Acoustic Zen

New York Audio Show - 2016

Living Acoustics/Acoustic Zen with Merrill Audio, VAS Audio, VPI Industries & Wyred4Sound.

There was an interesting combination of pricey as well as more affordable gear in this room. It all came together beautifully though and produced among the better sound at the show.

I was particularly intrigued by the new VPI turntable, the Avenger Reference with magnetic drive assembly ($25'000 as outfitted with two JMW 12-inch 3DR tonearms and SDS controller). Its top platter is magnetically suspended over the belt-driven sub platter to provide isolation and performance that I was told closely approaches the top-line VPI Direct Drive.

Just a week before, an audio friend had told me about the VAS Audio Citation Sound 2 tube mono amps ($3'500/pr) being used in this room. Surprisingly, I learned that Steve Leung based in New Jersey, designer of these amps, was also offering his own hand-built moving coil cartridge. Wow! It is called the Nova and there are two versions: 0.8mv output ($1'500) and 0.4mv output ($1'800). Based on the excellent sound, these cartridges would appear to represent some of the best value in moving coil cartridges. Of course, that Merrill Audio phono stage should have contributed mightily at that price. Ditto for the VAS Audio tube amps! 

Completing the system were the Merrill Audio Cara line preamplifier ($3'500), Merrill Audio Jens phono preamplifier ($14'500), Acoustic Zen Crescendo II loudspeakers ($18'000/pr), Wyred4Sound DAC-2 DSDse DAC ($2'549), Wired4Sound MS-2 music server ($2'499), a pair of PS Audio P5 power plants ($3'499/ea.), Acoustic Zen cables and last but not least, a Blue Circle PLC Thingee FX2 power filter.

The total cost of the system was $99,145.

New York Audio Show 2016