MoFi Turntable, Cartridge and Phono Stage, Rogue Integrated Amplifier, Heed DAC, Wharfedale speakers, Audience cabling

With so many megabuck rooms fattening the floors of CAF 2019, it’s easy to miss the smallish, sub-$10,000 systems making absolutely first rate sound. One such room was manned by MoFi’s Jon Derda: the Tenacious Sound/MoFi/Quad room.

After leaving Greg Roberts’ superb Volti Audio room, a Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar solo pulled me into Tenacious Sound lair across the hall, and there they were: the Wharfedale Linton speakers recently reviewed by Herb Reichert ($1199/pair, plus $300 for the stands). The Lintons remind me of my old Spendor1/2s: similar fatboy dimensions and equally room-filling sound. I’ve seen the Lintons many times at my hi-fi local (Greenwich Village’s In Living Stereo) but never had a chance to hear them. Now’s my chance, I thought.

Feeding the Wharfedales: Microsoft Surface Pro running Qobuz, Heed Audio Abacus DAC ($1199), MoFi UltraDeck turntable ($1999), MoFi MasterTracker MM cartridge ($799), MoFi UltraPhono phono stage ($499), NEW Rogue Sphinx v3 100wpc integrated amplifier with phono stage ($1595). Also in the room: NEW Wharfedale EVO 4.2 speakers ($999/pair), Solidsteel SS-5 speaker stands ($499/pair), Isotek Corvus power conditioner ($999), Audience Ohno Interconnects 1M ($200/pair) and Audience Ohno speaker cables 2.5M ($623/pair).

After a high dollar audio meal, budget-friendly rooms can be an anemic comedown. Not so the Tenacious Sound room.

After the ubiquitous SRV, Derda played a stream of jazz singer Karen Allyson. The sound immediately took me with its purity, solid imaging, and low-end warmth. Derda had the speakers pushed together at an unusual distance—closer to each other than to the listener—but the music locked in: smooth, extended, and punchy. Another digital track, jazz singer Jose James covering Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine,” presented a wide, deep soundstage with drummer Nate Smith’s cymbals fluttering, rolling and completely natural. Sara Bareilles’s “Love Song” jumped and popped via the Heed Abacus, Rogue Sphinx II, and Wharfedale Lintons. The Wharfdale EVO 4.2s were all about energy, forward motion, and spectacular imaging.

More ubiquitous hi-fi show music arrived via Dire Straits on vinyl, but I didn’t mind. Heck, this buzzed and brawled hard, Knopfler’s guitar charging the room with good dynamics and a little sibilance but wide-stage sound.

Here was a natural-sounding, dynamic, easy-to-enjoy, thoroughly musical system costing approximately $6900, not including cables. Excellent sound and your wallet remains partly full.

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