Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Denafrips Terminator+ clock-synced to Soundaware D300Ref SD transport/USB reclocker; Preamp: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE VT52/300B or Elrog 50/300B; Power amps: LinnenberG Liszt monos; Headamps: Questyle CMA-800r monos; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Aurai Audio M1 [on loan]; Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, LessLoss C-MARC Entropic cords between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room so no wall behind the listening chairs
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport; DAC/pre: Denafrips Terminator or COS Engineering D1; Preamplifier: Passive Preamp icOn 4Pro Model 3 SE; Amplifier: Bakoon AMP-13R or Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: Acelec Model 1 w. Franck Tchang magnesium super tweeters, sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Zu Submission subwoofer; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~4x6m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win7/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: Kinki Studio Vision THR-1; Phones: Audeze LCD-XC on Forza Audio Lab cable; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 150
Upstairs headfi system: Source: Soundaware A280 SD transport; Integrated amplifiers: Schiit Jotunheim R or Bakoon AMP-13R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a, Audeze LCD-2, Final Sonorous X & D8000, HifiMan HE-1000
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp: Wyred4Sound STP-SE II; Power amp: Pass Labs XA-30.8; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: S$ 3'098 incl. EU VAT [~€1'910 at time of writing]
Flagship berth. "Birthing a flagship is always difficult. My key aluminium case must be perfect but my existing supplier wasn't capable to execute. I was ready to give up. Then half a year ago I began looking for a top supplier elsewhere. I found a Taiwanese company led by a very smart lady. She loves Rock, particularly Pink Floyd. We quickly established a common wavelength. Just before Xmas she sent me the first part, the base for a preamp. I drive my 300B monos direct with my Lektor Air CD. These days that's a very rare solution. I need a matching preamp. That could become a very interesting project in its own right." Spotting a rare opportunity to mix it up, I championed the grounded-grid DHT solution adopted by Vinnie Rossi and Bruce Rozenblit. There are transformer-coupled equivalents from Allnic, Coincident, Consonance, Manley and Trafomatic but I nurse a special fondness for direct-coupled alternates. Jarek was a proper designer. Putting a challenge on him seemed good sport. He could always decline.
Next time I heard from him, It was a 2022 New Year's greeting. Afterwards, "for me 2022 must start with a new website and email address because what I have became a nightmare. That's why I inform you of my plans now. In 2021 my most interesting development was my big system of Silver Single Mono amps, Silver Control preamp and Vintage Ribbon speaker. To me it was groundbreaking not only sonically but as a concept. It sums up 25 years of Ancient Audio. So it was shocking that its sound was received completely different regardless of beginners or experienced audiophiles. My friends from the Kraków Sonical Society were very disappointed. Janusz closed his ears moaning "tragedy". Meanwhile the second group listened to every record with open jaws and eyes close. Here is their opinion. I never experienced reactions this oppposing. About that I talked to Pitor Ryka, editor of HifiPhilosophy. He is not only an experienced audiophile and reviewer but professor of philosophy so chatting with him is always interesting. I think the two of you should meet. Piotr summed it all up simply.
"'High-End' is like squeezing bread from a tube. Everything is smooth without surprises and always comfortable."
In his opinion my system was not high-end. It showed live real music loudly, sometimes harsh and noisy. But only truth moves his soul. I tried to collect my impressions and recalled that when I was 14, I wanted to see all women naked. So when I was in Berlin, I went to the nude beach. And whole I saw seen the truth about the human body, I had to admit that a mature elegantly dressed with good makeup looked better. High-end is like nice makeup. My system particularly by applying my Digital Speaker Processor, showed the truth. That's not always pretty but only truth connects us wit the absolute. What do you think? I sold two systems, one to Switzerland, one South Africa. Both customers are very satisfaied, one shared his impressions in a very well-written email. In Poland the main controversy was my Digital Speaker Processor. Because there is a big group of enthusiasits, I designed the simple portable Gadget version. It works in both stationary systems and with a portable headphone player because its battery supports 10 hours of play.
The second product is a new version of my Vintage Oslo active speakers. The sound of the first was very popular but I had complaints about its look and limited socketry. The new one is more attractive, uses new drivers, better converters, a more powerful amplifier and adds an S/PDIF input. Because its sound and cosmetics came out very well, I scaled it up to become the Vintage Horten version. It uses similar electronics with more powerful gain modules and is a classic 2-way bass reflex. Of course I compared it to a Midi 150 and everybody was impressed by the new prototype over the famous Fram. I'm not announcing these new products until my website works smoothly.
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