04 January, 2009

Home Visit: VERITY Rienzi/ASR Emitter I

Home Visit: VERITY Rienzi/ASR Emitter I Exclusive (Blue Light)(2 batteries)

During the holidays I managed to have some interesting visits. This was the first.

Sang is an avid music lover, and quite versed in classical music. He's the type of person who is really low keyed yet focused, and precisely the type of client that the hi-end should target.

Why? Because his previous system was quite a humble one, yet he spent 1-2 years shopping for his new system! Previously I believe he had MF X-Ray and Audiolab gears, now this not inexpensive system, a QUANTUM jump!!!! Should one jump this confidently? Not if you lack even a little confidence!

Verity Audio is quite a known entity to me, having heard Parisfal and the likes. My experience ranges from pretty good to disastrous (with inadequate tube amp). I have also heard ASR to deliver musical performances. So I was not disappointed by the performance of this system.

Apparently, the dealer had come to the house and spent a good amount of time setting up the Rienzi. The left speaker, flanking a dining room and at the mouth of a corridor, is placed more forward. Visually this is unsettling but I applaud the "by ears and not by eyes" approach. The sound was quite refined and tidy, with generally good tonal balance and very good macro- and microdynamics.

Now, it's quite common knowledge that I am quite allergic to the clinical and white-washed sound of much modern German hifi, indeed much hifi in general. With that in mind, I found the sound quite a cut above the many horrible experiences I have had with German gears (don't you EVER mention Burmester to me). Of course Verity is not German for sure, and, price notwithstanding, ASR at least belongs to the good guy camp.

If I have any reservation about the system, it may be about the CD player. German Accustics Arts CD player is quite expensive. It's a 24/192 upsampling Crystal Delta-Sigma player, which I have heard a lot. In my experience and for my taste, "details" aside, it's not easy to make a musical player out of this technology, though it CAN be done. While this player sounded effortless, dynamic, and clean most of the time, particularly impressive in big orchestral pieces, it had a relatively hard time portraying the true timbre of solo intsruments like violin and piano, or conveying the give-and-take of chamber performances. This is a frequent paradox, players that can do big things falter at small things, and vice versa.

That said, this sytem is quite new and needs more break-in. And more cabling experiments is likely needed. Battery AQ cables may not be the thing for German stuff. I'd love to visit again, not least as a pretext for the marvelous pasta my gracious hosts served me!

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