Wes Philips of Stereophile – Show Report HE 2006

I wandered into the ModWright/Red Dragon/Acoustic Zen/Golden Sounds room expecting good sound because Dan Wright’s stuff always delivers, but I was wowed by the system’s synergy.

ModWright’s SWLP 9.0SE preamp ($3995) was being driven by ModWright’s upgrade on the Sony 9100ES CD/SACD/DVD player ($3500, including player). Red Dragon’s Leviathan Signature monoblock amplifiers ($5995/pair) were feeding a pair of Acoustic Zen Adagio loudspeakers ($4300/pair) via Golden Sound cables.

Wowsers! I’d never heard the Acoustic Zen or Red Dragon products before and they did not disappoint. I heard deep bass and liquid midrange that just made me swoon. Which component was creating the magic? I don’t know, but everything certainly was passing it on, so I suspect the credit goes to all of them.

Red Dragon’s Leviathan Series monoblock amplifiers deliver 500W into 8 ohms for $5995/pair. Driving Acoustic Zen Adagio loudspeakers, they sure sounded sweet and powerful! They’re packed with cool stuff, such as Neutrik silver XLR inputs and Cardas solid-copper binding posts, not to mention ERS paper, which is “employed at key locations to absorb and diffuse unwanted EMI.”

Maybe I’m just superficial, but I thought the Leviathan’s wood cases and softly glowing logo lid just looked cooler than all get-out. Hey, sound is the crucial thing, but if you can look cool while performing well, I say go for it.