We are all adapting to the new normal, for some of us this entails locking ourselves away from the outside world, for others it means donning almost Hazmat suit levels of PPE and persevering and for me it means coming into Oxford Audio on Mondays.
This extreme change has given me the unique opportunity of being much like a proverbial kid in a candy store, locked in a garden of audio-Eden with time on my hands. Today, I was greeted with a system that had been left over from a demonstration on Saturday; Magico A1’s with T+A HV series Amplifier and DAC and a dCS Network bridge. A triumvirate of some of my favourite Hi-Fi , ready to go. For those of you unfamiliar with the brands, dCS make some of the finest digital to analogue convertors and network players, T+A are responsible for the finely engineered HV series that combine solid state reliability and power with valve-esque lushness and and tonal darkness and Magico lead the bleeding edge of loudspeaker design with their exotic drive unit materials and unparalleled cabinet rigidity. If one was to put the three together, you may expect the sound to be rather good, wouldn’t you?
Boldly, I brandished my iPad and played the criminally under-exposed Sophie Hunger and her cover of Noir Desir’s wonderful “le vent nous portera”, the sound exploding into the room with her voice hanging palpably between the speakers. The combination of amp and speakers divvying up both nuance and dynamics simultaneously. I switched to something slightly left of field in Felix’s Laband’s “Miss Teardrop”, here the clean electrobeats took me elsewhere else entirely. The brilliance of the speakers making the xylophone in the recording sound truly realised while delivering the heavy synth-bassline with gusto, the infinite-baffle design of the Magico offering a sense of speed and timing that few reflex designs manage. I managed to squeeze in a few extra tracks between calls and my jaw was truly dropped by Allison Kraus’s “Down to the River to Pray”. The openness of the Magico, the richness of the T+A and the precision of the dCS worked perfectly in unison to conjure Allison directly into the room. I hope that you can forgive me for so many Hi-Fi cliches in a single paragraph but a system of this calibre demands hyperbole.
A great system is about synergy, the strengths of each component complimenting the next and so on. This very much is one of those pairings, each in isolation is extraordinary but combined are so much more than the sum of their parts. I look forwards to bringing you more of my Monday musings over the coming weeks!