Holo Audio: one of the best dacs ever? J Atkinson, H Reichert, S Deckert, M Lavorgna, GoldenSound, D Abramson and the Stereophile reviewers think so. Stereophile A+ and POY 2020

The European distributor just increased the price of the May KTE to 6000 Eur. I paid 5500 Eur around 6 months ago. That’s almost 10% less. I was expecting some inflation when I pulled the trigger, but not that much.

The US price also increased recently.

Inflation in audio is big, unfortunately for us audiophiles.

I wonder if the impact is the same for European, US and Asian brands? Overall inflation rates are higher in the US than Europe at the moment, as is often the case. Don’t know about Asia.

And what about inflation on the used market ?

Inflation and supply chain shortages are happening world wide, and it’s only going to get worse. Buckle up.

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Some of the materials we use in our products have tripled in price in the last 12 months. Buckle up indeed!!

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When you look at the prices of high end gear 25 years ago, even adjusted for inflation, almost nothing was priced in the six figures realm.

Tomorrow, my dealer is showing me Marten Coltrane 3s with CH precision. Total system cost probably close to 500k euros.

Why is inflation in hifi so much higher ?

A few years ago at the NY Audio Show I heard a CH Precision front-end together with Zellaton speakers, Very, very impressive. Relaxed, effortless and detailed. It was my favorite room.

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There is an interesting thread that I just skimmed on Audiogon called: how can a system be judged with highly processed, non acoustic music?

My test tracks are mostly well recorded acoustic music, mostly classical.

I suppose it also depends on what you want from your system, what you optimize it for. My goal is to get as close as possible to the classical and opera concerts I attend, and the sound of my piano. That’s probably why I chose B&W speakers, used to record a lot of classical music (I didn’t know that when I bought them).

Of course, at the end of the day, the goal is to enjoy our music.
But what is your system « optimized » for, and what does your benchmark playlist look like?
@waymanchen11 , @goblue , @magicknow , @Serhan , etc, interested in your thoughts.

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My system is currently pretty engaging when playing classical chamber & acoustic jazz. With full orchestral music, I feel there are limitations, so, use a dedicated headphones setup. I have been mulling speaker upgrade to Dynaudio Confidence series.

I think I heard you say you used to work for McKinsey, so please bear with street chatter:

  1. A benchmark playlist could be used to assess my system and system upgrades in the same room. It could also be used to assess room enhancements using the same system. So, it’s my system vs. my system and my room vs. my room (internal benchmarking)
  2. A benchmark playlist could be used to compare 2 different systems, but on the condition both are in identical rooms. It could also be used to compare one system in two different rooms. (external benchmarking) I bitterly fail on this one.

My preferred benchmark playlist here is 1988 cycle of Beethoven 9 Symphonies & Overtures by Claudio Abbado & Vienna Philharmonic not that it sounds amazing, but simply because I know the whole set by heart.

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By knowing the music well and how it should sound.

Anything can be a reference.

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Just back from my dealer (15 minutes away).
Demo of the Marten Coltrane 3: 125 000 USD in basic version, 139 000 USD in statement version.
Amp and preamp : CH precision, cost about 100 000 USD.
A first picture (my wife took some better ones, I will post them soon).

Previous demos included Focal Utopias driven by Dartzeel, Sonus Faber Aida’s with Macintosh, Magico M6 with Nagra, MartinLogan Neolith, Wilson Alexx driven by Relentless Dags, etc.

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How fun!

Would love to see some more pictures of those Mac amps. I have not seen many of those in the wild.

Cheers.

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Here you go, Scottie. One more picture coming soon.

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That’s quite a system!

SEE

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Warning, audio jewelry/porn coming up soon.

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I’m impressed that your wife is a participant on your audio journey. It’s been many years since mine has been in an audio store. Many years ago she surprised me with a pair of Apogee speakers that I had been admiring. That was thirty years ago. She has moved on to much more practical contributions to me on special occasions. You’re a lucky man.

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Love the looks of those Macintosh’s! I’ll bet it sounds as good as it looks!!

Back to the non acoustic thing. You really don’t have a good reference to how it should sound, so it’s not a good item to use. I want to replicate as much as possible the live event in my living room. If you could be in the recording studio listening to the live event being recorded, that would be the ideal benchmark, and have a copy of that master to bring home to listen to in your own system. But unfortunately few of us has that luxury.

So some of my benchmarks would be to go and listen the San Francisco Symphony playing live at the symphony hall. My son who plays the violin at his school orchestra playing live at the school auditorium. Small bass, violin, viola, ensembles at a local music hall. Of course I can never make my system sound exactly the same even with the same music because of the different space it is played, and the recording equipment used, but it gives me a good feel for the live event that I’m trying to replicate.

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She loves it. She just said: « like we are on a date ».
She just made me go through all the Mahler 5th symphony adagiettos’on Quobuz, to choose her favorite. I am the luckiest man on earth …

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impressive. What is the little black stack at the left of the top shelf? Looks like Bel Canto’s $64k stack (before tax/vat).

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Thanks @Serhan for your input earlier. And guilty as charged, as far as my previous employer.

Yes, you are right, Bel Canto.

And wait until you see the rest.

Unfu&&ing believable what they had on the floor.
More Macintosh, Gryphon, Aries Cerat, etc.

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So …
Her verdict is Neeme Jarvi and Karajan for the Mahler adagietto.
I have to agree : fantastic base on the plucked strings, wonderful crescendo to the climax.
I am still waiting for her photos of the jewelry / porn audio …

Here you go, enjoy, my friends …
300 k usd gear to listen to, and 5 times that much on the floor.
The sound?
In one word, amazing.
The largest soundstage I have ever heard.
Dynamics to wake up the dead.

r

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