WADAX. Scaena. Perfect 8 BA
The WADAX website has this to say about their newest loudspeaker in their La Pasion active loudspeaker system "Only a source is required to complete the system. Each driver is independently powered. DACs inside each La Pasión loudspeaker have a specifically designed current output stage to directly drive the tweeter with no degradation of the DAC performance. Individual 400-watt Wadax digital amps drive the midrange and woofer modules. Additionally, binding posts are provided to externally amplify the midrange drivers if desired. All of the electronics including amplification and digital to analogue processing are contained in the mechanically isolated aluminum module at the bottom of the loudspeaker. The La Pasión also incorporates an analog input for use with any preamplifier."
I originally heard the WADAX 1.5 speakers ($70k) at the Munich Show back in 2010 and awarded them among the Best Sounds at the show (see my report here). Though on the expensive side, the overall sound was stellar with a remarkable sense of resolution. I had issues with regard to the bass if I recall. On certain tracks, I felt as if the bass or balance was just a tad too light in the pants. I hoped they'd improve on that with the La Pasion system. Uh oh. On the first track of my sampler disc featuring Pyon Threadgil's enchantingly sweet sounding Wishing Well, was where I noticed the right speaker making a mechanical noise that was easily discernable from my listening seat (10 to 12 feet away). In fact, it wouldn't go away until Rick Brown of HiFi One, who serves as WADAX's US importer, cued up his tape or vinyl rig. This could have easily been the CD player's output voltage causing an issue or the DSP settings. Nevertheless, it was evident no matter how much I tried to like the sound.
Fortunately, the La Pasion was quite impressive when switched out from the CD source. The La Pasion retails for $107k, which really isn't a lot when you consider you're purchasing a system minus a source. That's loudspeakers, amplifiers, preamp (with a phono card) and cables included. The one downside, and it's a big one too, is you lose the ability to mix and match your components. Taking away an audiophile's ability to "play around" is impossible if not downright unlawful. On the other hand, demanding music connoisseurs would probably love the La Pasion. As much as I would qualify myself a music lover first, there's still a lot of audiophile left in me too. I love having options too I guess.
The Scaena loudspeakers ($100k) sounded really good through an all-tube Conrad Johnson setup. Unfortunately, too much talk was going on for me to elaborate on the sound to a degree I would feel comfortable. But from the brief moment I did have to listen, the sound was as good as I remembered: which means excellent. Their setup usually means you get a sense of space that is really impressive. I've always been a fan of the Scaena sound.
You really have to admire the type of finish they chose for this pair. Wow!
Well, $115k is yet another crazy price tag high-end audio Swedish loudspeaker manufacturer Perfect8 has stuck on a pair of their all glass loudspeakers called the Point Mk IIs. Driven to near perfection by Bridge Audio Laboratory (BA Labo) electronics from Japan, including a Zanden model 2000P transport, I was impressed by the sound of this room and would also qualify it as among the Best Sounds this year. However, I awarded their reference $325k Force loudspeaker my choice for Best Sound four years in a row! As good as the Point Mk II's performed, I felt ultimately, they could not live up to my high expectations of its larger sibling in the areas of ultra ease, dynamic scale and volume. Duly noted, the one thing these speakers obviously do have in common - perhaps because their both made of tempered glass? - is an ultra-low noise floor and the ability to get out of the way and allow the music through in a way that is most uncommon. Impressive to no end but AGAIN... too damn expensive.
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The Kondo room did sound "spectacular" as Key Kim stated in his earlier report (here). I also agree that this room sounded better than last year as I recall. I do know the Kondo sound is one of purity and delicacy first and foremost. In this room existed a purity and musical ease that was absent or hardly noticeable in the other setups. I can see why it's so easy to fall in love with these components. The Kondo sound is most certainly an addictive one. Maybe the purist sound I heard at the show and anywhere else for that matter. Certainly among the Best Sounds this year!
Hope you enjoyed the show report. I most certainly did. Until next year.