Bob Carver King Audio. Purity Audio



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One of the biggest surprises - and Best Sounds - at this year's CES came when I entered into the Volent room and heard their new VL-3 Loudspeakers ($11k).  Driven by a slew of MSB electronics, I was absolutely astonished at the incredibly high resolution - coupled by a natural and vivid presentation - this system had going for it. A long time fan of the Volent sound, I came away very impressed at the sound of this affordable rig. Here's a simple three-way design employing a specially dual layered ribbon to excellent results. The level of resolve this system offers far exceeds its asking price. Very impressed in fact. See my video here

The sound coming from the Tannoy/VAC setup was really impressive. The new dual-chassis  VAC 450 mono amps retail for a whopping $78k but sounded nearly flawless strapped to a pair of (too large for this space) Tannoy Kingdom Royal loudspeakers ($55k). Sporting an entirely new 12" Dual Concentric driver, this 96 dB sensitive transducer, represents the best the company offers. A slew of Esoteric digital gear including their external Rubidium clock handled the music superbly. In the end, as usual with well-made highly efficient speakers which convey the proper ease and harmonic subtleties of the music that does it for me every time. Easily one of the top sounds at this year's show!  

Here's the more affordable 95 dB sensitive Tannoy Yorkminster ($25k) showing in an adjacent room with VAC.


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The TIDAL Contriva Diacera SE ($58k) strapped to an arsenal of Constellation electronics also sounded as good as I would have guessed based on what I already heard at this past Munich show (video here). However, the last time I heard this combination was on the statement TIDAL T1 speaker system which cost an astounding ($250k Ouch!). I have a pair of the smaller Piano Cera's in for review and will tell you this German manufacturer means business (see video of this setup here).

I know less about Constellation audio except I've been a long admirer of their VP of engineering Peter Madnick (above). Their reference series components, which includes the names of Greek Gods like Altair, Hercules, Sirius and Orion, look completely understated in their brushed aluminum chassis. I felt compelled to stay and listen longer than I should have considering the amount of rooms I needed to cover.      

Felt terrible that I was only able to get a photo of this system that featured the Convergent Audio Technology electronics with the MBL 101s driven by Stealth Audio cables through and through. My goal was to come back and do some listening as I always enjoy hearing the CAT electronics in Munich powering the Ascendo loudspeakers into Best Sound category almost every year. I simply never made it back. My bad.



The Dynaudio Confidence C4 mk II loudspeakers ($22k) are quite impressive sounding and I find them to perform well beyond their asking price. I've heard their Evidence series (Master and Temptation) at length and find this to be one excellent product that's also deceptive looking in appearance. Once up close and personal, did I realize how tall and substantial the Confidence 4 are.  


Playing through some Octave electronics the Dynaudio C1 Signatures ($8300) produced a sound that had me nodding my head in approval.


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Bob Carver unveiled their new line of electronics at this year's CES. The Cherry 180 mono amplifier is conservatively rated at 180-watts ($7,400) while the model Black Beauty - above driving a pair of King II loudspeakers from King Sound Audio - will put out over 300-watts per channel ($12,900). Each are designed to handle hard to drive loudspeakers and will easily handle a 2 Ohm load. Expected to launch in the fall of this year, I am hoping to get a pair here for review. The Purity Audio Silver Statement preamp was also being used in this room as well as their Purity One-i ($8,500 125-watt per channel) integrated on a pair of King Sound Queen II monitors. I never got the chance to listen as I had wished because the sound was very open, clean and dimensional in a way 'stats are infamous for.