Sound investment

The cutting edge in home audio goes retro

Variety Weekend spent an afternoon at last week’s Home Entertainment Show looking for the cutting edge in home audio, only to discover that the high end can be found in vinyl and vacuum tubes.

Continuum Audio Labs Caliburn Turntable

Audio Research Reference CD7 Vacuum Tube CD Player-Transport

Continuum Audio Labs Caliburn Turntable
$89,999
Audio Research Reference CD7 Vacuum Tube CD Player-Transport
$8,995
Devised with 3-D artificial intelligence and “worth every cent,” according to our HES guide, Stereophile’s Michael Fremer. We can vouch that the Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice” he recorded from it sounded damn good, but worth $90K? In any case, the tonearm and stand are included.
Continuumaudiolabs.com
So you want to play CDs, but you’re still not comfortable with those newfangled transistors? Meet the Reference CD7, which gives you digital sound via familiar 100-year-old technology. Its seven vacuum tubes produce a serious improvement over even its own highly regarded solid-state CD player. Audioresearch.com

VTL Siegfried Reference Monoblock Amplifier

Vandersteen Model 5A Loudspeakers

VTL Siegfried Reference Monoblock Amplifier
$45,000
Vandersteen Model 5A Loudspeakers
$16,900/pair
With its metallic casing and 175-pound heft, the Siegfried amp demands attention, particularly from whoever is hauling it into your living room. You’ll need a pair — one for each speaker. But the payoff is 800 watts per channel of sparkling, natural sound produced by a stable of glowing vacuum tubes. Keep in mind these are power amps only, so you’ll need the matching preamp.
Vtl.com
Make room if you’re looking to replace those diminutive BOSE speakers. Vandersteen’s 5A loudspeaker stands as tall as a fifth-grader and weighs as much as two of them. Though this speaker strives for clarity over earth-shaking low-end, it happens to include a 400-watt powered subwoofer in case the neighbors don’t know who’s boss.
Vandersteen.com

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