Last Thursday, November 10th I was invited by Mark Jones to his place for the CH Precision event. For those, who are not local to Ontario, Audio by Mark Jones is a boutique audio dealer located in Whitby, Ontario. I have been following Mark on Instagram and Facebook since I visited his room at TAVES 2015. In my opinion, it was one of the top 3 rooms at the show last year, both in terms of the equipment used (Magico S7 MKII speakers, full Tenor Audio amplification, Kronos Pro turntable, Aurender music server, Kubala Sosna cables, Massif Audio Design rack, platforms and cable risers) and quality of the sound.
As you have probably read in my TAVES 2016 report, Mark's room this year was again top notch and one of the best at the show. So I was very excited to experience more of Magico and CH Precision!
Not only was this event enjoyable because of the amazing gear and awesome music, but also because I met very nice and interesting people from the Toronto audiophile scene: Len, Louis, Ran, Richard, the Audio Physicist guys Rowan and Dion, David from DVL Audio. Lawrence and others, whose names I am forgetting at the moment (sorry!). Of course, Mark and his wife were extremely gracious and welcoming hosts. The food and drinks were delicious!
But first, the gear:
Magico S7 MKII speakers with MPods
CH Precision M1 amplifier in stereo configuration
CH Precision C1 D/A controller
CH Precision D1 SACD/CD drive
CH Precision L1 preamplifier
CH Precision P1 phono stage
CH Precision X1 power supply
Kronos Pro turntable with Ortofon A95 cartridge
Kronos Sparta turntable with Haniwa Low Impedance cartridge
Aurdender music server
Massif Audio Design racks, platforms and cable risers
Although I've seen and heard CH Precision components before, this was my first chance to play around with them in person. And I have to say the quality, the attention to detail, the available features are just stunning! No matter what I was using, the remotes, the ingenious Android app or just the knobs on the D1 for example, everything operated precisely and efficiently. Some of the features include the ability to change the colour of the text on the displays depending on what kind of digital audio is playing, and the ability to display the name of the phono cartridge to be displayed on the P1 screen. Not to mention that that it all looks so good. I am of the opinion that not only should high end audio gear be sounding great, it should also look great and appealing. And CH Precision definitely nailed it in both of these aspects! The same can be said about the Magicos and Kronos turntables.
The whole system sounded very organic and natural. Magicos, Kronos and CH Precision are a great combination. No matter what kind of music was played or from what source, either of the Kronos turntables, or digital (SACD, Red book CD, TIDAL streaming) everything sounded just awesome. Classical music, opera, jazz, synth pop, progressive rock, Latvian space rock (from my old Zodiac "Disco Alliance" LP), we all enjoyed it very much.
Here is an incomplete list of what we listened to:
Ray Charles "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from "The Best Of Ray Charles"
Yund Li "Nocturne No.1 in B Flat Minor, Op 9 No. 1" from "Chopin Recital"
Bob Sharples "Tuxedo Junction" from "Dimension In Sound and Country in HiFi"
Jennifer Warnes "The Hunter" from "The Hunter"
Hawkwind "Hassan I Sahba" from "Spirit of the Age"
Joyce DiDonato, Orchestre De L'Opéra De Lyon, Riccardo Minasi "L'amica Ancor Non Torna - Le Nozze Di Lammermoor" by Michele Carafa and "Riedi Al Soglio - Zelmira" by Rossini, both from "Stella di Napoli"
Eleanor McEvoy "I Got You To See Me Through" from "Yola"
Zodiac "Zodiac" and "Pacific" from "Disco Alliance"
Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream "Zero Gravity (Aboce & Beyond Remix)" from "Zero Gravity" EP
Ayreon "Dragon On The Sea" from "Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer"
Thomas Dolby "I Scare Myself" from "The Flat Earth" (one of Mark's favourite songs, so he really cranked up the system on this one! :P )
On some of these tracks I felt as if the speakers simply disappeared and I was listening to live performances. It was especially evident to me when listening to the opera tracks performed by Joyce DiDonatio, an American mezzo-soprano. As I was listening to her majestic voice, I closed my eyes and could imagine her standing somewhere between the speakers and a bit above my eye level, like on a raised stage. Talk about amazing imaging!
Mark also has some other awesome goodies at his place, which I am going to display below.
Full Focal Sopra line with No.1, 2 and 3. How awesome are they!
Here is a pair of Tannoy Prestige GRF 90
The amazing Kondo GE-1 Phono preamplifier and CFz MC step-up transformer
New Audio Frontiers Integrated Amplifier 845 SE Special Edition
VPI Player turntable
In closing, I just want to say it was another amazing experience for me and I want to thank Mark for hosting it and others for sharing their favourite music.
And if you are looking to build a 2 channel audio system or upgrade an existing one, don't hesitate to contact Mark. He has equipment to fit any budget and many years of experience in this business, so you will be taken care of in the best possible fashion.