Show attendees can be gruff, show exhibitors grouchy. Add a pandemic and things can get touchy. But if there’s one man you want to see at an audio show, it’s the ever-chilled Jeff Joseph, who gets my nomination for the calmest, best natured manufacturer in high-end audio.
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Jeff Joseph, AudioShield, Now Listen Here, and Transparent Cable brought to the Capital Audiofest the VPI HW-40 Turntable ($20,000), VPI phono preamp prototype ($TBD), VPI Shyla MC ($1750) phono cartridge, EMM Labs DA2 DAC ($30,000), EMM Labs NS1 Streamer ($4500), Innuos Zen Server ($2999), EMM Labs PRE preamplifier ($25,000), EMM Labs MTRX2 monoblock amplifiers ($85,000/pair), Joseph Audio Pearl 20/20 Graphene loudspeakers ($37,999/pair), and Transparent Audio Reference Powerisloator conditioner ($7295). Transparent Audio Reference cables were used throughout the system, including Generation 6 speaker cables ($8500/pr), RCA ($3400/pr) and XLR ($6000/pr) interconnects, phono ($3400) and power cords ($2745). Digital music was Qobuz and local files streamed via an iPad.
Playing Prince’s “The Undertaker,” this rig imaged like mad, the Purple One’s wah-wahed guitar floating above the speakers like giant slices of tender fruit. Good front-to-back soundstage scaling and excellent snap, punch, and power made me listen here, now, to the max.