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So far Art Dudley has created 311 blog entries.

Zellaton Reference MkII Speakers, YS Sound Electronics, Reed Turntable, Top Wing Cartridge, Schnerzinger Cabling

By | May 13th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Excellent bass, a somewhat toned-down presentation and somewhat dry midrange, and excellent imaging—the speakers completely disappeared—were the hallmarks of Zellaton Reference Mk II Loudspeakers (2018) (€147,950/pair). As with all our show reports, how much of what I heard was due to electronics previously unknown to me, and whose sound I cannot begin to describe until I hear them in a familiar context, I cannot ascertain.

The 2018 model of Zellaton’s Reference loudspeakers contain Duelund Cast capacitors and inductors with a paper-based dielectric along with Duelund wiring.… Read the full article

Vienna Acoustics Mozart Speakers, Vincent SP-T700 Amplifiers, Pangea Cables

By | May 13th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Given the background noise, it was a little difficult to focus on the music from Yello and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd in the system from Vienna Acoustics and Vincent, but this little system’s ability throw a large, ear-catching ambient soundstage was its strong point. Speakers were the Vienna Acoustics Mozart (€1800/pair). Vincent electronics included (I think) the new DAC-7, which handles up to 32/384 and DSD256 and has a tube output stage, along with the SA-T7 preamp (€2499), SP-T700 mono hybrid amplifier (€1999/each), CD-S7 hybrid CD player (€2199), and PHO-701 phono stage (€649).… Read the full article

Raidho TD1.2 Speakers, Chord Ultima 2 Amplifiers, Pear Audio Blue Turntable, Top Wing Cartridge, Gamut Cabling

By | May 13th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Raidho Acoustics’ new TD1.2 speaker ($24,000/pair), whose unveiling I missed at AXPONA, resurfaced in Munich. Hearing a track from the Ray Brown Trio’s Soular Energy led me to write, in my notebook, “Pretty amazing how well these small speakers create such a big soundstage.” Transparency around solo instruments and percussion was quite exceptional. Save for a touch of dryness, which could have been room-related, this system sounded excellent.

The TD1.2 replaces the D1.1. The only things that remain from the former model are the dimensions and shape of the cabinet.… Read the full article

PMC Does Miles in Dolby Atmos

By | May 13th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Thanks to Michael Fremer, whom I ran into at the MOC while we both waited for the show to open on Day 3, I ended up at a private listening session in the PMC room. There, after Michael pulled out his video camera and engaged in a thorough, only-Michael-would-know-enough-to-ask-such-questions Q&A with PMC’s Maurice Patist—it will appear at—we listened to two revivified tracks from Miles Davis’s iconic Kind of Blue that have been given the full Dolby Atmos surround treatment.

I haven’t spent much time thinking about Dolby Atmos, which I’ve always thought of, perhaps incorrectly, as a process whose application was limited to movies and home theater systems.… Read the full article

Aavik M-300 Amplifiers, Børresen 05 Loudspeakers, Ansuz Cabling

By | May 13th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Having heard at previous shows the pairing of Aavik electronics, Børresen loudspeakers, and Ansuz cabling, I’ve been trying to find language adequate to describe the quality of its earth-rooted bass and midrange. There’s a very special, aged-in-wood component to its bass sound that I find fascinating. Combined with clear highs that, while not shy, are capable of conveying intimacy, the system made Anette Askvik’s “Liberty” compelling listening.

This was the first showing of Ansuz’s forthcoming PowerBox D-TC supreme active cables (€12,000).… Read the full article

Estelon Forza Loudspeakers, Kronos Pro Turntable, Bassocontinuo Racks, Kubala Sosna Cabling

By | May 12th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

The “Ocean Mystery” colored Estelon Forza loudspeaker (€110,000/pair) made quite a statement all by itself. Paired with a Kronos Pro turntable (€37,600) with SCPS1 power supply (€13,500), Black Beauty tonearm (€8400), and ZYX Universe 3 cartridge (€8100); Bassocontinuo racks; Kubala-Sosna Realization cabling; Audes ST-3000 power conditioner (€3900); and Furutech NCF Booster-Signal (€2780), it conveyed electric guitar with natural bite, relayed all instruments except Eugene Istomin’s somewhat tinkly piano on the Reference Recordings’ LP of Mozart Piano Concerto No.21 with natural timbres and a strong midrange, and, on my Channel Classics SACD of the Mahler Symphony No.2, nailed the great expanse and natural timbres of the Budapest Symphony Orchestra.… Read the full article

Vitus SIA-030 Signature Amplifier, Thrax Yatrus Turntable, Schroeder Tonearm, Sculpture A Cartridge, Stillpoints Isolation Devices

By | May 12th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Lovely, smooth sound, fine timbres, and a very large soundstage in the nearfield were the hallmarks of a system that was dominated by Vitus Audio’s brand new, “hardly broken in” SIA-030 Signature integrated amplifier (€35,000). The SIA-030 has a fully regulated power supply for its output stage and a 22kW transformer, and claims 400,000 microfarads capacitance prior to regulation. It operates in two modes, either 30Wpc class-A or 200Wpc class-AB, and has a volume control that adjusts by 0.5dB steps while using only one resistor in series with the signal.… Read the full article

Absolare Passion Amplifier, Rockport Atria Speakers, ReQuest Raptor Plus Server, Echole Cables and AC Conditioner

By | May 11th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Wonderful, truly musical warmth and clarity were the hallmarks of a system built around the Absolare Passion integrated amplifier ($26,500), ReQuest The Raptor Plus music server (1TB version with DAC that handles PCM up to 32/384, and DSD up to 256: $15,900), Rockport Atria speakers ($21,500/pair), Echole Limited Edition Power Center power conditioner ($20,000), and new Echole Infinity cabling ($TBD). On multiple tracks, starting with “Love Man Riding” from Philipp Fankhauser, I was simply and totally seduced by this system’s warm and inviting sound.… Read the full article

Zesto Eros 300 Monoblocks, Merrill-Williams REAL 101.3 Turntable, Verity Amadis S Speakers, Purist Cables, Stillpoints Equipment Supports

By | May 10th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

The big news in this excellent-sounding system was the two new power cables from Purist Audio Design. First was the Purist Diamond Limited Edition AC Power Cable ($6300/1 meter, with an ultimate length of 1.8 tip to tip). Composed of 10-gauge Nano silver, the cable includes a five-stage filter box intended to counteract RMI and EF from outside forces and the internal workings of equipment. Beneath that baby lies Purist’s all-new Diamond Revision Neptune AC Power Cable ($3800/meter), which contains 8-gauge copper wrapped with strands of Nano silver.… Read the full article

Grand Prix Monza Rack, Apertura Enigma MKII Speakers, Kuzma Tonearm, Fuuga Cartridge

By | May 10th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Something really cool happened in the room shared by Grand Prix Audio of the US and Apertura Audio of France. For the first time, I witnessed a rack/support comparison that confirmed for me the importance of both for optimal system performance.

Using a basic Quadraspire rack and Grand Prix Audio’s prototype Monza rack ($18,500), along with Grand Prix’s new and larger Apex XL feet (included with the Monza rack, $1000/set of three for those under gear), Grand Prix’s Alvin Lloyd moved a CH Precision P1 phono stage from the Quadraspire to his forthcoming rack while playing Count Basie’s “Bluesville” on the Grand Prix Monaco v2.0 turntable ($37,500) with Kuzma arm (£8950 including VAT) and Fuuga cartridge (€7200 plus VAT).… Read the full article