High End 2017: Key Kim Report Page 2
CH Precision electronics and Kronos Audio featuring the Goebel High End Epoque Reference loudspeakers was an excellent sounding room. I’ve listened to Epoque Reference loudspeakers on a few occasions with different electronics and all sounded very good but with the CH Precision electronics they really shone for me. The Epoque Reference was driven by CH Precision M1 monaural amplifiers and L1 dual monaural line preamplifier, a D1 SACD & CD drive and a C1 D/A controller, and cabled with Goebel Lacorde Statement wire. The Epoque displayed gorgeous sound with resolution, transparency, and a natural timbre and a three-dimensional soundstage with powerful dynamics.
Stein Music produced a signature sound at this year's High End show. Stein, best known for his acoustic accessories and gizmos, namely the Stein Harmonizers. However, not as popular as his electronics and loudspeakers.
What a surprise to see new series of Stein Music loudspeakers like his Top Line XL (with subwoofer above $245k). It’s a horn-loaded, open-baffle (midrange and tweeter), that features twenty-drivers with a separate column of subwoofers (eight 18's per side) driven by his own Stein Music electronics. Stein, also introduced his more reasonably sized Top Line loudspeakers at this year's event. Though imposing, the sound was delicate, exceptionally open, transparent and detailed. The Top Line XL produced an authoritative bass control that was neither forward or excessive, yet it created superb dynamics in this suite. In the final analysis, the sound was as fast in transients as it was musical. CP said the sound was scary good, especially in terms of delicacy, despite the fact that this behemoth stands nearly 8 feet tall.
Audio Note Kondo/Kaiser Acoustics
Audio Note Kondo showcased their new reference GE-10 phono stage (58k) to match their reference G-1000 preamplifier ($98k). It’s an ultimate CR-type phono equalizer, a two chassis design with a separate dedicated power supply. The latest Kondo silver signal capacitors are used, the same type as the Kagura and G-1000. Kondo and Kaiser Acoustics teamed up for a second year and produced an excellent sound. The Kaiser Classic C3 was driven superbly by the Kagura mono amplifiers, and a G-1000 preamplifier. The exquisite Ginga turntable was used as analog source. The new GE-10 brings a lot to the table. The only difference between this year and last year was the phonestages, with the GE-10 sound improved. Everything about it was better; it was more transparent, detailed, and dynamic with a more three-dimensional and organic sound.
CH Precision/Wilson Benesch/Way Cables
I haven’t been a really big fan of the Wilson Benesch loudspeakers at trade shows. But, I could tell before getting a good seat, that this time was going to be very different. This particular loudspeaker sparked life into this room, compliments of the sweet sounding CH Precision electronics and the new cables from Serbia called Way Cables.
The Wilson Benesch Resolution loudspeakers ($56k), featured a sculptured carbon-fiber top and carbon-fiber enclosure combined with an aerospace Silk Black baffle foot and seven-driver three-way loudspeakers: four Tactic II woofers, one Tactic II upper bass, one Tactic II midrange, and a single-silk-dome/carbon-fiber tweeter. The Resolution loudspeaker was paired with a CH Precision A1 amplifier ($33k) and an L1 line preamplifier ($33k), a C1 D/A control ($33k), and soft solid core-silver Way cables from Serbia throughout the system. The sound was detailed, transparent, and fast with good dynamics and a natural sound.