System 2 price: $30,799
Simplicity can be a beautiful thing -- in this case, both in form and function, and in sound. In this virtual system -- a combination of new products that I dreamed up while walking around CES -- I start with the elegantly slim Magico S1 ($12,600/pr.), the new entry-level two-way floorstander from the Berkeley, California-based company. The S1 features the company's Nano-Tec cone material, this time in an all-new 7-incher that handles bass and midrange duties. The beryllium tweeter is the same as seen and heard in the larger S5. This speaker sounds huge compared to many speakers I heard at CES that were much larger -- jaws dropped when these babies were cranked up. Perfect start.
Could we power the S1s with something even more elegant? Yes, we can: the Wadia Intuition 01 (est. $10,000) features an amplifier section rated to deliver 350Wpc into 4 ohms -- plenty of power to propel the S1s and then some. This digital integrated amplifier/DAC/control center is almost everything you need for a truly high-end system. When you add up all the functionality the Intuition 01 offers, along with premium parts such as the DSD-capable Sabre DAC chip, the Intuition 01 is the, uh, intuitive choice for this system.
More elegant still? Easy. We'll wire this setup with Crystal Cable Reference (est. $7000). With attention to detail in both the design and construction that is equal to the best in the high-end industry, but with industry-best styling, the Crystals should make this system sing and allow it to find its way into the nicest decors.
The file source is the newest Apple MacBook Air ($1199), which will feed the Wadia with digital music of all resolutions when equipped with some proper music-player software. The Air fits the system's theme of nonintrusive elegance and, with its solid-state hard drive, won't add a bit of noise to the sonic equation.
Does it sound as good as it looks? I bet it does. I imagine this system would be a resolution monster that would be about as transparent as any system out there. Although it wouldn't be wall-shaking full-range, it would still sound far larger than it has any right to. Maybe as important still is the fact that this system would actually enhance the environment in which it's placed, not detract from or overpower it. Let's face it: this setup is one that your wife would not only approve of, but would cherish herself. And that might be the most important strength of all.
Editor-in-Chief, The SoundStage! Network