EJ Sarmento had a trick up his sleeve for the Rocky Mountain Audiofest this year. Known primarily for his highly lauded work with DACs, streamers and amplification this year’s elaborate package of new audiophile releases included a pair of loudspeakers called Tempus ($9k). The new transducers is the first official category release for the west coast company, and at the show definitely lived up to the reputation that EJ has already established as a value-driven hifi establishment.
On top of the new Tempest, we found four other new products at the show starting with the Aura Pre ($3k) into dual Aura 1200M monos ($2k each). Available (but not incorporated into the system we heard) was the ST-750LE amp ($1,749) and the long awaited class A headphone/DAC amp Intimo (intro’d at $1k). The system was fronted by the EJ’s flagship 10th Anniversary DAC ($4.5k) USB Recovery Reclocker ($199) and MSi3 Roon-ready music server ($3k).
The overall sound of the system had plenty of high end “polish”, something that I often get obsessed with at audio shows. A clear, highly articulate midrange was fully realized with a duet from Keith Greeninger track called Looking For A Home. Both male and female vocals spun around each other with that special something sonic texture that separates the men from the boys in hifi. A passive radiator helps push a very controlled (but full) low end to depths beyond the dual mid-woofer and dual ribbon tweeters. EJ was even kind enough to play a low-end test track I had created a week earlier for another affair. The extreme octave used for the bass synth punched out toward the attendees in the packed room with authority, but still remained balanced with the rest of the spectrum. Its a fairly amazing feat for a first-out-of-the-gate effort for the category, but its also important to point out that Mr. Sarmento has been doing the hifi thing for quite some time now (he started designing audio components before he could drive, which included work with loudspeakers). One of our favorite rooms of the show.
Expect the new amplifiers to start shipping in about 3 weeks, the Tempus loudspeakers are available now.