Although I had only two and a half days at the Consumer Electronics Show,
several rooms were quite notable. I visited the Zanden suite at opening time on
day two. The system had been on only briefly. As I sat there, I could hear the
system improving. After about one half hour, I had to leave, but I already knew
I was impressed and would have to return. I did about three hours later and was
truly shocked by what I heard.
Recently, I had reviewed another amp (The H-Cat X-10 Mk III) that clearly
had left to right clear resolution of orchestra from extreme left to extreme
right. This system is clearly more expensive but it did the same thing. All of
the symphonic instruments had just vivid presence and each of the respective
timbres was captured, including reeds on wind instruments. I returned many
times to hear this system.
This system would cost over $200,000, but wow. One of the keys to its
performance was it affording a selection of equalization settings. Five
different curves were provided (RIAA, TELDEC, EMI, COLUMBIA, and DECCA). I
experienced the sound degradation when the wrong equalization. It is not
With it Verity speakers, this system was far and away the best of the
CES. The digital, however, was unable to compete with the vinyl.
The second room was the MSB Technology very nice presentation of their
three dac levels at the time. These include the original Analog DAC at $6995. I
had heard many good things about this dac. Next was the Signature DAC V at $19,995
and uses the Diamond DAC Vs. Adding the Signature Power Base costs $4995. I
managed to hear a comparison of this versus the final MSB Diamond DAC V
starting at $29,995.
When many selected cuts were played that ironically included three of
those I use, I was in awe! Again I heard the definition at the left and right
that lent realism to the sound stage. I heard no vinyl in this room. I asked for review samples of the
Analog DAC and the Signature DAC V.
I should also mention that since CES, I have learned of a new Select DAC
costing a mere $89,950.
One of my primary concerns is whether or not I hear the H-Cat further
improving the music over another amplifier. This is a new concern as on my
returned to listening after nearly an eighteen days without hearing my system,
I heard major improvement attributable only to the potting materials as the
system was not on.