RMAF 2017 page 2

The NOLA Box S2 monitors at $1995, driven by a VAC amplifier really kept me seated in this wonderful sounding suite.

Unfortunately, there was lots of traffic in the Wyred4Sound suite that prevented me from doing any worthwhile reporting on sonics. This large suite featured an all-new and improved Acoustic Zen reference loudspeaker that looked impressive. 


High Fidelity Services of Hingham, MA, and who import the AnalogueWorks turntable, Neat Acoustics loudspeakers, and Verity Audio (just to name but a few), kept my interest in the Italian-made Audia Flight electronics at high stakes after a short gaze at this beautiful integrated. The unusual and odd-shaped Neat Acoustic loudspeakers sounded quite superb: open, detailed with an uncannily sweet and natural midrange. A nice surprise at this year’s show…


New loudspeaker manufacturer Vehement Audio demonstrated their new Brezza Savant loudspeakers ($7k), for the first time at this year’s audio fest. Powered by Exogal’s Ion amplifier ($3,850), Comet Plus DAC ($3,500 with power supply upgrade) and using a Marantz 15S1 model turntable with the Perla Audio Motif phonostage, overall I found the sound easy, yet detailed and resolute as well. Wonder if that Equi=Core 1800 AC conditioner had something to do with fluidity? Greg Voth would answer with an emphatic YES as he’s reviewed it right here.

Finally got the chance to hear what our own Don Shaulis has been talking about with regard to how open, airy and alive-sounding the Pure Audio Project model Quintet 15 open-baffle loudspeakers actually are ($9,500 assembly required – reviewed here). At nearly 7 foot tall, they’re also very tall, elegant and attractively made. Manufactured both in Germany and Iowa, its founder and chief designer Ze’ev Schlik, based solely on what I heard, actually has a real winner on his hands. With a stated sensitivity above 95dB, the Quintet 15’s sounded nearly as airy and easy on these ears as did the big and outrageous Stein Music horns that debuted at the High End show this past spring. What was even more impressive was the new and, for me, totally unheard of Whammerdyne Truth 4 watt SE amplifier ($16k) that powered the system to realistic sound levels. One thing’s for certain: there’s a lot to be had here for under $10k and the Pure Audio Project Quintet 15 may be one of the best values in high-end audio in the here and now. 

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What a wonderful sight it was to finally see Bill Parish of GTT Audio/Video (center) pairing up some Audionet MAX monoblock amplifiers with VR-55 Aktive loudspeakers from Von Schweikert Audio. Damon Von Schweikert (left) looked somewhat relieved to have this level of performance in something pedestrian-sized. Surprisingly, the room was a good size, but more importantly it sounded more neutral and even-balanced than other similar sized suites. I’m sure Damon would give kudos out to the Aktive side of the VR-55’s bottom end while Bill Parish will attest to the wonderfully even-handedness of the Audionet/Kronos analogue combo. Bottom line, the room was easy on my ears, yet high in resolve and very inviting – proving to be among my favorites.  


For the more budget-minded show goers, Bill Parish presented the Audionet Plank Redbook CD player ($18,800) and WATT Integrated ($18,800), that played alongside a pair of Von Schweikert Endeavor loudspeakers ($8k). Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to listen long enough to offer any solid sonic impressions but it certainly didn’t sound bad!



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