This review page is supported in part by the sponsor whose ad is displayed above

Owner: David H..
Digital: MSB Platinum CD III Reference Player with Signature DACs and custom BWS 60 lbs battery power supply
Tuner: Sequerra
Preamp: BWS dual-mono line stage

Amplifier: BWS 6388-SEs
Speakers: Coincident Technologies Grand Victories, customized
Rack: custom Rock Maple
Cables: cryo'd Kondo
Power conditioner: BPT 3.5, BWS-modified QRT Symphony

Component platforms: HRS
Listener: John Potis

David has been doing the audiophile thing for close to if not exceeding forty years. Inhabiting his basement for going on two decades is a pair of Dayton-Wright XG-10 speakers that have fully lived up to their reputation. That is to say that they sounded great in their day but ultimately proved unreliable. Yes, the speakers proved unreliable. Through the years he's used everything from big Apogee ribbons to the little Sequerra Met 7 monitors, from big solid-state Krells to tiny BWS tube amps and what some days probably seems like everything in-between. He makes no bones about it; he's a die-hard audiophile. He says, "so shoot me". His kids are finished with college, the house is almost paid for and the retirement secure. I say more power to him.

At the drop of a hat, he'll regale you in infinite detail with the trials and tribulations of his audiophile journey. But rather than describing the system, I noticed that he spoke in terms of the system's effect on the music - and him. The best systems he's ever heard didn't rattle the rafters with explosive bass or pin him back in his chair as if to re-enact a famous Maxell advertising campaign. But they did place him 9th row center at the symphony hall and took him on the emotional roller coaster that the composer intended, often climaxing in tears. That's what David thinks this is all about. He's not into trophies or status. These days, as you'll see, he prefers the road less traveled. Like the rabid man on a mission he is, he scours the Internet looking for clues to light his way toward what he hopes will bring him to the one true holy grail. He absolutely glowed as he told me that it just doesn't get any better than an annual trip to CES for a little golfing, a little music, a little gambling and a whole lot of memories shared with his son Michael.

So God bless him. It sounds like he's got his priorities straight to me. He doesn't belong to any audiophile societies; he doesn't even know any non-professionals who share his passion. What he does, he does for the music and for himself. When he contacted me, his only wish was to share the realization of his vision with me. His was just an invitation to come listen. He actually recoiled at the thought of being featured in a column. Alas, years as a married audiophile has taught me a thing or to about the art of persuasion!

In David’s listening room stands a pair of Grand Victory loudspeakers from Coincident Speaker Technology. Two of only a handful of Grand Victories ever manufactured, these stand apart from even the few others by virtue of being built with upgraded wiring, extended feet and extra binding posts for bi-wiring or bi-amping (something the designer does not usually recommend). Driving the 99dB efficient Grand Victories is a pair of BWS (Bruce Wenger Tube Specialties) 6384-SE monos using Tungsol 6528s and Telefunken 12AX7s tubes offering up a mere 13 watts per channel. (The amplifier was originally designed to use the Bendix Redbank 6384 power tube, hooked up in triode mode for an output of 6 to 8 watts.) Feeding the power amplifiers is a BWS dual-mono line stage preamplifier. While some companies give lip service to dual-mono architecture, Bruce Wenger is very serious about it. His line stage not only features dual volume pots and dual sets of input selectors, but also dual outboard power supplies.
Generating the front-end signal is David's one-of-a-kind MSB Platinum CD III Reference Player with Signature DACs modified by Bruce Wenger with an outboard battery power supply, itself a 60-pound BWS design. David's a big BWS fan but he's particularly proud of his MSB player with the aforementioned BWS mods and battery power supply. In David's system, this transformed MSB replaced a dCS Delius and Purcell with Cal Audio transport. Actually, it destroyed them in David's words.

Also in the mix is the original and mint Sequerra tuner that David presses into service when broadcast classical is on the menu - not that David doesn't enjoy an appetite for varied forms of music. Stringing it all together are Kondo silver interconnects and Kondo silver speaker cables. David has a limited tolerance for both tweaks and geeks but he's a fan of the HRS platforms, the occasional Vibrapod and even the BWS-modified Quantum Symphony Resonance device that he doesn't really understand but clearly appreciates for what it does for his system. An advocate of power conditioning, David uses both a BPT 3.5 and BWS conditioners. And the entire system of components rests upon an attractive rack built for him but designed and specified by David himself, utilizing 2-inch shelves of solid Michigan Rock Maple.
How does it all sound? Well, David's room is large and largely untreated and it gives those Grand Victory loudspeakers plenty of room to breathe. The speakers reciprocate with a big and airy presentation with excellent width and good though unexaggerated depth. Lots of transparent detail, too. We're not talking about artificial, surgically enhanced micro detail but the kind that the musicians wanted you to hear, not what the overzealous recording engineer hoped and prayed you could not. Transparency was good and stopped just short of what a good single-driver speaker promises, something else David wants to investigate one day. The upside of all those drivers is an effortless feeling of unlimited macrodynamics even with only 12 watts on tap. The Grand Victorys have a most non-restrained quality about them. At low volumes they sound pretty good and at slightly higher volumes they really fill in all the gaps for you. And while you never get the feeling that there's more to be had if you stepped up the volume a little more, these speakers certainly seem to welcome you to get your groove on no matter what it takes and they remain effortless at conversation-precluding volumes.

The only thing of note that David's system doesn't do is plumb the depths below 40Hz or so. Israel Blume, the Grand Victories' designer, was very upfront with David that the trade-off for all that efficiency and those fleet-footed dynamics would be limited bass power and extension. At first listen there's a cognitive disconnect between these 175-pound monoliths and their absence of subterranean grunt but I judge it a valid calculation because the Grand Victory speakers are very solid and linear down to their specified bass cut-off - and very clean while at it. That means they're an ideal candidate for a subwoofer that'll give David the icing on his very clean, dynamic and musically detailed cake. And that's what system building is all about!