Most educational audition you ever had?

What's your experience? Not what was the best preamp or amp or speaker you heard, but what audition changed your pre-conceived notions of audio in one audition, for better or worse? What was the most educational? Where, when, what, and why.
I've had the pleasure to audition various pieces of audio equipment for the last 25 years or so at dealer showrooms, audio shows, and fellow audiophiles' homes. But for me it was an audition of Revel Studio (the newer version) loudspeakers with all new at the time (500 series ?) Levinson equipment at a dealer's showroom in Northern Virginia, about 2 years ago. I went in only to look at CD/SACD players (from Marantz or Esoteric) but heard this system.
What was educational for me? I found a CD they had that I was familiar with (a Living Stereo or Presence SACD of Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue), and having listened to it in my own system over the years, with changes in homes, rooms, and equipment, what struck me was the soundstage -- something I had never heard before. This soundstage on this older recording, on this system, was confined to a box about 4' by 4' between the speakers, much like a TV. It was like it was cut out with a scapel. The speakers were probably 10' or more apart and I was at least that distance from them. The edges of the 'box' were very distinct - something I have never heard before or since, that is, there was sound from the box and not anywhere outside of it. Almost weird. The dealer did have a good system set up and room, something many of my auditions over the years have not had. So I'm sure that was a big contributor to what I heard. Anyway, for me it was a first, in terms of how distinct a soundstage could be compared to so many other systems and rooms.
So, as to the question of the post, I am not saying it was or wasn't the the 'best' system I ever heard, or the last word in any one category of bass/treble/realism, or musicality, (except soundstanging in my case), but in this way I described, it was very educational for me.
What was yours?

Showing 1 response by drubin

One that comes to mind was an all-Rega system at the last San Francisco Stereophile show. It was a modest system that really made music as well as making a big impression on me. There are a lot of audiophile niceties that we get drawn to but I always have to be conscious of the balancing act between getting off on the sound vs. getting off on the music.