Was happy to see Massimiliano Magri, or Maxx of Grandinote (above photo) greeting me from the MOC rather than some off sight location as he did last year. Once again, I was delighted to see the Grandinote Volta music server ($10k) feeding the newest member of the family in the Shinai integrated amplifier ($14k). What I was really looking forward to hearing however was the new 9 woofer/16 tweeter, 98 dB efficient, Grandinote Mach 9 loudspeakers ($30k), I had heard so much about since being bowled over by the smaller Mach 4's during last year's High End show (see that report here). And yes, by all accounts the sound was stellar as to be expected already knowing how good this Italian brand performs. Pure Class A tube sound from a solid-state device without the fuss. Sounds too good to be true until you hear these products for oneself.
That being said, these makeshift rooms couldn't handle the energy the Mach 9's let loose into the room. More often than not, the room literally shook from the lower octaves causing Maxx to lower the volume to acommodate the flimsy walls. This wasn't the case last year when he had a true cement structure for which to showcase his new Mach 4 loudspeakers. At 98 dB efficient, the Mach 9's, when played within the limits of the room, performed flawlessly. Unfortunately, to hear the Mach 9's played to their limits is going to take another room and another day.
There's a running theme to manufacturers who are talented enough to design their own music servers, amplifiers and loudspeakers. It usually leads to a sound that is really quite astounding in terms of synergy. Nothing really tops that! Oh, by the way, all cabling was by way of a new company called Luna, which sounded quite good I might add.