California Audio Show
2011 (CAS) By dagogo
Vivid / Luxman
It must be said that the person running this
(regrettably brief, for me) listening session was Philip O'Hanlon, president
of On a Higher Note, importer and distributor for Vivid and Luxman. O'Hanlon
is the consummate host: sporting a bow tie, giving introductions to each
record that he played with a lively Irish lilt. The guy definitely knows how
to throw a party!
The reference system consisted of Margules'
flagship speakers, the Grand Orpheus ($29,999/pair) which feature Accuton
drivers and an onboard active subwoofer. These were powered by the 20th
Anniversary Edition of the U280SC amplifier ($3800) and SF220R Ultra-High
Resolution preamplifier ($2899). This system was very musical, and did justice
to a wide of variety of music, able to play delicately on intimate recordings
or lay down serious grooves on more bombastic material.
While the Magenta system didn't receive nearly as much attention (either in playing time or set-up time, it was to the side in a much less acoustically ideal part of the room), it was no less impressive for what it was able to do for a lot less money. The SA2.3 speakers ($1690 / pair) demonstrated phenomenal midrange, nice imaging and taut bass despite their non-ideal placement...this is a speaker I'd like to spend more time with.
The Magenta electronics included the Aleph amplifier ($1890), Daleth analog preamplifier ($1920), and iEnd iPod dock and audio processor ($999). The TT-10 turntable on display was a prototype, and not running at the time I was in the room.
This system was being shown with the Mistral MT-34 Tube Amplifier ($1199) and BOW-A3 Speaker ($1699 per pair) combo (front/center and far right in this photo). More money but quite a bit more fleshed out sonically, this system is another amazing value.
And the sound? Also not bad! Response from the
Shengya monitors was a tad uneven in this room, but that's not much of a
concern as long as it's uneven in all the right places. Overall presentation
was musical as all get out, with female vocals in particular coming across
with warmth and liquidity.
DLS / DSPeaker
DSPeaker is a Finnish company that created a product called
the AntiMode 8033, a room-correction device originally designed as a DIY
project by the company's founders.
Listening to the 300FLs caused a cognitive disconnect...it
was hard to believe how much sound was coming from these minimalist
floorstanders. Bass was prodigious, although not so much as to overpower the
(rather easily overpowered) room.