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.