À La Carte Productions, Luminous Audio, Ortofon, Spendor, Tweek Geek, Vienna Acoustics, VPI – Florida 2019

The story of this room was great sound. Despite the stated “Value Room” moniker dubbed by À La Carte Productions, and their exhibit room comprising of a system only totally $9,781 USD, I never felt like anything I was hearing was compromised at any point.

Most interesting was hearing the VPI Industries Player ($1,500 USD w/ Ortofon 2M Red) with both the 2M Blue ($236) and 2M Mono ($356) cartridges. I reviewed the Player in 2018, and had it in house for almost six months. With the upgraded Blue cartridge, the Player did well to prove that it is not immune to upgrading. With the Mono cartridge, things really were more fun that I thought possible. Usually at a show, mono cartridges live on only the most esoteric level of systems. So hearing one at a show with value in mind, was delightful.

Three well known components in the Creek Audio Evolution 50A ($1,195 USD) integrated amplifier and Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grand SE (6,598 USD) tower speakers were showing why they are multiple award winners in their own right. The assembly of this system at this point was already fair enough to call great based on their reputations and awards. However, things were taken to another level with Tweek Geek’s Dark Matter Tech Dark Energy Harmonizer ($499), which is a lot of words for a sub-$500 component, but even when implemented in a system as bargain friendly as the one here in Florida, it begs the question as to why we don’t see more systems in this price range at shows with proper power management.

Luminous Audio Technology had their cables in more than a few systems that I were quite enamoured with. Noteworthy from this installation was their Power Lynx Ultra (1.5m $349 USD) power cables, Monarch II Signature (1m $199 USD) interconnects, and a 10ft pair of Prestige II ($260 USD) speaker cables.

Ultimately value was their stated mission, but it was great sound that was their product.

By Eric Shook

VPI Turntable