Nice report from a recent listening session at Rhapsody

November 9, 2017In News

Nice report from a recent listening session at Rhapsody

Upscale Listening Session

One of the perks of being a reviewer, or in some cases, a member of an audio club, is that we have access to many of the finest audio dealers for private listening sessions. Generally, we get to hear equipment that otherwise, we would only encounter at audio shows.

Several days ago, I was invited to attend just such a listening session at Rhapsody Music and Cinema. Rhapsody is a premier ultra-high-end audio dealer with two showrooms in New York City. The session was hosted by Rhapsody’s genial proprietor, Mr. Bob Visintainer. In attendance were fellow reviewer Marty Appel, and Mike Levy, the owner and principal designer of Alta Audio. For this listening session, his terrific Titanium Hesta speakers were being featured. The complete system was comprised of: The Micro Seiki RX3000 TT ($15K), CEC DAO DAC ($33K), Audio Note Japan Kondo Overture 32 Watt integrated amplifier ($35K), Enklein cabling (from $2K to $3.5K) and the aforementioned Alta Titanium Hestia speakers ($32K, 35K with the optional dedicated VPI footers).

The afternoon was spent listing to everything from Chopin to the GRP All-star Big Band, and everything in between. I was amazed that the 32 WPC Knodo integrated could so totally fill the rather large room with sound. I wasn’t surprised by the Hestias since I’ve heard them easily fill large rooms with fine sound in the past.

With classical music, the sound was very full with solid and dense instrumental timbres. The string sections of a Chopin symphony had a good sense of shimmer and decay. The bass underpinnings were pervasive but never overdone. The large sound room allowed the Hestias to demonstrate their ability to produce extremely good depth. With Cantate Domino, I was easily able to hear the shape of the back of the church where this recording was made. The overall width and height of the stage was most impressive as well. The sound was as close to “being there” as I’ve ever heard. The images within the stage were well-defined in a very natural way. At no time were they etched, nor did they sound like cardboard cut outs. To me, this is one of the characteristics that makes difference between a Hi-Fi sound and a natural sonic presentation.

Big band music was again full, and had excellent tumbrel weight. The brasses had a realism that was very pleasing. Acoustic bass was full and tuneful but never overdone. Here again, the ability of this system to throw a very wide sound stage was greatly appreciated. Overall, the Hestias were very well-behaved and well-balanced from the treble to the bass. No frequency was emphasized over another; There was a complete absence of hardness or stridency., nor were there any other sonic aberrations.

For me, this was a most pleasant afternoon and I’m looking forward to my next visit to Rhapsody Music and Cinema and another encounter with the Alta Audio Hestia loudspeakers.

Henry W.