Written by Dave McNair
Tampa, Fl. — I had a chance to get some quality time in several rooms on Friday before things got hectic with more show attendees filling up the good seats on Saturday. Having heard good things about the Swiss-made Stenheim loudspeakers (here represented as the Stenheim Alumine 3), one of my first stops was the room Suncoast Audio was hosting to hear for myself. It was immediately clear upon the first listen, these Swiss dudes have the formula for that special sauce I find so tasty.
The Stenheim Alumine 3 ($29,950 pr USD) driven by a VAC Signiture 200iQ amp ($14,500 USD) and Master Line Stage ($28,000 USD), fed digital via an Aurender A30 streamer/DAC ($18,000 USD), was instantly captivating. The gorgeous looking (and sounding) VAC gear seemed to be in a lot of the great sounding systems I heard at the show, and this room was no exception.
Starting with digital off the A30 playing large scale classical, the system portrayed a huge, deep soundstage. Stenheim’s Jean-Pascal Panchard seemed to read my mind when he asked if I’d like some vinyl for more listening, so I picked something I know inside and out, Steely Dan – Aja. The beautifully crafted Acoustic Signature XX turntable ($5,000 USD) with TA-2000 tonearm ($2,995 USD), and Dynavector XX2 cartridge ($2,000 USD) feeding their Tango Reference phono-stage ($5,000 USD), further upped the ante. The sound was very clear and focused, with just the right amount of organic mojo that keeps me listening.
I laughed, I cried, I tapped my foot. Swiss precision – audiophile edition.
Editorial note: AudioHead welcomes mastering engineer Dave McNair to our editorial staff! Dave brings a wealth of experience in audio, both from the consumption and the production side. Dave has worked alongside many well known artists in his main gig and his perspective from both sides of the table brings a most welcome color to the AH palette.