$5K AUDIO SYSTEM
Discount - 7%
ABOUT THE $5K HIGH END SYSTEM ... yes, it is HIGH END
So how did we get here ? A High End system at $5K, really ? And, its made up of finished branded components, and not DIY parts or exceptional vintage gear ?
THE REVOLUTION IN THE MAKING
Well, this did not happen by mistake, and we owe it to a few wise, very talented and insightful people who only very recently decided to break rank with what was heretofore a pretty cynical market ... a market that was infatuated with up-selling us on everything from Voodoo Cable to Voodoo Accessories. When it came to components, it was all about peddling the "last mile" ... extreme bass or high frequencies, unbelievable resolution and detail, the promise of "you-are-there", or sometimes "they-are there" soundstages, bling-bing-bling aesthetics, fancy product names that conjure up phantasmagoric imaginary powers. Boxes crammed with really cool functionality ... all to please our lazy-butt life-styles. What a word ! ... right ? ..Note the second part of the word -- "style"... as though this had anything to do with Music. Uber-functionality is fine by me as long as I GET MY MUSIC please, and don't need a PHD in Computer Science to use it, or need to bribe a 10 year old to help me, or feel an extreme urge to kick the S__T out of the box :=)))
Sadly, however, it worked...we drank the Kool-Aid. In other words, "if it did not bling, there was no ka-ching$$$.
All this Misery is about to come to a screeching halt. Although a "disruptive revolutionary movement" has been brewing for about 4 years, it finally gained Critical Mass in 2018. Its about time we, as Dealers, could offer and stand behind REAL Value again ... as opposed to LA-LA-LAND Value, cloaked in false promises or justified by peripheral non-essential distractions. ENTER THE TERMINATORS :
Andrew Jones and Peter Madnick at ELAC, the venerable folks or LP recording fame at Mobile Fidelity, Bent Nielsen and Lars Pedersen at PRIMARE, Tim de Paravicini at QUAD, Thorsten Loesch at IFI & AMR Abbingdon, Nuno Vitorino at INNUOS, the folks at HANA, and Jim Kinne and Jeff Haagenstadt at EXOGAL [ formerly at WADIA ]. All of these folks have one thing in common : They are DISRUPTING the Status Quo with a Bang, and their timely arrival finally vindicates and validates the insufficiently appreciated and recognized efforts of those few lonely Purists that have for so long believed in Value, such as Graeme Holland at AUDION [ formerly at Audio Innovations and AudioNote ].
But hold on, and before we go any further, you may be asking what we mean precisely when we refer to VALUE ? For us, VALUE means a high Musicality-to-Investment Ratio, whether the system costs $1.5K or $75K. Systems that sound like they should have cost much more than what you actually paid for them.
THE $5K SYSTEM
This particular $5K system is comprised of three key components ... Wharfedales award-winning EVO 4.4 floor-standing loudspeaker [finished in either white or black oak or walnut], Bent Nielsen's equally elegant - PRIMARE i15 Integrated Amp, and Nuno Vitorino's INNUOS Zenmini MK3 "PLUS" Music Server / Network Streamer / DAC.
The WHARFEDALE EVO 4.4 speaker is a 3-way bass reflex design specified at 8ohm impedance with a power handling capability of 20W Nominal and up to 200W. In no small measure due to its AMT tweeter it offers exceptionally smooth Bandwidth performance, and its claimed FS is 44Hz to 22kHz. This speaker "speaks many genres" - from Jazz to Classical to Rock. No real weaknesses here, except for a limitation in room size compatibility of up to 16ft x 25ft. Its sound character has a sophistication and authority in the bass that you don’t find with many alternatives at the price. Bass lines are deep and taut and phase coherence is really good for a three-way design. Voices are a distinct strength of this loudspeaker and one can always hear lyrics clearly - suggesting that the midrange is very clean and coherent. Gutsy, engaging, highly entertaining, and powerfully weighty are other attributes that come to mind.
The PRIMARE i15 integrated amplifier, when driving the EVO 4.4, delivers 2 x 60W of Class D HYPEX power into 8 ohms and 2 x 100W into 4 ohms. It offers 5 stereo RCA audio inputs and 2 stereo RCA outputs -- one line out w/fixed volume for dubbing; and one pre-out w/volume control for connecting an amplifier or powered subwoofer.
The PRIMARE products are masterpieces of Scandinavian design and engineering ingenuity. This line shares the same design heritage as the better known COPLAND, XENA and QLN products. Bent Nielsen and Lars Pedersen have at some point or another been the main drivers behind the four brands. The attention to detail and the finish has always been, and still is today, remarkable. With the PRIMARE line however, these gentleman have decided to incorporate as many goodies as possible into each of their products. Functionality, Versatility and Simplification are the kew words here.
Their Goal ? : BEST-VALUE-IN-A-BOX ... not surprising really. Its in their Scandinavian DNA.
PRIMARE is SO VERY typically Scandinavian ... no uber-hoopla BS promises ... no nonsense ... no hype ... rigorously practical ... clean, understated, elegant aesthetics ... seriously dependable, quality build. Ohhh, and by the way, they do care about Music very much ... and are very discerning and demanding audiophiles.
So what do their products sound like ? Not surprisingly, their sound is liquid and crystalline, unembellished, dynamics and scale are in balance, no nasties anywhere ... nothing that would color, or render unnatural a really good recording. This may lead some to describe the sound as neutral. This is actually true, but also very good, because this allows all the color and excitement in good music to be heard, as it was recorded.
Then, we incorporated the INNUOS ZEN MINI MK3 PLUS, a Music Server from one of the very best Music Server Brands available - INNUOS. INNUOS is gaining a reputation as the GO-TO server in terms of both functionality and superb sound quality ... and these qualities are present across their entire line, starting with the ZEN MINI MK3. All INNUOS servers include, a CD drive for Ripping, their own proprietary motherboards, sophisticated linear power supplies, all manner of gremlin-killing filtration and shielding ... in brief, an all out declaration of war on all the known perturbations plaguing DIGITAL, this in as far as retrieving, ripping, storing, and "serving up" digital media to the next critical digital component in the chain, the DAC. This one however includes its own very competent on-board DAC, along with USB and S/PDIF Digital out connectors for use with other DACs.
Amongst many other functionalities, the super-intuitive InnuOS software allows the user to select between UPNP, ROON Core or ROON Server. Logitech's downloadable iPENG9 [Phones and Pads] and LMS [Laptops] apps provide really user friendly "Command and Control" capabilities.
The ZEN MINI MK3's character -- YES IT HAS ONE -- is very PRaTy, rhythmic and engaging. Compared to the ZEN MK3, it is more playful and wistfully entertaining in a Mozart-ian sense. The ZEN MK3 has a slightly more laid back Brahms-ian presentation, which is larger and more serene. The Zen Mini MK3 in this system configuration has 1 TB of HDD storage and also includes the "PLUS" linear PSU housed in a chassis identical to the one used for the Standard unit. Not only is this ROON / UPNP server incredibly easy to set-up and use, it is blissfully musical, throwing a super-quiet soundstage and all the detail retrieval one can possibly expect.... The INNUOS servers are truly exceptional front ends. We incorporate these into almost all of our systems.
This system is suitable for rooms up to 16ft x 25 ft.
Have a Turntable ? Add MOFI's $299 MM/MC StudioPhono Phono Stage - another Star Performer.
Pay by Check or ACH Transfer ?
Additional 2.5% DISCOUNT
ALTERNATIVE TUBE-BASED SYSTEM COMPONENT
Prefer the sound of Tubes ? An alternative to the $1,495 PRIMARE i15 Integrated Class-D Amplifier, is the new AMC Weltronics CVT 3030 MK2 Integrated Tube Amplifier priced at $1,499.
The AMC CVT3030MKII is a hybrid Mosfet-Valve design that represents outstanding value. It has been designed with components of the highest quality to give a superb - "best of both worlds" - sound quality. Included are a MM/MC Phono stage, a very competent HPA, a hand held remote, and by-passable tone controls.
The Key Features of AMC's proprietary Class A hybrid MOS-FET amplification topology :
A. 1000V MOS-FETs configured in exactly the same way as Classical Valve Class A amplifier stages. This approach offers excellent dynamic range.
B. FETs provide greater pre and driver stage amplification accuracy to the final Power Tube Stage, which in this case consists of four EL34 tubes. The result is a more coherent Frequency Response a more stable Soundstage.
C. Operational Life and Reliability are significantly better compared to Classical Valve designs.