By Srajan Ebaen


Which brings us to our last room in this "Silk Class" category of sound whose overriding attribute, as a group, was mellifluousness: The Alon by Acarian/DeHavilland display.


In a room far smaller than either of the previous entrants but cleverly maximized via a diagonal setup, the overall scale of the presentation was naturally reduced, and the far more modest front-end of the $2,500 Sony SCD-777ES and $1,500 CAL Alpha 24/96 DAC not quite as refined and transcendental as the Meitner and RingDAC units. Still, the essential quality of raw silk was palpable, with a free-floating diaphanous soundstage and excellent low-level ambience retrieval. Amplification was by DeHavilland Electric Amplifier Company whose George Kielczymski sits in front of their $3,000 SuperVerve Octal Tube Preamplifier and the $6,000 Aries 845-G SET monos. Loudspeakers were Carl Marchisotto's Alon by Acarian $8,000 Lotus Elite Signature with Alnico magnets, the latter an expensive boon of distinction said to be particularly well suited to bring out the best in triode amplification. That's certainly what it sounded like. Chrome-dome Wes Phillips [right] entered a few minutes later and looked so slimmed down that Mrs. Marchisotto barely recognized him. Wes' large pirate's earring put my little turquoise jobbie to shame and could have caused undue attention in the city's active Castro district. Is membership in that club indicated by the left or right ear? Darn, I could be in trouble if I don't sort this out soon. But judging from Wes' happy facial expression during a female vocal track he'd brought, I gather he enjoyed this presentation as much as I did.


"Jerzy the K" of de Havilland

I'd be remiss not to mention PranaWire Cable System's contribution to the outstanding results here. Still, a look at the final tally ($42,500 for the complete system, $21,500 for the cables alone) makes me question how many consumers would be apt to spend 50% of their budget on the wiring alone. I appreciate how Prana's Joe Cohen wanted to show off his best efforts. Still, I prefer to keep things in perspective. Assemble a system whose financial balance reflects the pervasive logic of the real world.

This concludes my special-attention picks in the Silk category. To be sure, separating sound into distinct classes is an exercise in lunacy (and thus perfectly legit on the 6 moons). Still, it's a useful metaphor to hint at the tacit flavors that distinguished certain presentations. It's also a convenient means whereby to separate between certain personal favorites. Men, as you know, like to have their cake and eat it, too. Multiple choice. We're such floozies ...

Complete report at