Arion Apollo Loudspeakers, LS-200 Linestage, 2A3 Tube Amplifiers, and HS-500 Hybrid Mono Amplifiers; EMM DA2 DAC; Wolf Alpha 3 Music Server; VPI HW-4 turntable, etc.

An intriguing system from MK Audio LLC of Charlotte, NC, brought to the fore Arion Audio’s nearly full-range AMT line-array Apollo System loudspeaker ($24,900/pair). The Apollos, which were paired with active subwoofers, claim an astounding 105dB sensitivity—sensitive enough to work with Triode Labs’ 2A3 3.5W vacuum tube amplifiers (no price supplied). At least I think I was hearing the 2A3s, because also in view were their hybrid class-D amplifiers ($6995/pair). Preamplification was the company’s LS-200 hybrid line-stage ($3995).

When I entered, Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson were singing “Poncho & Lefty” from an LP played on VPI’s HW-4 direct drive turntable ($15,000) via a SoundSmith SG-200 Strain Gauge Cartridge ($8599.95). The recording brought to the fore this system’s midrange smoothness and depth. I tried not to let Nils Lofgren’s overplayed “Keith Don’t Go” drive me out of the room as I once again noted the system’s midrange strength. The Apollo speakers’ AMTs (Air Motion Transformers) are built in-house and descend to 120Hz. Larger and smaller loudspeaker models are in the offing.

Also heard and appreciated: EMM DA2 DAC ($25,000), Wolf Alpha 3 Music Server ($7045); Chang Lightspeed Powerline Filter, RealTraps bass traps and acoustic treatment, and Stillpoints Equipment Racks.

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