b¬äd†ødd

Dedicated to design and performance of databases and audio systems.

Fidelis Open House May 3, 2014

Fidelis AV, the high-end audio store in the area, held an open house Saturday, May 3rd. Bob, Karen's father, was interested in attending as well, so I picked him up at noon and we set off for Nashua, NH. It's about an hour's ride for the 1:00 event.

Scheduled to present were Brian Zolner from Briscasti, Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio, and John Marks of Stereophile. Walter Swanbon of Fidelis AV always puts on a great event. If you are into audio, you owe it to yourself to attend one.

Brian Zolner started off the demonstration by introducing the updated version of his Briscasti M1 DAC. I have heard the DAC before and it is phenomenal. The latest version will also decode DSD (e.g. SACD) in addition to PCM (i.e. CD and hi-rez downloads). The M1 retails for ~$8,900 so it is out of my price range until the lottery train rolls up to the front door.

Brian also brought a pair of large mono-block amps--the M28's. They output 200W into an 8-ohm load and 400W into 4-ohms. Retail is ~$29,000. Hmmm. Who needs retirement? Work instead until I'm 75? LOL The amps were extremely clean sounding and very authoritative with the bass. I guess for $30K they should be. New car or a pair of mono-block amps? I wonder if I can finance them? ;-)

John Marks demonstrated to his one-thousand years of music via about 18 pieces. Starting off with monk chants, moving to the classical of Mozart, American Jazz with Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and others. Everything sounded utterly fantastic as you would expect. However, when you considered that all of the music played was Red Book 16-bit/44.1KHz CD resolution, except for a couple of pieces, it was all the more amazing. In watching an interview of Brian Zolner on YouTube he states that the M1 oversamples 8x to 352.8KHz (i.e. 44.1KHz * 8). I wasn't a math major, but know that the DAC sounds incredible.

After a break, Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio demonstrated the Wilson Sasha Series-2. A beautiful sounding speaker that is built like a tank. 185 pounds each. They will truly make them in any color you specify--black is now the least popular color. On the lottery end: another $29K.

Their range was astounding. One piece played was a Toni Braxton studio recording that was raw and not processed. Peter is a recording engineer in addition to being part of the Wilson Audio family. The bass extension was incredibly low and clean. Kudos must be given to the Fidelis AV guys too--the room was arranged very well.

Peter described how they set up their speakers. The professionals come to your house, take measurements, decide on the appropriate set of spikes to use, and then adjust the tweeter/midrange unit of the speakers to the optimum angle for you.

While $29K is out of my league, what really blows my mind is that there are many other levels of their product up. The next set goes for $56K, and another for $210K. Wow. A house or some speakers?

It's like going to a high-end car show. I appreciate a Ferrari and love to look at them. But listening to the Wilsons was actually like getting to ride in the Ferrari. The only problem was that we were on roads that I was unfamiliar with. It wasn't exactly like I could ask Mr. McGrath to put on my 24-bit/88KHz digital Rolling Stones Let It Bleed album. However, he did play a track from Keith Richards' 1992 Main Offender. Thank you, Peter. Now I can truly relate to the music. wow. Wow! WOW!

Note to self: Get me out of here before I decide to hold off retirement until 2038.

I must say though, Fidelis AV has a lot of great equipment for different budgets. I have bought new equipment there and used as well. They always seem to have a good deal and a good selection of vinyl.

Bob enjoyed the day. All in all, a trip to the ear-candy store is always a great time. :-)

Cheers
-Brad