T.H.E. Show 2019: Brooks Berdan Gets Churchlike with Aurender, Burmester, Chord and Magico

Azalea is one of my favorite slow jazz/swing numbers ever – Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington flow like honey on a hot summer day if you’re listening to it on the right system.

And although The Great Reunion wasn’t playing while I was in the Brooks Berdan room on the second floor of T.H.E. Show in Los Angeles, I was instantly reminded of it by the surroundings. You see, to me, the setup was as if I was in a small church or cathedral (the dais-like arrangement of the massive Burmester 909 ampliifier, Magico M2 speakers, plants, flowers and lighting instantly put Armstrong’s gravelly voice in my mind.

“You're at ease on the knees/Of the moss covered trees/Whose tops meet to make a high ceiling/In the church-like pomp/Of the cypress swamp/I’ve yet to get that same strange feeling” so I just went with it and decided it was more art installation than traditional hi-fi presentation and had a sweet time imagining I was actually in a hip LA gallery. Albeit one that had huge, room-filling presence, spectral decay off piano notes, sweated-out metallic sheen off horns and plumbed those musical spaces between the lower octaves with sinew, weight and authority.

Listening to the opening bars of “Bye Bye Blackbird” off Patricia Barber’s 2004 album Nightclub had Marc Johnson’s double bass planted like it was in cement on the sound stage behind her up-front lilting vocals, noodling piano and the disparate percussive slam of Adam Nussbaum’s drum work where every brush filament on taut, dry skin seemed to be clearly separate from the other.

A big, beautiful-sounding system that offered an unfiltered and musically illuminated view into the digitally-recorded event (I focused my listening on the Aurender/Chord front end), paying slavish homage to tone, and timbre while maintaining pitch-neutral poise, this was a setup which once again showed off the talent and experience of curation and the ability to make the most of hotel meeting room acoustics. The Burmester/Magico combo was downright ballsy with speed and attack.

Playing the part of the church choir in this gallery were the Magico M2 loudspeakers ($63,000 USD), a Burmester 909 MK5 600W stereo/1,900W mono Poweramp ($80,000 USD), 088 Preamp ($33,000 USD), and 848 Power Conditioner ($10,000 USD). A Chord Electronics M Scaler ($4,900 USD), was paired with a DAVE DAC ($11,300 USD), and Aurender N10 Music Server/Streamer ($8,000 USD) for the digital front end. On the analog side there was an SME 20/3 Turntable with Series V tonearm ($19,900 USD) and Lyra Etna MC cartridge ($8,900 USD). Heavy lifting was taken care of courtesy of the Artesania Exoteryc Rack 4 shelf ($7,900 USD) and Krion Turntable Platform ($4,300 USD).

For more information check out Brooks Berdan website.

COMPANY INFO
Brooks Berdan Ltd.
110 West Olive Avenue Monrovia, CA 91016
info@brooksberdanltd.com
(626) 359-9131

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