Overture Room: Technics’ SL-1000RE-S turntable, Van Den Hul Master Signature Cartridge and Grail SB Phono Preamp, Magico M2 Loudspeakers, Esoteric Grandioso C1 Preamplifier and Grandioso M1 Amplifiers, Shunyata Cables, HRS Racks, Artnovation Room Tuning

I saved the Overture room for last because for me and my taste, this room had the best sound at CAF 2019. It had the best sound because Technic’s US rep Bill Voss, has evolved into a master DJ and product elucidator. Bill was showcasing Technics’ new SL-1000RE-S turntable to brilliant effect. The word-on-the-street is, the SL-1000RE-S is in the running for some kind of Best Turntable Ever award, and I can believe it.

With every record Bill Voss played, I could feel the SL-1000RE-S forcing the system to ‘power the room’ and, when that happens, music sounds very there. Bill played some seriously cool records including (hold on to your hats) Volume 4 of a 45rpm 1980 Technics “test” record called Audio Inspection. Tracks on this LP were so beautifully-dense and well-toned I found it unbelievable that anyone could fall for digital after hearing analogue sound like this. And then there was the 1960 mono LP that made me cry and shake: Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Country Hits . . . Feeling Blue on Capitol. Then Bill played this record that I am sure every audiophile once owned My Brother Sings by Chet Atkins (RCA LM-5496). I was told, this disc was the first RCA Living Stereo issue. And that Chet’s guitar pick-up wired three strings to the left channel and three to the right. But those are all street-rumors.

Most amazing to me, was how these killer LPs were directing the $11,995 Van Den Hul Master Signature phono cartridge to the Van Den Hul Grail SB phono preamplifier ($18,250), to the $38k Esoteric Grandioso C1 two-chassis preamplifier, to the $44k/pair Grandioso M1 mono amps powering the $63,600/pair Magico M2 loudspeakers.

Equipment racks were by HRS. Audio cables, power cables, and AC conditioning were by Shunyata. Room-tuning was by Artnovation. And yes . . .

This is a lot of scratch to play some old black discs, right? And this Esoteric-Magico stuff is pretty far from my DIY roots, right? But what I heard from those records really and truly made me feel good. Made me happy to be an LP-loving audiophile. Made me feel like I was hanging with Tennessee Ernie and Chet.

Made me hope to see you meet you and great you at next year’s CAF. Until then here is me and the King together in Rockville, MD.

Elvis has left the building.

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