Saturday Audio Exchange: Bluesound, NAD, PSB, Pangea Audio, AudioQuest

In the Innovation room, operated by Joe Corona of Chicago-based dealer Saturday Audio Exchange, two systems played, both featuring new components.

System one included the debut of the NAD Masters M66 BluOS streaming DAC/preamplifier with Dirac Live bass control and room correction ($5499); the NAD Masters M23 stereo power amplifier; PSB’s flagship Synchrony T800 3-way, bass-reflex speaker with three 8″ woofers, a 5 1/4″ midrange, and a 1” titanium dome tweeter ($11,998/pair); and a PSB SubSeries BP8 subwoofer ($1499/each).

System two featured the NAD Masters M10V2 BluOS streaming amplifier, with Dirac Live room correction ($2499); the debut of the PSB Imagine T65 3-way, dual bass-reflex loudspeaker with a 1″ titanium-dome tweeter, 5 1/4″ midrange driver, dual 6.5″ woofers, and two rear slot ports ($1999/pair), and a PSB SubSeries 450 subwoofer ($1999).

Both systems used the Bluesound Vault2i 2TB network hard drive, CD ripper, and streamer ($1399) and AudioQuest Niagara 5000 and PowerQuest power conditioners ($5900 and $460), as well as various Bluesound, NAD, and PSB components.

After Joe turned up the second system and turned off the first, he thrust the iPad (streaming Tidal) into my hands and said “Go!” I dialed up tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley’s swing classic “This I Dig of You” from Soul Station. Through the new PSBs, this swinging hard-bop had pace, warmth, and sweetness that made it instantly engaging and fun. John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” from the 2022 remaster of the album with the same name, was true and accurate, featuring the master’s heroic soloing and the track’s familiar boomy bass (thank you, Tom Dowd). Trane’s lofty “Naima” was mellow and laid back. His piercing tone and the song’s late summer afternoon aura were captured beautifully.

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