"The Vinnie Rossi BRAMA Integrated Amplifier ($38,995), a true beauty in form and function according to my tastes, made its debut at last year’s Axpona and I was thrilled, thrilled!, to spend time together again, this time with the stunning Rockport Atria II Loudspeakers ($38,000/pair), an MSB Premier DAC ($27,500), and Innuos Statement Server (starts at $16,700 ). I took a trip to Goodwin’s High End back in 2021, the purpose of my 2-day visit being to spend time with Rockport speakers, and I was mightily impressed then and now—this simple system sounded like a match made in HiFi Heaven."
--Michael Lavorgna of Twittering Machines
"Vinnie Rossi brought two of his $39,000 Brama integrated amplifiers to AXPONA 2023. One wound up in the Innuos room, and it sounded fantastic. The other room was manned by Vinnie, and it included Rockport speakers. Both rooms sounded exquisite."
--Marc Phillips of Part Time Audiophile
"When I first met up with Rajiv and Ray, one of the first rooms they mentioned was the Innuos, Transparent, MSB, Vinnie Rossi, Rockport room. They thought it was one of the best they'd heard. This was great to hear because it's exactly what I thought as well, and neither of us had discussed it prior to seeing each other that day. It was nice to know my hearing and taste wasn't way out in left field, identifying a room nobody else liked. In addition, I know Rajiv and Ray listen for different aspects of sound quality than I do, and we still independently concluded that this room was excellent.
I went back to this room twice, to make certain that what I heard was "real" rather than a fluke or mental lapse on my part (with texts coming in constantly and other distractions, it can happen). Both times I heard the same sonic qualities, with different music, that enabled me to easily say this room was the best at the entire show. It wasn't the most expensive room, biggest room, smallest room, or anything on the ends of the continuum. It was put together with restraint, thought, and perfect system setup."
"Although I’m not a huge fan of the cooler or more neutral tonal color of the Rockports, I believe a lot of what I was hearing was in the capability of the Vinnie Rossi Brama integrated amplifier. This was just from extrapolating what I heard from the only two rooms with this amplifier – so I could be mistaken. It would be interesting to hear them with a pair of Qln speakers.
While listening to Joel Grare & L’ensemble Paris’ “Istanbul – Shanghai – Paris – Istanbul – Shanghai: I. Nihavent,” the ambient sounds immediately captured my attention with its tonal balance, clarity, and depth. The percussion instruments had a remarkable sense of speed and precision, bringing out every nuance of the rhythms, while the strings were natural and inviting, creating the feeling that the performers were right there in the room.
Throughout the track, the soundstage was impressive: it was wide and deep and brought out the full range of the performance. The bass was punchy and articulate, with excellent timing and texture that gave each note a sense of presence. The midrange was smooth and detailed, adding texture and nuance that made the instruments feel more alive. And the treble was airy and extended, with a shimmering quality that added to the sense of space. There was just an extreme amount of grip and control for the entire duration. Not matter how complex the recording got, it never faltered.
Additionally, the system displayed remarkable transient response, allowing each note to sound crisp and clear, even during complex and dynamic passages. The string and percussive section in the middle of the track was especially dynamic and powerful, showcasing the system’s ability to handle demanding material, while the bells in the latter part of the track had remarkable impact and texture. Although not my preference as far as tonal color, the presentation was very impressive.
Now maybe I need to audition the Brama…"
--Jay Luong of Audio Bacon
QLN Prestige 3 / Merason / Qualiton / Gigawatt
"Well Pleased Audio/Video’s room had my full heart at this demonstration! The QLN Prestige 3 speakers($12,000) filled the room with an outstanding soundstage and imaging quality way beyond their petite size. They had all the detail while remaining all day listenable and retaining the toe-tapping musicality. Powering the Prestige 3 was the Qualiton a75i integrated amplifier($9,250) giving the sound that all-so-familiar tube warmth but with the bass tightness and treble clarity of solid-state. Feeding the integrated amplifier was the Merason DAC1 MKII($8,000). This combination was touted by many knowledgeable people at the show as being one of the best displays overall if you are a music-first listener."
--Douglas Moore of The Sound Advocate
"I’ve got to admit, the high-end “value” contenders were tougher to find. But this room stood out as one of the top experiences for me. I’ve observed that whenever a Qln loudspeaker is part of the setup, I just can’t resist spending some extra time there. It’s no wonder that Well Pleased AV took home Best of Show at THE SHOW 2022 with their Qln bookshelf and Nagra electronics – this system was extraordinary.
As Victor Wooten’s “Miller Time” began, I was instantly struck by the exceptional musicality. The sound was rich, cohesive, and downright funky – I found myself nodding my head and tapping my feet, just jamming to the beat. Every instrument was a treat to listen to, from the bass and electric guitar to the keyboard and drums. The kicks had a authoritative and punchy quality, never overshadowing the other elements, while the string resonances were perfectly timed with just the right amount of decay in the room.
What truly brought the live performance to life were the authentic cheers and whistles from the audience, particularly at the track’s end. It felt like I was right there, immersed in the crowd and enjoying the show. Even the cymbals sparkled and shimmered, without ever interfering with the melody. I could effortlessly picture the musicians having a blast on stage, and I was captivated by the sound.
This system easily ranked among the most unforgettable experiences at the show, and I believe this track perfectly highlighted the magic of this setup. Major kudos to Mark Sossa for creating such a phenomenal room."
--Jay Luong of Audio Bacon
Hegel and Shunyata
"“Where are you headed?” a colleague and friend asked.
“Hegel.” I responded
“Oh, good. You’re going to like it. Sounds great.”
I did and it did, like it and thought it sounded great. The Hegel H30A Reference Power Amplifier ($19,000) / P30A Preamplifier ($8995) combo drove a pair of Clarisys Audio Minuet planar speakers ($33,800)."
--Michael Lavorgna of Twittering Machines
"The mids of the Clarisys Minuet Neos, through the $9k Hegel P30A preamps and $19k PH30A stereo power amp, were also pretty neutral, and also very pleasing. The speed of the high frequencies from the ribbons, however, are downright fantastic. (Source material was covered by a discontinued Hegel HD30 streamer and DAC.) While I cannot wait to get a pair home for a proper review, I strongly believe that everyone should take a listen to this stunning new line as soon as possible."
"The Hegel P30A ($8995) and H30A ($18,995) reference pre/power combo were part of a masterful system that included a pair of Clarisys Audio Minuet ($33,800) speakers. The H30A amp, introduced last summer, is designed to run as a Mono amp (1100w/8 ohms), but it can also run as a stereo amp, which is how it was used at the show. According to the Hegel rep, they were supposed to have two power amps on hand for the system, but this particular amp is selling so well they could only get one.
Despite only having one power amp, the system sounded excellent, with remarkable dynamics and clarity. I was very impressed with the Minuet speaker. I couldn’t believe how much bass came from the panel arrangement! Very nice system."
--Paul Cash of Hi-Fi Trends
"Perlisten brought a couple of killer setups this year. One room had their acclaimed S7t speakers, which are always a joy to hear. It was not exactly a shocker that the S7ts completely rocked, given that they remain one of the best all-around loudspeakers that I have ever reviewed. In Perlisten’s other room, they had a pair of R5m speakers running alongside some R210s subwoofers. Of course, this system also sounded superb; at a lower cost than the S7t speakers, but with the added flexibility of powered subs, it makes a serious case for itself against the S7t speakers for those deciding on a Perlisten setup."
--James Larson of Audioholics
"Then there was the room with my beloved Perlisten S7t tower speakers ($19990/pair). These are on my “handful of speakers I would kill for” list. But these particular models were wearing a fancy new suit, namely, a walnut one in a handsome satin finish. There is little I can say about these speakers that I haven’t already said. Probably one of the most advanced passive loudspeakers available. Sonically, they do it all and do it exceeding well. The only way (in my mind) they could be made better is if they were made active. “Cough, hello Dan? Cough… Cough!”