Best of Show
Best of Show is the rarest award on Audio Bacon. Unlike other publications, we only give out ONE of these awards at each show. And no silly certificates or icons made in the 70s.
And the most coveted Best of Show award goes to Aries Cerat. A company I’ve never heard of. But glad I did. It was one of my very first – and last room visits at High End Munich.
Aries Cerat’s Philosophy – Horns & Tubes
Stavros Danos is the founder and head designer at Aries Cerat.
We believe that tube signal amplification is the way to go, but only if implemented without any compromise in any aspect. We do not use mainstream designs and tube types. We find that they fall short delivering music as they should be.
We only use transformer coupling throughout the signal chain, and give maximum attention to power supply design, using extensive choke regulation and polypropylene caps, removing every electrolytic cap from the signal chain. Our electronics are designed, built and tested in-house, using the highest quality components.
As you could see, they make their own full line of components. If that ain’t passion, I don’t know what is.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I stepped into this room. It was a little dark. A little tight. And there was a ton of equipment laid out before me. Probably the most I’ve ever seen in such a small space. I also felt a bit too close to the speakers.
My first thought:
“Even if the system sounds good, who the heck is going to want to set all this up? Is it really going to be worth it?”
As I sat and listened, my second thought was “this is unlike most systems I’ve heard so far.” The reason I say that is because I wasn’t hearing something that was “balanced” or “carefully tuned” but something that transcended those notions. It was able to reproduce music without strain – and seemingly without compromise. As I wrote my notes, this system seems to do everything incredibly well.
Case in point. Jacob Gurevitsch’s Mapa de Soledad sounds unbelievably tactile and tangible. The Spanish guitar was played with grace and romanticism. You could picture the technical prowess of this Danish talent – and the amount of heart he puts into the piece. There’s independence – in both separation and space. And there’s body and material wrapped in the finest of textures. Simply said, this system captures the essence of the piece.
I love strings but I primarily listen to vocalists. How about a little bit of both? Moving onto Ginamaria Hidalgo’s Maria Curie and it gets terrifying – real quick. Close your eyes – and you won’t want to open them. Aside from perfect tone and timbre, there’s a humanistic quality that’s difficult to describe. It’s an elegance and a consolidation in both the lower and upper regions. A naturalistic blend and balance in scale – with an infinitely deep soundstage. The result is a performance that’s both beautiful and emotional. And when the crescendo hits – you’re startled but immensely satisfied. Essentially, the best sex your ears have ever had.
To answer the previous questions “Is it really going to be worth it?” Apparently, someone already bought the enormous, six-chassis (3 per channel), 1,700-pound Aries Cerat Achilleas SE amplifier. Needless to say, he would be silly not to bundle it with the Aries Cerat Symphonia loudspeakers.
“Take my money!” Oh…never…mind.
At this point, I have no clue how much this system costs. I was told “Over $1 million.” My third thought? “I guess money could buy happiness!”
For those interested, Believe HiFi (Texas) is Aries Cerat’s distributor in the US.
- Aries Cerat Symphonia loudspeakers – $85,000
- Aries Cerat Talos Signature phono stage (debut)
- Aries Cerat Achilleas SE amplifier – $250,000
- Aries Cerat Kassandra Series two chassis Signature DAC
- Aries Cerat Impera Reference preamplifier
- Aries Cerat Helene DAC
- Aries Cerat subwoofer – $55,000
- Top Wing Red Sparrow cartridge
- Rui Borges Pendulum 2
- Pink Faun server 2.16x
- Stacore racks
- Signal Projects cabling