughn Cabernet II Speakers ($9K/pr) and an older REL Stentor II Subwoofer. From the front, Wavelength Audio supplied a MacBook Pro 15 Retina via USB to either Wavelength Crimson HS with Denominator ($9K) or Cosecant HS with the Denominator ($4K), Wavelength Royal Preamplifier ($7,500) and new Duetto v2 300B Stereo Amplifier ($5K).

This was one of the most engaging high efficiency systems I have heard in recent memory, largely due to the supported bass via the passive radiators, and the line array arrangement of the Vaughn Cabernet II. Considering the line array on the backside of the speakers, to say the sound was spacious would be an understatement! Whereas many systems match speakers and electronics somewhat randomly in terms of design, Gordon Rankin of Wavelength played a big part in the development of the Vaughn Loudspeakers, and the synergy between these products comes through clearly. This was another USB-based system which impressed.

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