CES & THE Show 2013 • Best of Show

We've covered Crystal Cable's Arabesque speakers and Siltech's SAGA C1/V1/P1 electronics in the past, but this hasn't stopped Gabi and Edwin van der Kley-Rijnveld from refining them, installing new wiring and new ribbon tweeters in the Arabesque (renamed the Absolute Arabesque) and less visible enhancements in the electronics. Even taking into consideration the "If you have to ask, you can't afford it" pricing (€75,000 per pair for the speakers, €25,000 for each piece of the electronics, roughly translating to $180,000 total), Gabi and Edwin are on to something here that may well be the way of the future for even for diehard vinyl and tube addicts. The Siltech amplifier uses a technology beyond the ken of most mortals: a light generator in which a hermetically sealed ultra-powerful light is converted to the current needed to operate the amp without any interference from AC or magnetic fields.

Even in a hotel room, with the electronics between the speakers, the results on wide-ranging orchestral music were extremely impressive. The sound was immediate and effortless at all volume levels, with what seemed like unlimited dynamic range and a complete lack of distortion and time smear. And if you don't want to listen to your music loud, the system was remarkable at low levels, due no doubt to a non-existent noise floor. If high-definition digital music has the ability to deliver a knockout punch to the old ways, it will be with the help of components such as these.

Edwin van der Kley-Rijnveld discusses the fine points of the Siltech electronics, including the Apollo LightDrive system.

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