TAF2023: J.Sikora, Nagra, Gryphon, Audio Nec, Nordost, Modulum Audio

TAF2023: J.Sikora, Nagra, Gryphon, Audio Nec, Nordost, Modulum Audio


Prices listed in CA$.

Another room that served up incredible sound was that of retailer Bliss Acoustics, whose demo included a J.Sikora Reference turntable ($64,500) fitted with a KV Max 9″ tonearm ($16,450) and Nagra Reference cartridge ($24,500), a Nagra Classic preamplifer ($24,000), a Nagra Classic phono stage ($26,000), a Gryphon Essence stereo amplifier ($32,480), a Gryphon Ethos DAC/CD player ($55,720), and a pair of modular Audio Nec Evo 2 loudspeakers (58,500). Cables and stands were by Nordost and Modulum Audio Arkitek, respectively.

With vinyl as the source (I didn’t hear the CD player in action), this system delivered sound that was substantial, intimate, natural, and harmonically complex, with an uber-transparency that offered a vivid view on the musical proceedings. It made the performance on a 60-year-old jazz recording sound very close to the real thing. The soundstage was wide and well-defined, and projected music toward me in a pattern that felt similar to how live music is projected.

At one point, absorbed in the music and the moment, I thought to myself, “If I had the scratch, this system would be on my list of systems I could live with for the rest of my life.” That says a lot more than any words I could use to describe its sonic attributes.

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