CES 2015 • Best of Show

Like Luke Manley and Bea Lam of VTL, John Quick, who is the principal of dCS North America, just seems to achieve terrific sound at shows, no matter the room or partnering equipment. We strongly suspect that his use of dCS's Vivaldi stack -- transport ($39,999), DAC ($34,999), upsampler ($19,999) and clock ($13,499) -- has more than a little to do with this. If it's true that the source defines the capabilities of an audio system, the Vivaldi separates always set a very high level, and whatever music we play proves this. John used Rockport Cygnus speakers ($62,500/pair), along with D'Agostino Momentum mono amps ($55,000/pair) to achieve yet another Best of Show system. The Vivaldi DAC was connected directly to the amps, via Transparent Audio Reference MM2 interconnects. Transparent Reference MM2 speaker cables and power cords and a Harmonic Resolution Systems rack and platforms finished off the system.

We listened at length one morning, playing all of our demo cuts and listening to music that John had chosen -- his tastes align with our own. There is both a muscularity and delicacy to the sound of the Vivaldi separates -- we've heard it in every system they've been part of -- and resolution is at the highest levels for digital sound here and now. In this system, there was also great substance to images and a deep, wide, and airy soundstage.

While it may be anticlimactic, even boring, to read about equipment like the dCS Vivaldi separates in so many of our show reports, we can assure you that hearing these products is anything but. Variety is overrated anyway, especially when the status quo is so complete and enthralling.

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