Publisher Profile

Aaudio Imports at Dana Point, CA

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The Wilson Benesch Eminence towers are the current flagship of the UK speaker manufacturer’s product lines, which comprises some thirteen speakers spread over the Geometry Series and the Precision Series. The Eminence is from the Geometry Series, which alone is consisted of ten models. After an hour or so of initial auditioning, Brian toiled under my requests of repositioning the 300-pound speakers incrementally until they were spaced four feet from their back panels to the front wall, five feet from the center of each tweeter to the side walls, nine feet apart to each other with full toe-in and the listening chair positioned ten feet away. This was the distance at which the drivers of the Eminence exhibited the most cunning of feats: sounding like one, cohesive driver!

Six and a half feet tall but less than a foot wide, the Eminence physique is unique and chic. The narrow baffle is to minimize surface diffraction that subtracts from the design goal of attaining the highest precision in reproduction of music, although such slim profile also limits the size of drivers suitable. The result is a custom ten-driver system fabricated completely in-house and from scratch, in which nine of them are proprietary seven-inch drivers, and no less than eight of these drivers are delegated to reproducing the bass.

Driving the 320-pound colossus was a pair of the 209-lb, $93,000 Ypsilon Hyperion Hybrid monoblocks, delivering 650 watts per block into 4 ohms! No other Ypsilon amplification offers higher outputs, and the Hyperion is quite possibly the only option for readers seeking the ultimate in hybrid amplification prowess and refinement. The company’s own 55-lb, $74,000 PST100 MKII SE Valve Preamp drove the Hyperion from signals decoded by the Ypsilon DAC1000 SE Multi-Format Valve DAC. The “SE” designation means “Silver Edition,” indicating the use of silver wound transformers, silver internal wiring and connectors, plus a few additional refinements, according to Brian. I reviewed the previous, Redbook-only DAC100 in 2010 and I wrote, “Whereas one always gives up certain aspects of sound for the others in every component choice he makes, for the first time, I can have extreme audiophile parameters fulfilled and yet not giving up that intangible and elusive living sound. The Ypsilon has shown me that music listening through a high-end audio system is not just about realism, it can also be about ravishing inside music itself.” (See Review) The prospect of the DAC 100 SE tickles the mind.

After two-days of extended auditioning, I found the Aaudio Imports system’s extraordinary power of detail resolution was at once apparent, depicting instrument timbre and tonality magnificently, imparting a sound eminently musical and detailed. In particular, the Wilson Benesch Eminence produced a wall of sound in pristine, articulate tonality and supreme driver coherency. Throughout the years I had witnessed lofty attempts by quite a few speaker manufacturers in creating a line source utilizing columns of small drivers. While the endeavors were admittedly exhaustive, spectral coherency from such columns was never the trump card. This is the first time I have heard this level of tonal coherency and resolution in a speaker, and the cost of achieving this is inevitably astronomical. The Aaudio Import system truly belongs in homes and even recording studios where musicality and resolution of the highest caliber is vital. It is, after all, a $788,700 system:


Aurender (South Korea)

  • W20SE Music Server ($22,000)

Ypsilon (Greece)

  • PST100 MKII SE Valve Preamp ($74,000)
  • DAC 1000 SE Multi-Format Valve DAC ($49,000)
  • Hyperion Hybrid Mono Amps ($93,000)

Wilson Benesch (UK)

  • Eminence ($235,000)

Stage III (USA)

  • (1 pair) Gorgon Interconnects, 1.5m XLR ($10,650)
  • (1 pair) Typhon Interconnects, 6.5m XLR ($16,600)
  • (1 pair) Cerberus Speaker Cables, 3.0m ($56,400)
  • (1 set) Cerberus Speaker Jumpers, 8 inch ($2,900)
  • (1 unit) Xphynx Digital Link, 1.5m USB ($8,500)
  • (1 unit) Chimaera Digital Link, 1.5m RCA ($6,750)
  • (4 units) Leviathan Power Cord, 2.0m $19,000 ($76,000)
  • (1 unit) Proteus Power Cord, 2.0m ($15,900)
  • (2 units) Kraken Power Cord, 2.0m $11,200 ($22,400)

Power Distribution
HB Cable Design

  • (2 units) PowerSlave Marble MKII Power Distributor $18,500 ($37,000)

Equipment Racks
Wilson Benesch (UK)

  • (1 unit) R1 Carbon Rack, 3 level ($25,500)
  • (2 units) R1 Carbon Amp Stand $8,500 ($17,000)

Room Treatment
Acoustic Geometry (USA)

  • Pro Room Pack 10 ($8,700)

Stacore (Poland)

  • (5sets) CLD Footers, sets of 3 $900 ($4,500)

Isoclean (Hong Kong)

  • Zero Ohm Breaker Panel ($6,900)

Total system ($788,700)

During my stay, the September daytime temperature of the city reached 103 degrees while Dana Point remained at a comfortable 85 due to the ocean breeze. We drove 3.6 miles down to San Clemente, a local getaway the next town over, and enjoyed open-space Belgian cuisine on the beautiful and bustling Avenida Del Mar, hellish parking during Labor Day weekend notwithstanding. The Wilson Benesch turntable is set to debut in 2021, and I must return again.

Additional pictures:



Copy editor: Dan Rubin


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