Phone 415-897-8884 / email
and T.H.E. Show 2003
of the most moving musical experiences I've ever had, and not just at
a show, came in the Cain & Cain/electron luv/Pranawire room. A ModWright
signature Philips SACD 1000 ($1250) handed off to the new $5,000 electron
luv Globe-10 tube based Parafeed line stage, which then passed the signal
to the $35,000 pair of electron luv 75 TL Monobloc amplifiers which were
in turn driving the new $4,750, 97 dB efficient Cain & Cain Single Horn
BEN with super tweeter. The most unique cables I've come across in some
time, the Pranawire Nataraja series pure silver ribbon interconnects ($3,450/2
meter) and speaker cables ($3,450/2 meter), rounded out this remarkably
musical, though not flawless, system. The synergy was extraordinary.
Looking as much like a MOMA exhibit as an electro-mechanical reproduction system, in some ways, this was one of the most remarkable sounding systems I've ever spent time with Housed in an art-deco chassis made of handcrafted stainless steel and copper, the 8-watt electron luv 75 TL uses mercury-vapor quad-mono power supplies and directly heated triode tubes. The eerie blue glow of the Western Electric 354 and 872 mercury vapor rectifiers, the subtle contrasts of the steel and copper and the highly polished, sculpted chassis make for one of the most visually commanding amplifiers ever witnessed by this 30 year veteran. Oh, and they sounded pretty damn good too!
Joe Cohen, owner and designer of the Pranawire products, and I spent a great deal of time listening late Sunday afternoon and early evening. I imposed upon Joe's good nature by asking him play any number of tracks from my library, including the entire Presto from the Solti/CSO Beethoven's 9th Symphony [London 430-438-2]. This system simply nailed the body of and air around instruments and beautifully revealed the harmonic balance throughout the crucial midrange. With Stephen Still's guitar on "Treetop Flyer," the body of instrument, the rise of the pluck of the strings and the palpability of his voice, were completely riveting. During the entire 25 minutes of the 4th movement from Beethoven's Ninth, Joe, myself and one other show-goer sat rapt in our seats, with only an occasional glance of awe shared with the others. The string section, the horns and the vocalists came to life in that small hotel room for that briefest of moments. It was one of the most enchanting musical experiences it has ever been my pleasure to witness.
Joe described it best in an email to me some days later. "I think what we live for as audiophiles are those moments when everything comes together and all thoughts of equipment are gone - when we are incapable of judging, because we are staring into the mind of the composer, who was staring into the mind of God."