Gryphon Audio, Gershman Acoustics, VAC, VPI, Nagra Audio, And Kubala*Sosna
It brings emotional elation that, finally, Gryphon Audio has made its way into American homes once again. USA distributor On A Higher Note had a glorious pair of Gryphon Audio's newest Mojo S Reference Standard stand-mounted loudspeakers mated to a Diablo 120 stereo integrated amplifier with Hi-Res Audio DAC module. Gryphon Audio's Sonett MM/MC phono stage and Scorpio S. upsampling CD Player rounded out the system that was on an Artesania Exoteryc Rack with their Decoupling and Damper Systems. For cable duties Magnan was put to good use. As for the sound, fast, clean and just the right amount of lively too. These large standmounters produce impressive bass too down to a reasonable frequency, with imaging being amongst the very best at AXPONA 2018. Gryphon Audio's local dealer in Chicago is celebrated concert pianist George Vatchnadze of Kyomi Audio. They also had the Pear Audio Kid Thomas turntable spinning analog delights for the audience. While shows are a challenge to get excellent sound, this system was very close to the great musical moments I recall when reviewing the previous-ish version of this system with the Gryphon Atilla Integrated, Scorpio CD Player and Mojo speakers.
Moving on to the Gershman Acoustics room at AXPONA 2018, their new Posh floorstanders ($129,000) were being driven by the excellent VAC Master Preamplifier w/phono and a Statement 450S along with a VPI Titan turntable and Audio Technica Ultra 1000 cartridge. This system was indeed very reveling of both small and large ensemble music, with a glorious-sounding highs and a midrange that was transparent and both accurate and emotional. A hard balance to get right, yet with the speakers and amp, this one-two combination was one of my favorite rooms during AXPONA 2018. Extremely high quality is a given with Gershman Acoustics' use of Morel and Accuton drivers, Furutech internal wiring, plus gold plated Mundorf binding posts. Of course VAC's Statement 450 was well up to the task as their cost-no-object tour de force with 450 watts and VPI's Titan worked together to produce truly reference sound quality. VPI's Titan turntable is so very, very delicious as it handles upwards of three tonearms(!) of any make or length. Here the company chose machined acrylic/aluminum/acrylic sandwich for chassis and VPI's very special pneumatic air-suspension isolation footers. Analog for the win here and bravo! See Enjoy the Music.com's world premiere reviews of the VAC Renaissance Preamplifier Mk V With MM/MC Phono Stage here and review of Gershman Acoustics Grande Avant Garde Loudspeakers here.
Another truly outstanding room was Nagra Audio! Of course with street and recording studio cred of being perhaps the very best in the field, Nagra Audio always seems to rise to the occasions. During AXPONA 2018 they had another full-on system with HDPREAMP, HDAMP monoblocks amplifier and HDDAC package with MPS power supply ($86,000, $59,500, and $31,000 respectively). Kharma elegance DB-11S speakers ($54,000) and Argento Cables with Grand Prix rack rounded out this display. Within another room the same front-end Nagra gear was mated with a VPS phono stage ($8000) with IV-S reel to reel and Dohmann Helix 1 turntable / Phasemation PP-2000 phono cartridge worked as front-end duties. Of course an Aurender W20 was an excellent choice as were Kubala*Sosna Emotion cables and Modulum stands. Overall, as you'd expect, this was among the very Best Sound At AXPONA 2018. With great music source files, top-flight gear and expertly setup, am continually impressed by the capabilities of Nagra Audio equipment. Considering the company has many decades of excellent in the field and recording studios, one expects nothing less than musical brilliance.
More AXPONA 2018 coverage coming tomorrow. As always, enjoy the music!