<img src="http://www.computeraudiophile.com/files/bwn802.jpg" style="padding: 1pt 10pt 7pt 0pt;" align="left">It's Sunday morning, I am in a local Dunn Brothers Coffee shop sipping a nice cup of hot tea. They didn't have my usual Black Vanilla Bean tea so I am going out on a limb with some Black Currant tea. It's not bad, but I won't be ordering it again. To add insult to injury the wireless Internet access is not working consistently here. I just hope when I click "publish" all goes well. I have my Ultimate Ears ue11 Pro earphones in and a little Sonny Rollins on my iPod. The external sounds of the coffee shop are virtually nonexistent, so lets get to it. I was in a local Hifi shop yesterday and listened to a two channel system that was absolutely amazing. I felt like the system just disappeared and I was at a live performance in a small jazz club. This is probably the most transparent system I have ever heard. The listening room was also setup perfectly which is to be expected in a place looking to sell great sounding products. This system as a whole, room included, is very close to the best system I have ever heard. If the best system I've ever heard is a 100/100, I rate the system I listened to yesterday a 98/100. If it only had a disk based source and great DAC instead of the standard disc player, it may have been even better.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
B&W N802 speakers
VTL S-400 amplifier
VTL TL 6.5 preamp
Esoteric SA-60 disc player
Nordost cabling throughout
The first disc I listened to was Diana Krall Love Scenes. I am very familiar with this album so comparisons to past systems was pretty easy. The opening song "All or Nothing at All" is one of my favorite songs and sounds spectacular on an audiophile grade system. When the opening bass lines kicked in the system sounded extremely accurate. The most enjoyable part was when Diana's mic channel was opened and her voice came in, "All or nothing at all .. Half a love never appealed to me." The speakers absolutely disappeared! I couldn't pinpoint highs as coming from the top-mounted B&W tweeters and her voice was perfectly centered. I was floored to say the least. I have owned a pair of B&W Nautilus 802s and my system was nowhere near this transparent. It is quite obvious to me that everything in the chain, from the power source to your ears, matters. Skipping through a few other songs on this disc only provided more evidence of tremendous transparency. I can imagine someone with a good chunk of cash listening to this system and just handing over their credit card & setting a delivery date for the whole thing. Why mess with success. I spent the rest of my time listening to the Analogue Productions reissue of Chet Baker's "Chet." This is another stellar album as evidenced by my earlier <a href="http://www.computeraudiophile.com/node/2">review</a>. I did notice some of the transparency was gone when listening to this disc. I'm sure it is because of the way it was recorded. Chet's trumpet often emanates from one speaker as it would from one side of the stage in a jazz club. This does make the listener notice the speakers a bit more in my opinion. Fortunately noticing the beautiful sound and look of the N802s is not really bad thing. I really do like these speakers, can you tell?
I strongly suggest visiting your local dealer to see if they happen to have a complete system like this one. Don't settle for just the speakers or amp if you don't have to. I am guessing you probably want to know what I consider the best system I have ever heard. I will save the complete story for another day, but what I will say now is Audio Research, Wilson Audio, and Transparent Cable ...
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