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Guilford Audio Annual Hifi Event
#21
Rufus - I think they must have changed the systems 'round a little between my visit in the morning and the afternoon. They were not running the Sasha 2's in the morning, in room 1 they had the new Sabrina's. I hate to be overly critical, especially at shows when hearing unfamiliar recordings in unfamiliar surroundings, but to be honest, I did not like them at all, I thought they had a slightly plastic boxy quality to the sound. I did like the Alexia's a lot though, great detail, realism, speed, accuracy. Coincidentally, I spent some time listening to the same recording you listened to the Extremas, the Nirvana unplugged live album. (Which I enjoyed so much, I bought a copy on line last night!) I too thought that maybe a touch more bass would not have gone amiss, although the depth and accuracy was clearly there. Interestingly, I listened to the Sasha 2's in the same room at the Devialet event last year with D800 amplification, this set up had far more bass impact from what I recall. However, there were aspects of the shear dynamism and realism of the set up that just kept me listening very happily. I wouldn't swap them for my Blades though, and it occurs to me that the Sabrina's are roughly Blade 2 money, but hay, what do I know, and yes, I am clearly biased here. The Blades suit my personal preferences, so I would end up with that conclusion. I did leave wondering what a D800 / Alexia set up might sound like though..... Rather good I would imagine.

I loved the look of the Sonus Faber Liliums, unfortunately they were not running during my visit. I can imagine them selling on looks alone, I would enjoy sitting on a sofa just admiring them, even without connecting to an amplifier.

The star of the show for me? The Klaudio ultrasonic record cleaning machine! Three and a half grand for a record cleaner though? Although I do have an awful lot of not that clean vinyl around the place. Temptations, temptations.
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#22
Rufus, Confused - thanks for the write-ups. Sounds like a good event - I must try to get there next time and meet some of you.
Roon (Mac Mini), Wilson Benesch Full Circle, Sonos ZP90 (Cullen modified), Expert 1000 Pro CI, Kaiser Chiara
Warwickshire, UK
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#23
Here are a few pics. Sorry for some reason I didn't take a pic of the SF Lilium which was a shame as they were absolutely magnificent to look at. 

I agree with Rufus' comments re the Constellation Audio which to my ears at least represents the pinnacle of what can be achieved with amplification. I have now heard them on several occasions (including with my Sasha 2 speakers) and they have never failed to disappoint! The "baby" Inspiration units are in my opinion just as good as the Performance units at a fraction of the cost. Hardly a bargain though but one can always dream. What always strikes me about the Constellation sound is its rich "full" room filling velvety midrange. It's quite thick and organic sounding but also very fast and precise. The bass is on a par with Devialet's SAM, perhaps even better in some respects.

The D'Agostino amps are lovely to look at and do seem to present a very delicate and almost "elegant" sound. Dare I say a more feminine presentation? I know we sometimes describe wines in this manner (for e.g. a Margaux). There is plenty of bass but it seems more measured whereas with my D800 and Sasha 2 it is more visceral. The same could be said with the highs, with the D800 sounding a bit more immediate whereas the DAG is very slightly softer around the edges. Some of this of course may come down to the Audio Research CD9 source but I've heard this DAG characteristic a few times now with different sources. The DAGs do seem to have unlimited reserves of power though and can be played at ear splitting levels. 

The Ex3mas looked awesome in the flesh. They were probably brand new and never before played so the lack of overall coherence didn't surprise me. Having said that I really liked their sound.

   

   

   

Guillaume
Industry disclosure: UK distributor for Shunyata Research

220 PRO, totaldac d1 server with additional external power supply, totaldac d1-seven, Echole PSU for Totaldac, Wilson Audio Sasha 2, Shunyata Research cables, Shunyata Triton v3 + Typhon QR + DPC-6 v3, Various Entreq ground boxes and cables, Entreq Athena level 3 rack, SOtM sNH-10G with sCLK-EX + 10MHz Master Clock input + sPS-500 PSU, i5 sonicTransporter w/ 1TB SSD

UK
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#24
Interesting to me that when I was there the Sabrina's were being demoed on the Constellation Audio amps, and I thought this was the worst sounding room of the four. Each to his own I guess, or maybe I just really didn't like those Sabrina's?
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#25
(19-Apr-2015, 14:42)Confused Wrote: Interesting to me that when I was there the Sabrina's were being demoed on the Constellation Audio amps, and I thought this was the worst sounding room of the four.  Each to his own I guess, or maybe I just really didn't like those Sabrina's?

Well you were there first thing on Saturday morning right? Those amplifiers need a good hour or so to come on song, and perhaps it was the first room you visited? Just a hypothesis, I've no idea really. We really noticed this when we swapped the stereo Constellation in on Saturday evening, for the first half hour the sound was "congested" and a bit closed. It really wasn't great at first. Then you could literally hear the sound change with every track played. After a good hour it was way better. That's one of the advantages of Devialet you don't need to wait ages for the system to sound good.

As far as the Sabrina sound is concerned it is very much the Wilson sound albeit on a more diminutive scale. Given the form factor I was quietly impressed. The other thing is that I doubt those speakers have had 100 of hours on them, they were probably even brand new. Both my pairs of Wilsons took a good 2 to 3 months to settle down requiring repositioning in the room to balance out the changes happening to the sound.

Constellation Audio was used with Magico S3s at the Windsor show and that sound was a highlight for me. Last year at the Guildford Audio show Constellation Centaur mono blocks were used with Sasha 2s and I suppose I was so impressed that I ended up buying a pair of Sasha 2s. I've also heard them at the Absolute Sounds studio paired with Sasha 2s and let's just say it was one of those defining experiences for me.

But you're right; each to his own. Hi-fi is an intensely personal journey and everything we hear and feel is hugely subjective. I also find my tastes evolving all the time. 

Anyway shame we missed you as we could have talked about all this in great detail.  Smile

Guillaume
Industry disclosure: UK distributor for Shunyata Research

220 PRO, totaldac d1 server with additional external power supply, totaldac d1-seven, Echole PSU for Totaldac, Wilson Audio Sasha 2, Shunyata Research cables, Shunyata Triton v3 + Typhon QR + DPC-6 v3, Various Entreq ground boxes and cables, Entreq Athena level 3 rack, SOtM sNH-10G with sCLK-EX + 10MHz Master Clock input + sPS-500 PSU, i5 sonicTransporter w/ 1TB SSD

UK
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#26
Guilaume, your hypotheses may be correct, I think I listened to the Sabrina / Contilation audio combo a little before 10am. I did go back for another listen later and I think maybe it did sound better, however, the music at that time was so far away from anything i would want to listen to I didn't hang around long enough to really tell! After that, I had to race home for a delivery of fence panels, it's a tough life sometimes!
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#27
The Sabrinas did get better. I was pretty unimpressed on the first few tracks but they did get better with different tracks and time. I guess because they're the cheapest in the Wilson range I was allowing for that, but then they're still not exactly what most people would call cheap.
I am Devialetless!  Perhaps temporary?
Nord One SE NC500, Mytek Brooklyn, Melco N1A, Rega RP6/Exact, Raidho C-1.1, Shunyata Denali and cables.
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#28
Oh, I really liked the Olympica IIs as well and was initially quite impressed with the Wadia gear driving them, but when the music got complicated it all got a bit difficult to follow. The sound bleed-through from other rooms didn't help though. I bet those Olympicas could work well with Devialet.
The AR solid state amps (?) with the nice-looking speakers I can't remember the manufacturer of in the second room from the left was really nice too.
I am Devialetless!  Perhaps temporary?
Nord One SE NC500, Mytek Brooklyn, Melco N1A, Rega RP6/Exact, Raidho C-1.1, Shunyata Denali and cables.
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#29
(19-Apr-2015, 12:18)GuillaumeB Wrote: Here are a few pics. Sorry for some reason I didn't take a pic of the SF Lilium which was a shame as they were absolutely magnificent to look at. 

Thanks!  Shame the Ex3mas didn't quite live up to expectations, but they still look great.  As you say, maybe they need a bit of running in.
Roon (Mac Mini), Wilson Benesch Full Circle, Sonos ZP90 (Cullen modified), Expert 1000 Pro CI, Kaiser Chiara
Warwickshire, UK
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#30
Good experience...

I had the chance to listen the Ex3mas here in my dealer and guess what... they sounded their best with D800... I agree, a bit disconnected but the tonality was great. Some insane price though...

And for the D'Agustino's... I never liked them. I paired them with many speakers, but none made me really happy. The integrated amp is a different story though. Very coherent. Very transparent. it was on display here with a pair of TAD CR1s and simply sounded great.

I think I am lucky to have a really crazy distributor here, who lets me play around as I wish Smile It is Extreme Audio in Istanbul with a total of 20 listening rooms in two locations. I also heard the lillium and with correct setup they are a great pair to have.
Kii Three, dCS Network Bridge, Roon Nucleus, Kuzma (Stabi S, 4Point), Soundsmith StrainGauge, Stromtank, Echole Cables 
Istanbul, Turkey
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