Best Sound of Show
Now, to the fun stuff. And by fun, I mean, don't take this too seriously. You all know the drill--show conditions and objectivity divided by little time per room (400) and exhaustion do not make the best bedfellows. Take it all in the spirit it's offered.
One thing's for sure, the choices are from the discussions of three sets of ears. And we don't lie to each other and we don't lie to you.
First, an apology. Even though we had three people covering for four full days over three real time platforms, we could not visit every room. We heard nothing but great things about the quality of your gear and the way in which it was set up.
That said, we loved these rooms for the great sound, covering all the audiophiles wants, but also were intensely musical. And not just in a typical cantabile style, but profound and moving with layers, subtlety and nuance.
The following is a precis of our discussions.
Audio by Van Alstine was playing an exceptional DAC (MK 5) with incredible string sound for USD$ 1800! A big deal played through Alta Audio's 32G Hestia Loudspeakers.
The Aavik Acoustics/Ansuz Acoustics (cables) /Raidho Acoustics (speakers) room was stunning. Detail and the most wonderfully musical timbres. We're hoping to get the Aavik integrated Amplifier (U-150 USD$ 12,000) in for review soon.
Audiopathways had the Avantegarde Acoustic UNO Loudspeakers USD$32,000 with Phasemation electronics and cart and Bergmann Audio Galder Turntable playing Robert Silverman’s new Chopin LP. Superlative in every way, so sayeth the pianist (his best in show). A stunning room.
Best? An easy choice this year, and agreed upon by the three of us. The room featuring Tidal Audio, the Cologne, Germany-based company that manufactures exceptional speakers and electronics. The system cost almost half a million dollars. It should be wonderful and it was and much more. The three of us at different times were musically gobsmacked. The damn system almost ruined the rest of the show for us. Yes, that insanely good. Never heard better in my 20 years with Audiophilia.
The room was set up by distributor Doug White of The Voice That Is. Great job!
Tidal Audio (TA) Akira Loudspeaker 215K
TA Presencio Pre 77.6K
TA Ferios monos 67.9K
TA Camira DAC 28.5K
Antipodes Audio DX Gen 3 Music Server 7.7K (up to 17.2K)