Music Matters 7 - Seattle

My hats off to Definitive Audio in Seattle for hosting another great open house featuring premiers of several notible pieces of new gear and company representatives to describe and demonstrate. My descriptions here are brief and more impressionistic.

Room 6 featured B&W's new small stand mounts and spherical subwoofer driven by all Classe electronics. The set up sounded nice, especially with voice and guitar. The Classe pre had the ability to shape frequency response of the digital signal before conversion and amplification to reduce noise.

Room 2 featured Dave Gordon from Audio Research and Todd Sutherland from Wisdom Audio. Dave was premiering a new digital source from ARC and also had on hand a new preamp and was returning with 4(!) 450 wpc switching amps to drive (at two per side) Wisdom audios enormous on wall electrostats. There was also a flat box on the ground between the speakers the size of a small stage. That was Wisdom Audio's subwoofer that handled everything below 80Hz and was intended to be installed "in the next room" according to Todd. This system had terrific tone and good handle of transients in the midrange.

Room 1 had Ken Forsythe and Bob Stuart from Meridian with their new speaker system driven by Meridian's latest system controller and a solos interface. These $9,000 modest sized active and unconventional looking speakers sounded marvelous: Organized, dynamic, good transients, tone, scale, etc. Was very impressed, and then I went to...

Room 3 where Wilson Audio's John Giolas and Peter McGrath were holding court with Dan D'Agostino of the same company name and John Atkinson of Stereophile. They were demonstrating a system with the same front end as the Meridian room, but driving the analogue D'Agustino monos and Wilson's new top of the line Alexandria's. This sounded really good, and was the best of the show (by far). At about $350K out the door after WA sales tax, what can I say. My friend who is pretty jaded by having set up custom systems in mega mansions and mega yatchs could say nothing bad about this system. I asked Mr. D'Agostino how much the copper heat sinks on his amps cost to produce and found out they each cost more than my phono cartridge. But hey, they look great and apparently add to the remarkable quality of the listening experience.

Speaking of phono cartridges - I didn't hear one scrap of vinyl at the show. I did not make it into two other rooms, so maybe they had an analogue system in the Linn room, but I doubt it. Anyway, I missed Mr. Fremer and his SME/Lyra front end from last year.

Thanks to Definitive for opening their space and to the Company reps for coming out to Seattle to show us their latest work. Can't wait till next year.

Hello, I wish I had made it to this occaison, but I missed it. I have purchased several pieces of gear at Definitve, and it's always fun to go in there and just drool. I've been meaning to get back to their Roosevelt store (that's where I've always done business) for a visit, but I'm one hundred miles away on Whidbey Island, and don't go to the Big City very often.

If you are anywhere near me, maybe a get-together might be good. PM me if you care to at:
I agree the Wilson room sounded great. But my favorite all things considered was the Transparent, Ayre, Vienna Acoustics room. I always seem to enjoy that room the most, a great selection of music and fun vibrant people.

The Wisdom Audio room just didn't excite me. I couldn't get involved with the sound. It sounded good but for me it lacked the engaging aspect other setups have.

I was impressed with the Meridian speakers with their first cut, but soon found them to be unengaging as well. They had great dynamics considering their size etc.

Vinyl was not in the rotation this year although the gentlemen from Ayre was displaying their new A to D converter in which he had recorded a track in hi-res from a recent Peter Gabriel LP release. Sounded great.

I too would like to thank Definitive Audio, they did a great job as always. I look forward to Music Matters every year.
HI on the Audio Research room, what new preamp? Was it a Ref 5 SE or something else?

Thanks for taking the time to write up your thoughts!
I agree the Wilson room sounded very good. The new Alexandria XLF had the new soft dome tweeter and bigger bass cabinet. Paired with the Dan D'agostino amps it was the best sound I have heard in that room. I did not hear any music I was familiar with so its hard to make any firm judgements. I was not to crazy about the yellow paint job on the Wilsons though.

The Wisdoms were ok but not for their asking price. They are an on wall design and I'm sure that is somewhat responsible for their sound. The soundstage was a little flat and the images were a bit to large and indistinct.

I also liked the Vienna/Ayre room. I have yet to hear a system with the top of the line Ayre gear sound bad. I hope that Definitive gets the Vienna Acoustics Die Muzik in the future. They would give the Wilsons a run for their money.

I did not make it to the other rooms. No analog this year was disappointing also.

Jfrech, I believe they were using the an ARC prototype tube DAC, ARC Ref 5 SE, and 4 ARC DS450m with the planar magnetic on wall Wisdom speakers.
Sarcher30, thanks for the info on the ARC pre. I missed the ViennaAyre/Transparent room, and am sorry now that I did. How long has Definitive been carrying Vienna Acoustics?
Knownothing, I'm not sure how long they have had Vienna. I think maybe about 6 months or so. Of course Magnolia HiFi used to cary them. When I heard the Vienna at Magnolia in the past the gear they had at the time was not a good match for them. They like neutral and powerful SS or switching amps IMO. 3 years ago in Denver I heard their flagship speaker Die Musik and the next model down Mahler. They were powered by Jeff Rowland switching amps. The sound was very nice and totally changed my mind about Vienna Acoustics.