Beautiful music seems to constantly recede. Just when you've found a piece, the next time you grab for it its gone. Or so it seems to go most often, familiarity breeds loss, or something along those lines. Tim Hecker's newest, Virgins just released on the Kranky label, houses layers of beauty. Virgins was available on NPR's First Listen and I streamed the crap out of it right up until they shut it down when the record was released. So I bought it.
I saw two familiar faces in the On A Higher Note room; the perpetually pleasant proprietor Philip O'Hanlon and the Luxman DA-06 DAC ($5,990) that I reviewed back in June (see review). This time, as was the case the last time I saw Philip at the New York Audio Show, he had a listening comparison up his sleeve (Philip has long sleeves). We were to compare the same track in 24/192, DSD, and LP.
It seems like each year at RMAF a few people tell me I have to hear the system put together by Distributor Fidelis AV. This year was no exception and they were right, again. Two constants from last year were the Harbeth Monitor 30.1 speakers ($5,995/pair) and the Bricasti M1 DAC ($8,495) the latter should be heading to Steve Plaskin's place any day now.
A lot of people were talking about Gordon Rankin's Wavelength Audio room. Some for the plasma tweeters perched atop the Vaughn Audio Plasma Speakers ($15,000, signature series with upgraded power and MagneQuest custom modulation transformers $20,000), others for his new limited edition all silver Napoleon amplifiers, and others still were going on about the new Europa network player/DAC ($7,500 pictured on the right). And rightfully so.
ModWright Instruments was showing a pre-production prototype of their 24/192-capable Elyse USB Tube DAC ($TBD). The Elyse is "fully asynchronous, transformer coupled in and out, Class A direct-coupled design".