ELAC Concentro

When we were working on last week’s blog about how budget speakers have really raised the benchmark in recent years, we kind of got carried away and started talking about what our set-up would look like in the unlikely event of winning the big lottery ticket. 

Silly exercise, you may say. But I have an uncle who did it; and if he can do it, so can we! On top of that, it’s the stuff dreams are made of and what’s even better: it’s fun! It sure put a smile on our faces. 

The whole thing kind of went from ’I would like some fancy speakers’ to entire house renovations with all the whistles and bells. 

So what crazy splash-outs did we come up with? 

 

It started out very civil.  Both Deano and Bart already have a set-up that they are pretty happy with. For Deano that means an audiophile listening room with all the perks that makes a vinyl lover happy; for Bart that is a dedicated home theatre with a native Sony 4K projector. Not many days go by without either of these rooms being used. The Rapallo men walk the talk. 

But they also still have dreams that would take a winning lottery ticket to achieve. 

Immediately Bart decided that, although he loves his current projector, if money was no objection, he would upgrade to the JVC DLA-Z1 Native 4K laser projector. Native 4K resolution and a laser light source in one box has to be the ultimate goal in his book. He keeps his Arcam AVR850 AV receiver (he still can’t stop talking about that one) but his current ELAC 407’s would be swapped out for the ELAC Concentro’s. Ever since he saw them for real at the Munich High End show, they have been on the dream list. I mean, they are serious eye-candy, but once you hear them….

Deano has been working on his current set-up for 20 years, so the man has got some upgrading experience under his belt. He’s perfectly happy with his current Klipsch LaScala II speakers, his Perreaux 350 Prisma power amplifiers (the 750 monoblocks are looking mighty tempting, though) his Perreaux SM6 pre-amp and his Perreaux VP3 Phono stage Rapallo's master audiophile LOVES Perreaux, but I guess you’ve figured that out. This is how he explains his Perreaux obsession: ‘The real test of an amplifier, is not how it looks but how it sounds.  after hours of critical listening, I love how Perreaux amplifiers do not add or subtract anything from the sound. I want to hear the recording as the artist intended 

Many amplifiers will sound warm or bright, not a Perreaux amplifier. The image is accurate with pinpoint accuracy, everything is focused and exactly where it should be. If I close my eyes, I join the band or the artist performing live in my living room.‘  If that’s not a declaration of love? 

Clearaudio turntableHis current turntable on the other hand gets the boot and is replaced with a Clearaudio Master Innovation Turntable. You know the space-shuttle turntables out of the movies? That kind. 

He also adds a Chord Electronics DAVE DAC and a Chord Electronics BLU MK. 2 CD transport

Talking Chord, outside of AV, Bart also has a passion for travel. When you are a big ticket winner, you stay well clear of cattle class and it’s easy enough to log the Chord Hugo2 and a pair of Beyerdynamic T5p Gen. 2 Closed Circumaural Portable Tesla Headphones around the world for when urgent overseas Hi-fi needs arise. 

Deano goes on about an extra pair of the Yamaha NS-5000 speakers. You know, wild cards and all that. 

The Yamaha NS-5000 speakers clearly owe their inspiration to the company’s classic NS-1000’s, a home speaker released by Yamaha back in 1974, which to this day is in high demand on the second hand market but also rare as a unicorn. A lot of that reputation has got to do with the beryllium drivers. Even today, beryllium metal is a right bugger to work with. Its desirable properties are confounded by its high levels of toxicity, so that the few hi-fi manufacturers that choose to use it, all get their work done in a very limited number of facilities. Imagine what it would have been like in the 70’s. There’s a lot more to say about these beauties, but we’re hoping to get them in for demo at some stage later in the year. 

 

And then young Ben butts in and all reason goes out the window. 

He still has his student budget desktop set-up from his blog a year ago and the idea of an unlimited budget clearly opens up prospects. Working for Rapallo hasn’t done the poor chap any favours because he desires not only a listening room or a dedicated home theatre, he needs both. And he will not put up with anything but the best. 

Focal Utopia speakersHe must have FOCAL Audio on speed-dial, because he has no less than a pair of FOCAL Grande Utopia’s in custom-order finish on his list for the listening room, plus he’s placing an order for 7(!) ‘modest’ FOCAL Viva Utopia’s for LCR and surround sound in his home theatre. Plus some Definitive Technology in-ceilings for Dolby Atmos of course. 

There’s some talk about some more Perreaux amplification (the guy learns from the best), a high-end native 4K Sony projector, a Cambridge Audio CXUHD 4K Blu-ray player, a pair of SVS PB-16 subwoofers (nods all around), an Arcam CDS50 CD-player when it becomes available in New Zealand and an ELAC Miracord 90, which is rather reasonable, we must admit. 

But then he decides that he wants a full-wall acoustic transparent projector screen (He’s eagerly anticipating the surprise on people’s faces here), some electric reclining home theatre seats with cooling cup holders and a starry sky with shooting meteors, which he has seen from several of our high-end installs (minus the meteors;-)). Obviously there needs to be extensive acoustic treatment in both rooms as well as high-level home automation, so that he can adjust any setting from the comfort of his chair. The listening room can be cosy, but the home theatre room on the other hand needs to offer excellent seating built on risers with guiding lights for at least 8 people for his Friday night Christopher Nolan movie sessions. Obviously, there is need for a bar with a beer fridge and a super-duper pop-corn maker. 

I guess it takes a real dreamer to come up with ideas that leave both Bart and Deano open-mouthed. Next thing you know, he’ll be adding a private helicopter pad. 

 

As for the lottery winning uncle who got to do this for real? He put in a fancy swimming pool. Argh, the things he missed out on…! But at least his said pool comes with a full set of underwater speakers…. :-)