As I only had limited time available, loudspeakers caught the lion’s share of my attention this year at the Newport show. By far the best sound for me was in Roger Sanders’ room, featuring his complete Sanders system with the Model 10e electrostatics, a pair of his own Magtech amplifiers, and a crossover unit that can also be used as a line-level preamp (though of very limited connectivity). The Model 10e is a hybrid, crossed over from a transmission-line woofer at 170Hz. By design of limited dispersion, sweet-spot listening is required, but once so ensconced, you’re rewarded with the lowest coloration reproduction—by an order of magnitude—I heard at the show. Indeed, I’d take it further and say I’ve never heard lower coloration anywhere. Add to this superb dynamic range (the panels, Sanders claims, cannot be made to arc), essentially peerless coherence, imaging and soundstaging stupefying in precision and integrality, vanishingly low distortion, and truly seamless woofer-to-panel blend.
My colleague Robert E. Greene is finishing up his review of the whole system, so I’ll apologize to him if this sounds like a preview masquerading as a review summary, but I can’t restrain myself from expressing the full measure of my enthusiasm for this superlative setup: I know of none better that I’ve ever heard and almost none as good. $22,500 gets you the speakers, the amps, and the crossover, which means it’s got to be the best bargain in high-end audio.