Pacific Jazz Records ST-61 / Blue Note Records B0033487-01
Musical Performance: ****½
Sound Quality: ****½
Overall Enjoyment: ****½
When jazz trumpeter, arranger, and composer Gerald Wilson died in 2014, at the age of 96, he was celebrated as a great and important American musician. He had received many accolades throughout his later years. In 1990, the National Endowment for the Arts named Wilson an NEA Jazz Master, and various other awards came to him in the years that followed. Over his long career, a number of his recordings were nominated for Grammy Awards.
The Kodo experience
As the culmination of our July tour of the Gryphon Audio Designs facility in Aarhus, Denmark, my wife, Andrea, and I, along with Abigail and Ian, our daughter and son, entered a brand-new Gryphon listening room—a space that had recently been renovated by the company. On demo was the mighty Kodo speaker system, a four-tower design. Not only is the Kodo the flagship of Gryphon’s current speakerverse, it’s the largest loudspeaker system the company has ever produced. The ones we would be listening to were Soul Red Crystal, and they retail for $360,000 per four-tower system (all prices USD).
Please see the accompanying profile on Perlisten Audio founder Dan Roemer.
Perlisten Audio debuted in 2020—seemingly out of nowhere—in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The S Series, rolling five models deep, was less of a first draft than a polished finished article. It features the flagship four-way S7t floorstander ($17,990 per pair; all prices in USD), the four-way S7c center speaker ($8495), the three-way S5m standmount ($12,990 per pair), the three-way S4b bookshelf speaker ($7990 per pair), and the S4s surround speaker ($7590 per pair). As this review was being written, Perlisten added a sixth model, the smaller three-way S5t floorstander ($13,990 per pair), to the S-Series lineup. Each model comes in standard Piano Black and Piano White finishes, with wood veneers available for a surcharge. The company’s loudspeakers boast cutting-edge technology, including bespoke, hand-built drivers—none of that off-the-shelf nonsense that many other ultra-high-end companies use—and a unique DPC array that differentiates itself from most everything else on the market (more on the DPC array below). Perlisten has also released four sealed subwoofers that leverage its own driver and amplifier designs. I jumped at the opportunity to hear for myself what this upstart hi-fi firm has to offer.
The first leg
If you pay attention to the news, you’ve no doubt been alarmed if you have travel plans booked that involve multiple flights and tight connections. The number of flight cancelations reported in the past several months is enough to make even the most seasoned travelers nervous—especially if you have a tight itinerary booked once you arrive at your destination. When my wife, Andrea, and I made arrangements to travel to Europe in July with our two teens—Abigail, 17, and Ian, 16—we experienced some skepticism that it would all work out, particularly since we had a packed schedule once we landed.
In early 2020 I had the good fortune to review EMM Labs’ DV2 DAC-preamplifier ($30,000), and despite my efforts, I struggled to find fault with it. Consequently, the DV2’s fit, finish, and performance remain the benchmark against which I compare all components of its ilk, including the subject of this review, Linn’s next-generation Klimax DSM ($39,000 when configured as DSM AV, see below, all prices USD). Unlike the DV2, a digital-only preamplifier equipped with a SOTA volume control and a world-class DAC, Linn’s Klimax DSM offers features beyond the scope of the DV2, including analog inputs, two control apps, onboard lossless streaming, and onboard room-correction software. Linn’s reimagined Klimax DSM is by far the most complex, feature-laden audio component I’ve ever reviewed.
Verve Records / Acoustic Sounds / UMe V6-8613/B0033124-01
Musical Performance: ****
Sound Quality: ****½
Overall Enjoyment: ****½
When Verve Records and Acoustic Sounds reissued Bill Evans’s Trio 64 on vinyl in July 2021, it was originally intended to be released simultaneously with a second Evans title on Verve, Trio ’65. Supply chain issues, along with increased demand at pressing plants, caused schedule changes for many labels, and Verve was no exception. Trio ’65 was delayed, and finally made its appearance as part of the Verve / Acoustic Sounds reissue program on July 1, 2022, a year later than planned.
Joining Jeff Fritz on this episode of SoundStage! Talks is Hans-Ole Vitus, CTO and founder of AVA Group A/S—parent company to Vitus Audio. Vitus, as he’s known, discusses his transition from CEO to CTO, the new Vitus Audio website, and the three product lines Vitus Audio produces: Reference, Signature, and Masterpiece. Vitus also teases what’s coming in 2022 and 2023 in terms of new products and updates.
I loved High End 2022, this year’s edition of the largest audio show in the world, which took place from May 19 to 22 in Munich, Germany. It was great to be back after two COVID-19 years at home. The show was a smashing success with lots of product introductions and many terrific-sounding systems. You can read the SoundStage! Network’s coverage of the event, which I contributed to, on SoundStage! Global. Also check out Jonathan Gorse’s “Munich High End 2022: The Cream of Analogue,” published in this space on June 1. Jonathan is a devoted vinyl aficionado and had some favorite analog—um, analogue (Jonathan’s a Brit)—products to tell you about.
This past week a reader wrote to me with a simple question: “Jeff, good morning. Why have you never reviewed Avalon loudspeakers? And thus they do not make it to your ‘Definitive List of Loudspeaker Brands’? Thank you!”
Swordsmiths, samurai, and a little magic
You may be surprised to hear that moving-coil cartridges can trace their origins all the way back to 1946, when Ortofon developed a prototype. Since its commercial launch in 1948, the moving coil (MC) has become firmly established as the ne plus ultra for vinyl replay. The MC market is well served, with major manufacturers like Ortofon and Audio-Technica offering a wide variety of designs ranging in price from $200 to over $1000 (all prices in USD). Despite the scale of such firms and their impressive performance engineering capabilities, there’s another sector of the market that remains primarily the domain of smaller, niche operators.
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