T.H.E. Show 2019: Scott Walker Audio with McIntosh Labs, Bowers & Wilkins

I’ve discovered over the years at hi-fi shows that there’s an inviolate gravitational pull into a room when you see the hosts are using gear you own.

You can’t help it – it’s a piece of gear you’re intimate with and when it’s amplification and a computer server you’ve grokked, but used with different speakers, preamps, etc. well, I fell through the door like a meteor to the Earth as it tries to pass and fails to overcome the force of gravity.

I had to hear the system that the crew at Scott Walker Audio had put together featuring Bowers & Wilkins, McIntosh Labs and Aurender.

The setup Walker’s people had put together consisted of an Aurender A30 server ($18,000 USD), a McIntosh C1100 preamplifier/phono stage (two-box unit $14,000 USD), a pair of MC611 mono amplifiers (I own these amps $15,000 USD/pair), an MCD550 CD player ($6,500 USD), and an MT10 turntable ($11,000 USD). Loudspeakers were the heavyweight Bowers 800D3 speakers ($30,000 USD/pair) that they had loaded up with a pair of accompanying DB1 Subwoofers ($9,000 USD/channel). The setup was supported by Solid Tech ($6,500 USD) was passing all its signals to one another via Synergistic Research Atmosphere cabling ($29,500 USD all-in) with clean power being provided by the Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 UEF SE ($6,495 USD). I listened to the digital front end during my time in the room.

The sound here was an abject lesson in what amplification power and transducer size/control can contribute to the scale and authority of a sound system. Not only was everything lifelike in its presentation, it offered forth sonic delicacies for the ears to feast upon. Yes, speed of attack on leading edges of notes was there, along with a vise-like grip on the notes amongst the lowest octaves, but the air and detail up top, supported by the muscularity of the midrange allowed the layering of the music to retain a cohesiveness that was captivating.

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Scott Walker Audio

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