by Rafe Arnott
The Swiss have a real knack for precision, and not just in watches. Their high-fidelity manufacturers are lauded as being some of the very best in the world, and for good reason. Take Soulution Audio out of the small Swiss town of Dulliken for example. The company was the brainchild of a pair of audiophiles – Cyrill Hammer and Roland Manz – who worked for a large electronics firm, and wanted to one-up the best they’d heard from a bevy of US, and Japanese hifi companies, thus Soulution was born. In Denver they paired up with Magico (S5 $32,400 USD) to provide a sophisticated, accurate, and engaging sound with real percussive force, and nuanced details in the midrange, and upper registers.
With amplification duties being handled by the 150 watt/8 Ohm Soulution 511 Stereo Amplifier ($32,000 USD), and 520 preamplifier ($20,000 USD) which were being fed by an Aurender N10 music server ($8,499 USD), coupled with the coveted Berkeley Alpha DAC Reference Series 2 ($19,500 USD), and a brand-new Synergystic Research Power Cell 12 UEF ($6,495 USD with glass top) this was a room full of a lot of people slowly shaking their heads while luxuriating in the music. There was also a coiled pit of python cables connecting everything also by Synergystic.
So what makes the Swiss sound stand out?
And by that I mean it’s an utterly transparent presentation. One is not associating a ‘House Sound’ with any Swiss hifi manufacturer I can think of, because they all seem to be preternaturally obsessed with adding nothing to the signal path: think a straight wire with gain. While this is a sound bite that’s been used many times before, and I don’t abide using them unless one must, I’m using it here because the overwhelming take away from this demo was that the amplification simply got out of the way of what the Aurender/Berkeley DAC was delivering.
Highly recommended listening.