Off the Scale Brilliant System (No Really!!) – apparently

Well I was phoned by a fellow wammer who said that he had a system that I might be interested in hearing. Parts of the system was on loan and without doubt it is one of the best that the company offers. Well what could I say but 'you bet ya........'

Around I go and was shown some brilliant hospitality, thanks Kevin F.

So before describing the system let me describe what I heard.

Firstly the overall system had superb scale and dynamics which was not what I was expecting. It only produces 20 or so watts with a following wind. But we were soon filling the room with ground shaking bass. I know the speakers were very efficient but this was weird.

Without doubt this was one of the most natural, neutral and dynamic sounding systems I have ever heard. Sometimes that can mean neutral and boring, this was the exact opposite. In fact on well recorded CDs/vinyl the overall sound of this system was the closest I have ever heard to master tape. I have heard master recordings (tape and digital) twice and when played they have superb dynamics and a very natural sound. Not brilliant dynamics with a distorted frequency response and a boosted mid-range. But total neutrality with full dynamics. The coherence of the music and the musical message is exceptional. After about half an hour I had given up analysing and listening and just started to listen to the music and the music message. I know every one says that about systems but this system was easy and infectious, a bit like real life.

Doing the hifi thing. The bass was superb. It was very, very deep with excellent articulation and it was easy to hear the different drums skins, tension on the bass drum, the damping used. Bass guitars were very natural and yet it was easy to hear the differences in bass strings with some people using metal strings and others strings wrapped. And bass pedals, they were just so powerful and literally filled the room. The bass was different to that from my Krell 600s. The Krell has tight deep and powerful bass but it can be a bit stiff and does not flow. With this system the bass just flowed and allowed really complex bass tunes to come through and make sense. Which is the more real?? This system's bass sounded like the real thing more often than the Krell. I have noticed that if you connect a bass guitar and play it, it always sounds so powerful and I have not heard anything like that on a hifi system. My God on this system it gets bloody close.

OK mid range. This is where all the information is and here we go again.....very natural and dynamic. Interestingly, human voices were exceptional and a real class leader. Not only very human but it has a very 3D image. Not the super sharp images of SS but a very real, lifelike image. I hear with the Krell fantastic detail on human voices, all the detail of the singer, spittle, tongue technique (oo er missus!!) but this system allows you to hear a real person and what they are singing. Not the words as both amps do that but the emotion. Joe Jackson Jumping Jive is a bloody fun record which is easy to hear on the valves. The details on SS is exceptional and it can sound hyper real but not natural and human like. Maybe not all that fine 'impressive detail but what was the music about.

OK the top end......er......dynamic and very natural. Cymbals rang naturally, it was easy to hear how cymbals were being hit, where on the cymbal and the subtlety in playing. The number of times someone whacked a drum and made me jump was high. I get it with the Krell and ARCs but not this often and powerfully.

So what is the downside...well let me describe the system. The front end was vinyl and Audionote CD 3 transport, Audionote DAC 4.1X, Audionote M8, Audiote Kegon Balanced monoblocks (yep the big ones) and the best Audionote Es made with ferrite magnets. Yes it is expensive and yes it generates a bit of heat. But boy oh boy does it deliver the goods. Can the guy who has it buy it (nope it is too expensive) and the same for me but it really is off the scale brilliant.

If you feel you want to go to heaven without the dying thing in-between then this is a way of doing it. Possibly a once in a lifetime event as I doubt this system can be easily reconstructed elsewhere (apart from a happy owner buying one) but boy was it worthwhile and as it was in a great room it performed well.

Thanks KevinF...................

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