The Best Room I've Ever Heard

John tells me that the amp doesn’t even know there’s a load attached. That’s saying something considering we’re looking at a pair of dark blood-red Wilson Alexia V’s. The amp is a Gryphon APEX Stereo. It’s massive. Maybe four feet deep, two feet wide and about eighteen inches high and tipping the scales at 445 lbs. There are two gigantic Transparent power cords coming out the back into the wall. They look thick enough to dangle my Range Rover off a cliff. I’m surprised the rest of us here in Coral Gables have enough power to make toast. The Transparent Speaker Cables are almost as thick as my wrist and have a futuristic concept car parked in the center.

When I get there, John’s A/B ing his new Aurender DAC against the DCS Rossini APEX... Back and forth - The same piece of music. My ear prefers the DCS box. More depth - More Left - Right & Center. More detail. More Audio Tickle.

Then John opens the bottle of Oban Scotch I brought with me and we crank Cream at The Royal Albert Hall recorded in May, 2005. I’m transported into a concert hall. The audience murmur sounds extraordinary...then Eric Clapton’s guitar riffs the first three measures of "Stormy Monday"... The drums start... The bass-drum kick and decay are like Bruce Lee’s one-inch-punch and the following collapse of the poor dude he just hit. So fast and dark. Then Led Zeppelin at The O2 from 2007. "Kashmir" - Jesus.... We conclude there’s a bass organ note throughout the entire piece. It rumbles all by itself in the room as my eye’s dart around Audio Salon trying to see where Robert Plant’s voice is coming from.

John has a demo for a guy arriving soon, so I head home and spend the better part of two days moving my entire system around the house. Speakers forward....speakers back... Closer together....further apart..... toed in.... toed out... try this cable...or maybe this one...

Boom..! Finally I get stuff dialed-in as best as possible and it’s not sounding too bad considering my memory of the absolute best sounding system I’ve ever heard.

I admitted to my wife what I’ve spent on my system over the Xmas holiday. We were visiting her family in England. She never asked before, so I held my breath and told her. That number makes me cringe a little. How did this happen...? I blame guys like John who continue to pursue the ’Money Is No Object’ approach to very good audio.....



What a wonderful experience! I’ve heard some ultra high end systems in very good rooms and they were magical. Those impressions stick in my mind and give me a reference point to strive towards. You’d think that listening to live music would be the ultimate reference point but I’ll argue that’s just too hard to replicate in it’s entirety. It definitely cannot be done with 2 speakers. Better to have a reference of what’s actually possible rather than the impossible. And, in some ways, stereo reproduction has it’s own charms and beauty so it really need not be directly compared to reality. It just needs to inform us of the real event in the ways we care about.

The box they ship that Gryphon amp in looks like it could hold a car engine, massive.


So, Joe, who is John and where is he located?

I was at that O2 concert, but didn't think the LP was supposed to be good. Digital source? 

You'll need some muscle for such a unit. It's bigger than an air conditioning unit. And probably heavier. 

You were at that concert….???!! I am so envious…!


digital source.


John Iconomou at Audio Salon in Coral Gables, FL



@vinylvalet , would Jims book apply to home theater?

Have you ever engaged his services? Thoughts?

Yes, the book covers home theatre and subwoofers.

I attended his RoomPlay reference session in Cummings, GA in 2019. I found the experience extremely worthwhile especially since he uses the same speakers I do, Fyne F703. BTW, this session is stereo with two subwoofers only, no multichannel home theatre.

While in GA, my wife and I visited the Allman Brothers museum (The Big House) in Macon and spent a few days in Savana and attended their jazz festival. A very enjoyable trip.

sure - Vandersteen 7’s and 9 subs with a matching M7 high pass amp….in the home where Richard lives and breathes music…. Made right here in California….

It is a fantastic passion we are all chasing ! enjoy the music in the new year - peace to all


@vinylvalet , thanks, I have been using the Dolby/THX reference standards but I appreciate the value proposition he proposes on his website, most people sink too much money into gear and not enough effort into setup. It is like buying a limo and then taking it off road into the wilderness. 

All new Final Audio Model 12 Electrostatic Loudspeakers with two REL Subs matched with a Mcintosh C-12000 Tube preamp and two MC-3500 MK2 Tube Monoblocks amps and a Mcintosh MCD-12000 CD Player is my Desert Island System  END-GAME SYSTEM