Show report - Purity Audio Design

Purity Audio Design, Daedalus Audio
Playback Designs, Dana Cables, Custom Isolation Products

Purity Audio Design had great relaxed, yet lighting fast sound from their first showing of the new PSE-300B Ultra monoblocks ($27,000) The PSE300B features a Pure Class A parallel single ended output stage with zero feedback. A separate choke filtered power supply and polypropylene filter banks, plus of course the analog stage, was selected after years of listening.
EnjoyTheMusic -

Purity Audio Design PSE 300B monoblocks ($26k/pair), Silver Statement Series II line stage ($32k), Sony XA777ES SACD player, Playback MPD-5 DAC. With Daedalus Argo speakers ($13k/pair).

Purity Audio is showing off their new Series 2 preamplifier. The Series 2 uses all using new optimized circuit to run with either 6SN7 or 12AU7 tubes, and equipped with high current toroidal transformers, choke filtering and 100% polypropylene capacitor filter banks housed in 1/8″ thick aircraft aluminum. The result of high DAC processing power plus tube electronics via two 1-inch soft dome tweeter and midrange is a smooth and dynamic presentation. The dual-woofer arrangement lends credible force to the bottom-end. A room to return to.

Let me start by saying that if there was an award for the coolest looking display, this one would have won it for me from all the rooms I was able to visit. These guys put quite a bit of effort into making the room feel, well, not like a hotel room. Extremely well done Purity Audio Design!

The Argos speakers use two 1" soft dome tweeters, one 5" midrange, and two 8" woofers with a sensitivity of 97 db. They weigh a solid 103 lbs each and come in three standard finishes with four more at an additional cost. When closing in on the speaker to get a closer look at the finish, I noticed that the front baffle was actually angled. In essence, it toes in the speakers without physically toeing in the speakers - ingenious. The finish was well done, and the angled front baffle helped give the appearance some "personality". The low end was tight and clean without being boomy. Dynamic range of vocal tracks was handled really well. Clarity and detail were good - I especially noticed the cymbols - but I felt the midrange punch was just a little lacking.

The room was treated with plants and some panels.

Scott Hull, AKA - Part Time Audiophile via The Absolute Sound
Please follow Scott's work and I think you may agree he is among the best photographers that covers these audio shows.

Meanwhile, over in the Purity Audio Design room, Bill Baker and Joe Jurzec were demoing their spanky new all-metal preamp chassis. Bill told me that the new chassis are significantly more robust than the outgoing acrylic trapezoids, and while they are, I kinda miss the oddball shape of the old design, which kinda reminded me of a sandcrawler (minus all the unsightly blast damage). New, along with the upgraded casework, is a tube circuit that features a 6SN7 tube, and the “power supplies now utilize high current toroidal transformers, choke filtering and 100% polypropylene capacitor filter banks.” Paired with the all-wood, asymmetrically-faced Argos loudspeaker from Daedalus Audio ($12,950), the impressive two-chassis Silver Statement preamp ($32k) was actually upstaged by another what’s-this-it’s-new offering – a rather sleek pair of very black parallel SET mono amps, based on the 300b tube. The $26k (est. pricing) prototypes, carrying the moniker PSE300b, were actually completed earlier that same week, but were very ready to shake the room with some astounding bass. Wasn’t expecting that out of a 300b! Other bits in the Ball Tech rack were a Playback Designs MPD-5 DAC ($13k), a Sony XA777ES (used as a transport), a digital cable from High Fidelity Cables, signal cables from Gingko Audio, and power cables from WyWires.




King Sound Loudspeakers, Purity Audio Design,
Bob Carver, Clarity Wires

Best Of AXPONA 2013 Award
And my first winner for Best Of AXPONA 2013 is Kingsound with their model King III full range electrostatic speaker ($12,000). They were being driven by Bob Carver's Black Beauty monos ($12,900), preamplifier is the Purity Audio Design Reference Series 2 ($11,495) and lastly we have the Oppo universal player ($999). All wiring was from Clarity Cables. The sound was smooth, fast and very detailed. Nice, natural harmonics and of course a well rendered 3D soundscape too. Congrats to everyone who made this room possible, you all have earned Enjoy the's first Best Of AXPONA 2013 Award!



All Hail the KingSound

Roger DuNaier of KingSound had plenty of reason to smile. His King III full-range electrostatic loudspeakers ($12,000/pair) were sounding the best I've ever heard them. That means the music they produced sounded exceptionally smooth, warm, relaxed and inviting. How Roger managed this on the Mezzanine of the Doubletree, where rooms had a 10' air space above the ceiling that sucked the life of most active systems on the floor, is no mean feat.

Of course, you can bet that the associated components—Purity Audio Design Reference Series II linestage preamplifier ($11,495), Bob Carver Black Beauty 305 monoblock amplifiers ($12,900/pair), Oppo 3D Blu-ray disc player ($999), and Clarity cabling—Vortex power cords ($750/1.5m), Organic RCA interconnects ($1800/1.5m pair), and Organic speaker cables ($2500/1.5m pair)—had something to do with it. Roger didn't know what one of the tracks he played me was—no one he's shared it with has been able to identify it—but I really liked the sound of the piano and warmth of the midrange. I left the room thinking that if other rooms sounded as good as this, it was going to be a very, very good show.

Part Time Audiophile via The Absolute Sound

Stepping across the foyer, I found another Purity Audio preamp, this time, a Reference ($11,495) fronting a pair of Bob Carver Black Beauty monoblocks ($12,900/pair), cranking 300+ watts into a pair of King Sound King III ESL panel loudspeakers ($12,000). Clarity Cables provided all the signaling and power cables. An Oppo BDP-95 provided the front end. And you know what? Holy guacamole, Batman. This is one cave I was not happy to leave. The big King panels can put out “real bass”, which seems to surprise just about everyone, but brings the speed and detail that an ESL is known for. Truly remarkable, and a price point that’s comfortably under six figures; a reminder for which I was rather grateful.




Von Schweikert - Purity Audio Design - KR Audio
 Masterbuilt Cables - EMM Labs - Critical Mass

The new YFS HD Ref3 SE Music Server ($14,000 including remote tablet) provided ones and zeros to the Meitner EMM Labs DAC2X ($15,000). Electronics included the Purity Audio Ultra GT Silver Preamp ($53,000), the Channel Islands Audio D-200 Mk2 mono amplifiers ($3500/pr.) driving the midbass woofers, and a KR Audio Kronzilla SXi Mk2 tube integrated amp ($21,000) driving the midrange/tweeter arrays.

Sporting 10 drivers per channel (two on the rear of the main housing), the Von Schweikert Audio UNIVERSE offered far and away the best sound of this event.    by Greg Weaver Positive-Feedback

Where to even start? The sound from this system was quite fantastic and in ‘show’ setup conditions. We overheard several attendees in the other rooms and elevators telling others to make sure they go hear the Von Schweikert room.  You can’t get a better endorsement than that. We heard a smooth mid-range that was fleshy and textured, a quick top end, lively and dynamic.  Soundstaging was very good; spacing and size of instrument and singer seemed spot on.  One interesting thing to note: The amps in the system cost considerably less than the speakers and other electronics.  Very interesting, and if it showed, it was probably in the somewhat slow bass.  But who can really say when in ‘show’ condition you will only hear 60-70% of what a system can do at best versus when it was in a proper room.

First thing to note - GIK supplied all the treatments for this room!

The VR-11 MKII towers use two 15″ Kevlar-Nomex honeycomb woofers, four 8.5″ magnesium mid-basses, two 7″ carbon Kevlar-cellulose Aerogel midrange drivers, two 1.5″ dual-concentric silk ring tweeters, and two 5″ aluminum ribbon supertweeters with all drivers using a proprietary Advanced Motor System with low distortion design. The tower also has a rear-firing 5" aluminum ribbon. They have a stated FR of 10Hz - 100,000 Hz and sensitivity of 99 db when the subwoofer and supertweeter boosts are engaged with a nominal impedence of 8 ohms and weigh in at a massive 700 lbs - each! All the drivers are designed to work on the same frequency impulse so that they blend seamlessly.

This is probably the one system of the day that when I walked into the room, I stopped and said "Woah". I am pretty certain they reserved either two conference rooms opened up or one big room, and it still seemed small with the towers and subs all set up. I sat down and started listening after snapping a few photos and noticed almost right away that the dynamic range for this system was just astounding. Then, as I continued to listen, I was equally awed by the midrange punch that was squeaky clean and crisp as well. Now, add in a good THWUMP in the low end. If that was not enough, I could then start to pick out the little details - the piano keystroke, the ping of the cymbol.... I was simply amazed at all this wrapped into one system.

Then, one of the exhibitors stopped by to chat and I explained my experience so far. I had to raise my voice as it was louder than I thought it was - always a good sign IMO. He said "Get up and move around the room". Well, what I discovered was that it did not matter where I stood in the room - the soundfield AND LPE were virtually the exact same. I sat back down and told him what I thought I heard - and he said "That is right - it is within 1db all around the room". Imagine that. As you may be able to surmise, this was my top performer of the day.

Like big speakers? You’re gonna love the new Von Schweikert. Your Final System of Rochester, NY, managed the rather massive and delicate task of maneuvering the giant prototype VSA VR-100xs “Universe” System. Pricing is set at $140k/pair and includes the towers and a pair of EX V15 subwoofers. A Purity Audio Design Ultra GT (now $53k) preamplifier was sending the high signals to a KR Audio SXi MkII integrated ($21k) and low signals to a pair of Channel Island D200 Mk II monoblocks ($3,500/pair). Source was a Your Final System branded server, the HD Ref 3 Limited Edition Music Server System ($14,500). An EMM Labs DAC 2x ($15k) handled the conversion. Cabling came from VSA’s “MasterBuilt” line. $37k worth of Critical Mass Systems racks and stand held everything in place. Room treatments came from ASC, ATS and GIK.