THE Show Newport Beach 2014 Best of Show
Local dealer Optimal Enchantment assembled two systems mating Vandersteen speakers and Audio Research electronics. In the larger system, the star of the show was Vandersteen's new M7-HPA mono amplifiers ($52,000/pair), which drove Model 7 speakers (also $52,000/pair). The amps were introduced in prototype form at CES, but these refined, near-production models got their first public introduction at Newport Beach. One can't help being drawn in by the unique shape of the amplifiers, which echoes the shape of the Model 7 speakers. The two function as a pair as well: the M7-HPA covers the range from 100Hz up, exactly the point where the speakers' powered woofers come in.
In front of the amps was an over-the-top selection of electronics supported by Harmonic Resolution Systems racks. A Lyra Atlas cartridge ($9500) was installed on a Basis Audio Inspiration turntable with Superarm 9 ($64,995), driving, in turn, Audio Research's Reference Phono 10 phono stage ($30,000) and Reference 10 preamplifier ($30,000). Digital was delivered via Audio Research's Reference CD9 transport/DAC ($13,000). All cabling was courtesy of AudioQuest.
On opening day, things had not yet settled in, but by Saturday the system was pulling into the competition as a Best of Show contender, sounding vivid and very dynamic. By Sunday, this had become one of a handful of rooms that were hard to leave.
© The Audio Beat Nothing on this site may be reprinted or reused without permission.