On Saturday, November 5th I attended the grand opening of a new showroom by the local dealer/distributor Wynn Audio. Wynn Audio represent brands such as Tidal Audio, Goldmund, Harmonix / Reimyo, Thales and a few others. Last year at TAVES 2015 was my first introduction to them and I was simply floored by the sound in their room. The gigantic Tidal Sunray G2 speakers were powered by Tidal's own La Assoluta monoblocks and Presencio preamplifier. The turntable was the battery powered Thales TTT-compact with Thales Simplicity tonearm. Digital source was Reimyo CDT-777. When they played Nils Lofgren's "Keith Don't Go" from his "Acoustic Live" album, it was as if Sunrays simply disappeared and Nils was live right in the room.
As you can imagine, I was eagerly anticipating Wynn Audio room at this year's TAVES. But, as you've probably read in Part 1 of my TAVES 2016 report, I was underwhelmed by the sound. At the time I wrote the report I was unaware of what happened. As I learned later, one of the Tidal monoblocks suffered some kind of failure and they had to switch to Goldmund Telos 1000+ amps. Unfortunate, but it can happen.
No matter, as this was all but forgotten when I got to Wynn Audio's showroom here in Richmond Hill. I was warmly greeted by Wynn Wong himself, who led me to their main listening room. Here I was introduced to Mark Johansen, the founder of ZenSati ApS, the Ultra High End cable manufacturer from Denmark. And the amazing experience began.
The system presented in this room was a bit different than the one they set up at TAVES. Tidal Sunrays were not used this time and were quietly standing in the corners. Instead, Tidal's smaller Contriva G2 speakers were used. They were driven by the above mentioned Goldmund Telos 1000+ power amps and Tidal Presencio preamp. Digital source was Goldmund Eidos 17 universal player. Everything was connected by ZenSati speaker, interconnect and power cables. A very elegant looking system, accented by the luxurious look of the ZenSati. Not only did it all look good, it all sounded just amazing as I soon experienced.
Mark first played a very interesting musical number called "Returning to Now" from the CD "Zen Breakfast" by German new age / ambient musician Karunesh. Majestic sounds of bells, sitars and Eastern vocals filled the room. It was just breathtaking to listen to this track. Sounds for the soul, indeed. The detail, the clarity were amazing. The sound stage was not only wide, but deep and tall. The bells and other instruments sounded very real, but as Mark would mention later, it was all done on synthesizers. Lucky for me, I was sitting in the sweet spot in this room to take it all in as I sipped some champagne. I thought to myself, "This is heaven!". But it was only the beginning ....
Mark played other musical selections, including my own - "Dragon On The Sea" from Ayreon's CD "Universal Migrator Part 1: The Dream Sequencer". As I am very familiar with this track, I was very interested to hear how it would sound on such high end system. Needless to say, it exceeded my expectations. Progressive rock and metal music in general doesn't have a lot of dynamics, with everything being compressed, it's hard to hear instrument separation. But I specifically chose Ayreon as his music is different. And on this system it sounded great, if not awesome. The acoustic guitar, bass, drums and analog synthesizers as well as Lana Lane's majestic vocals were all clearly heard. The only drawback here was the deep deep bass as Tidal Contrivas basically roll off below 30 Hz. Still, I enjoyed this very much. Another attendee sitting next to me loved this song and took a picture of the CD. As a progressive rock and metal fan, it always warms my heart when someone else takes interest in this music. And looks like Ayreon acquired another fan.
Then Mark played a very interesting track recorded live in a cathedral. Unfortunately, I do not remember the title or artist. I'll be sure to ask him on Facebook when I get a chance. But the point here is that on this track I experienced something I have never heard before. The sound stage extended not only forward, but backward, behind me, both horizontally and vertically. It was almost like surround sound, but only with 2 front speakers. I could hear echoes of the music as if I was sitting in the middle of a cathedral where this was recorded. When the track ended, others in the room said they heard the same effect. Simply incredible! I have to mention here that this room had no acoustic treatment whatsoever.
Another track that I loved was "Se Você Me Ama" by Melody Gardot from her CD "The Absence". Great interplay of male and female vocals with acoustic guitars and background strings. Every instrument sounded clear and detailed. I could clearly make out every word that was sung, even if I did not understand it (the song is in Spanish) and could even hear the breathing of the singers in between.
Again, I have to attribute the quality of sound in no small part to the ZenSati cables and their unique and interesting design. Mark explained that his cables are constructed in such a way, that the conductor is flat and uniquely twisted, with air around it, which works as a natural dielectric. This allows the electrons to travel unimpeded and very fast. The end result is a cable that is fast and neutral sounding, not adding any kind of coloration to the system. And they all look gorgeous. Naturally, this comes at a very steep price, that for the top end models exceeds prices of such ultra high end cable makers as Nordost and Siltech. Just to give you an idea, the cost of all ZenSati cables used at TAVES was close to $200,000 CAD. But for someone who would be buying the system of this calibre, where cost is no objective, it would not be a deterrent. When you buy a Ferrari you don't put some cheap Goodyear tires on it. Mark mentioned a number of times that his cables can make even old and vintage equipment sound much better. And it can be achieved even with his entry level #3 line of cables.
Still reeling from this amazing experience I spent a bit of time in the second room at Wynn Audio, which had a complete system by the Japanese brands Harmonix / Reimyo. Here they had the state-of-the-art near-field Harmonix Encore ENC-5 speakers mounted on very elegant Dinosaur stands. Electronics were Reimyo KAP-777 Solid State Power Amp, CAT-777 MKII Vacuum Tube Control Amplifier, DAP-999X D/A Converter, CDT-777 CD Transport and ALS-777 AC Power Stabilizer. Various SACDs (also produced and mastered by Harmonix) were played. Great sound for this room, which also had no acoustical treatments done yet.
Overall, an extremely enjoyable event, where I got to experience amazing music and gear, and met interesting people. I would like to express my gratitude to Wynn Wong and his staff for their hospitality and I hope they will have more events in the future, which I will make sure to attend and write about in my blog.