VPI Turntable, Audio-Technica Cartridge, Krell Integrated Amp, Gershman Speakers, Nordost Cables

July 3, 2023 0 By JohnValbyNation

Another room where the sound warmed the cockles of my heart was hosted by Gershman Acoustics, Krell, and VPI. There, I re-met Gershman Acoustics’ Ofrah and Eli Gershman (in the photo above), whom I see regularly at the Montreal Audio Fest—is there a harder working husband-and-wife team working the audio show circuit?—and had the pleasure to meet for the first time Krell’s congenial COO Walter Schofield. The gang (minus VPI’s Mat Weisfeld, who’s often in the picture but wasn’t this time) was demoing a system that was another of my show highlights. The players: VPI HW40 Anniversary turntable with Fatboy tonearm ($US15,000) and Audio Technica AT-ART MC 1000 cartridge ($USD5000), VPI Voyager phono ($USD2000), Krell’s 150Wpc (the first 90 watts in class-A) K300i integrated amplifier ($USD7000), Gershman Audio’s Grand Studio ll loudspeakers ($CAD11,900/pair), and Nordost cabling. Having seen the Studio lls at a previous audio show, at first glance I assumed the “Royal” version consisted of two lls stacked together, but nope; while both top and bottom speaker sections use identical enclosures, their inverted driver array required that a unique crossover be developed for each.

I admit to my tube bias when it comes to amplification, but I’ll say this: Neither the Goerner Audio/Grandinote system I reported on earlier, nor the system being described in this report, both of which used solid-state amplification, sounded anything but unconditionally musical. In fact, the Toronto show has made me believe that it’s true, for real this time, that the sound of solid-state and tube amplification is converging to the point that both approaches can result in sound that is audibly indistinguishable from one another.

This Gershman/Krell/VPI system hit all the right buttons for me: velvety flow, bloom, beauty, layered soundstage, natural sound, detail, and even ribcage-rattling bass. (I felt it!)

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