$65 - $75K AUDIO SYSTEM
$60,000 to $68,000
Bending-Wave Dipole + 12" Bass
Enigmacoustics Sopranino 2 +
Taket Batpro2 Supertweeters
DAC / PRE / POWER AMP
Comet Plus DAC / PRE
ION HYPERDRIVE Digital Amplifier
2 TB SSD Drive - ROON Ready
Cables - Allocation
Audio Consulting Switzerland
Discount - 8%
Discount - 8%
ABOUT THE $65K to $75K SYSTEM - The Love Story
We "accidentally discovered" this system as a result of a totally counter-intuitive combination of components, ... and its performance was very unexpected and utterly disarming.
Why counter-intuitive and unexpected ? Because some of the components I was playing around with were one-of-a-kind, very High End and expensive, and another set of components were in a considerably lower price category. Further, this revelation unfolded gradually, in 2 steps and over a time period of 3 months.
The only analogy I can think of is that of a true "love story", where "lighting strikes" when two or three entities meet that would normally never have associated themselves with one-another ... at least not within the realm of conventional audio norms ... and certainly not within the confines of an upper-end demo room at an Audio Show.
This was the case with the Audio Consulting of Switzerland Rubanoide Loudspeaker that had heretofore been driven by the superb Audio Consulting battery-powered MIPA/SWGLA amplification components, and fronted by a number of different DACs and CDTransports. The 100dB Rubanoide had already been slightly augmented with both a TAKET Batpro2 Supertweeter (up to 150kHz / $650 per pair) and an Enigmacoustics Sopranino 2 Supertweeter (up to 55 kHz / $3000 per pair) ... both are adjustable to the Rubanoide's overall output behavior. The MIPA delivers 120W @ 8 ohm. The SWGLA preamp provides 12dB of Gain.
First, I introduced the INNUOS Music Server into the Rubanoide / MIPA equation with excellent results, and this in combination with an AQUA Acoustic DAC. A month later, I started representing the EXOGAL Brand (ex-Wadia), ordered and received my Comet Plus DAC / Preamp Demo unit, and swapped it in for the AQUA DAC.
Frankly, I was actually expecting to be "pleased" ...after all, the Comet Plus was in the presence of cutting edge components which would bring out the best it had to offer. I hooked everything up, put the INNUOS on 'Playlist' (300GB of demo tracks) and let the new DAC break in for 100 hours with the amps turned off. When I felt there had been sufficient break-in I engaged the amp and sat back to listen. About a minute into the first track I began perceiving something very surprising and fascinating in terms of PRaT, particularly with "T" -- i.e. in the Timing dimension or Time Domain. The more I listened the more I knew I was on to something here. This thing did not sound like anything I was used to. It did not sound like any of my NOS, PCM or R2R Ladder DACs. It sounded more like my Vinyl Front End !?! Wow, this EXOGAL DAC was doing something really special ! ... but what was perplexing was the "matter-of-fact", nonchalant way in which this DAC was "doing its thing".
I was initially only interested in EXOGAL's DAC, and had resisted Jeff Haagenstad's attempts to convince me to take on their ION amp as well. This was because this "digital" amp only works in tandem with the Comet DAC. After the experience with the DAC, I decided to give the ION a chance ... in the same system ... no less. Normally, for me this type of amp would have been a NO-NO :=)) for the Rubanoide.
The 125W@8ohm /12A ION amplifier went in to the system a week later, and I have been mesmerized ever since ... freaked out, literally ... can't get enough of this combination.
The effect was hard to understand. It is as though my brain had been "hacked", all manner of perception switches had been turned off, and "feeling synapses" re-routed. The overall Stage, in all its aspects, was enormous and superbly palpable. Texture, decay, delicate detail, layering, subtlety ... supremely CALM and, somehow, majestic ... I sat there ... listening ... my muscles began to melt and I thought I was going to fall asleep at one point :=)) ...it was, and still is, "drug-like"... addictive.
At Axpona I jokingly accused the Exogal designer of "hacking my brain" :=)) He laughed and said..."well, sort of, yes". It seems that they have been researching a certain type of algorithm for years, and the proprietary technology and the fruits thereof are now in their components ... a form of Pre-DSP is applied before the DAC stage, and it also seems that they have opted to deal with the Time Domain aspects of the digital process prior to dealing with the Frequency aspect ... which they claim is the opposite of what almost all other DAC designers are doing ... hmmmm ... I wonder ... Timing has plenty to do with Phase Coherence.
Further, they discovered that when incorporating MQA, this did not improve on anything the DAC already did ... They really put some effort into investigating MQA, but all implementations proved to be redundant.
To be clear, I am in no way implying that the Audio Consulting amplifiers are not as good ... quite to the contrary. They are superb and in many ways better, but also, the "presentation" is very different. This view also applies to the superb AQUA DACs.
Rather, what I am saying is that, as a chain, the EXOGAL Comet Plus / ION / INNUOS / augmented RUBANOIDE is simply phantasmagoric and deeply satisfying.
The interesting thing here is that the $52K to $60K Rubanoides would normally be built into a system that would include amplification of equal quality and cost, such as the Reference Silver Rock MIPA 120 and the SWGLA from Audio Consulting. These two components would cost a further $75K. Add in the super tweeters, the INNUOS Server, and the AQUA La Scala ($8K) and you come out at about $160K.
The EXOGAL COMET PLUS / ION Combo (aka the POWERDAC) retails for $7700 !
I have heard the POWERDAC at shows with many other speaker systems, mostly excellent monitors or conventional 3 way floor-standers ... and these systems all sounded very good indeed in their system price range. But the RUBANOIDE - EXOGAL pairing is a marriage made in heaven.
This is "a last system you would probably ever want to own" situation ... costing less than half a typical system that would be built around the Rubanoide. This Speaker can be ordered in 2 X-Over versions ... The Aureus Cu Rubanoide ($52K) or The Reference Ag Rubanoide ($60K) ...
... allowing a system price range of $65 K to $75 K with INNOUS Server, Cable and All.
Interstingly, both the Aureus Copper Rubanoide and the Reference Ag Rubanoide are tonally better matched by the more laid back Innuos ZEN M3, then by the Innuos Zenith MK3.
Yes, this system is not in everybody's price range, I know ... but it sure makes you sit back and think when you realize that so many systems out there cost multiples of this amount. AND you can come audition it in Nashville.
And I see that I am not alone ...read this :
This system is suitable for room sizes from a minimum 15ft x 20ft, and up to about 25ft x 40ft.
If you are in Nashville, call us for an appointment to come listen to this System at Atelier 13 Audio