Having been bestowed as a gift, from the Spanish king to a chivalrous knight, the building has passed down from since before the Alhambra to the current owner, a movie director*. With its outdoor garden and pool, the Darabenaz proved to be the perfect setting to sit out the hot Spanish summer nights unto 2:00 in the morning. The grounds had a spectacular old wisteria tree, lavender bushes, trees of lemon, apricot, cherry and olive and enormous artichokes.
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*As it turns out, José Sanchez Montes wrote and directed the documentary Sueña La Alhambra with Enrique Morente and Pat Metheny and the documentary on Enrique's daughter Estrella. Here are YouTube links to some trailers of his films: 1 | 2 | 3.


Absorbing the location's colours and vibrations steeped in antiquity...


... the hotel's 7+ centuries showed in architectural details such as these photographed right inside our suite.


Facing the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada's setting is the high desert like our prior residence in Taos/NM had been. Replace the juniper trees with olives, the mixed pueblo Indian/Spanish heritage with that of the Al-Andalus era of 711 - 1492—the creatively fertile religiously tolerant period between Moors, Christians and Jews—and you're there.


The demo system at the Darabenaz started with vinyl down a chain of Greek Ypsilon electronics into Kroma Audio's Julieta monitors, all gear plugged into the Vibex Mónico and sitting on either a 4-tier Calatrava rack or mono amp stand versions, with the long Audience cables suspended on Vibex pies de résistance footers.


The €10'000 Mónico combines the Granada and Alhambra functions of dedicated double DC filter and AC filter, then encloses the works in a constrained-layer chassis of Krion and zebrawood augmented with a secret elastomeric compound and no metal screws. The device's famous namesake is Spaniard Mónico Sanchez who, amongst other firsts, invented the portable telephone and portable X-ray machine. The Vibex Mónico abandons even the costliest of specialty power sockets by machining them right out of the Krion top plate instead. Only the Rhodium-plated contacts remain of the original sockets which Cliff sources from the UK.


In a "rounded-over equilateral triangle" form factor that's become a Vibex signature—it also figures with Calatrava rack and feet—the Mónico offers three banks of five outlets. Those can be any combination of direct (pure power distribution) and advanced filtered. In standard guise, that works out to ten filtered and five unfiltered sockets but Cliff made clear that he'll configure this to a customer's wishes.


Here we see sockets F1-F10 on the bottom and right whilst D1-5 face to the left.


The punningly/cunningly named pies de résistance first introduced this particular shape and zebrawood which Cliff—in conjunction with Krion and his viscoelastic—identified as the best-sounding species relative to vibration attenuation and tuning. As in all of his products where screw-type fasteners are needed, he eschews metal in favour of thermoplastics like Peek.


Christened (or moored?) after an ancient Spanish order of warrior monks—Knight Templars of sorts—the Calatrava extends the material mix to include Titanium and carbon for the uprights. Like the Mónico and footers, the support system is of the tripod not quad scheme. It's modular and stackable for various heights and double-wide configurations.


The lustrously polished shelves combined with black Krion and carbon fibre were exceptionally attractive in the wooden flesh and should integrate well with many decors.


Here are some final close-ups to round out the Vibex portion of our coverage. For pricing, the rack comes in 60cm and 70cm wide versions, with carbon-fibre uprights of either 10, 20 or 35cm length for various shelf spacings. The 60cm base with adjustable cones is €5'500, the equivalent 70cm version €6'200. Shelves for the former, with 10/20/35cm carbon srods, are €4'350/4'750/5'300 respectively; and €5'600/6'000/6'600 for the wider shelves. For one example, a 3-tier 60cm wide rack with 35cm and 20cm spacing would be €5'000 + €4'750 + €5'300 = €15'050. For available Krion colours, click here.