I admit to looking forward to getting into this room. My experiences with the GamuT flagship loudspeaker, the $150,000 Zodiac, had brought me into contact with GamuT’s chief Designer, Benno Baun Meldgaard. Once in had been announced that the Dantax Group had acquired GamuT, and had promoted him to Chief Designer for the Dantax group, which includes Raidho and ScanSonic, I was just itching to hear what he would be able to achieve at the brand.
Benno knows I’m an LP guy, so when I walked in, it was vinyl all the way, using the new VPI 40th Anniversary HP-40 turntable with their Fatboy Anniversary arm ($15,000), fitted with an Ortofon Cadenza Bronze cartridge ($2,100).
As an aside here, Mat Weisfeld of VPI was one of the busier men at this show, as VPI had more than sixteen, that’s right, I said over sixteen, VPI turntables running at this show. In fact, as part of their AXPONA promotion they had distributed VPI Bingo cards to show goers with the first sixteen (they realized they missed some after the show was up and running) of their ‘tables listed on a four-by-four Bingo styled card, naming the company showing it and their room number. If the card-holder traveled to every one of those rooms, getting every space on the card “punched,” they earned a Medal entitling them to a nice discount on the purchase of their choice of VPI table. What a clever, and effective, marketing tool!
Chord electronics comprised the rest of the system in 434, starting with the Chord Symphonic Phono Stage ($4,495). While we played only LPs while I was in the room, digital playback was handled by the Chord DAVE DAC ($11,500) and Chord Blu MKII CD Transport with MScaler ($10,800).
The Chord CPA 5000 Preamplifier ($17,900) handed off to a pair of Chord SPM 1400 MKII Monoblocks ($27,700/pr.), which drove the new Raidho TD 4.2 loudspeakers ($126,000 Black/$147,000 Walnut), which were making their World Primer at this event. All cabling was GamuT Reference Series, including the speaker cables ($5,800/3M), interconnects ($2,990/1M), and power cables ($4,290/2M).
The new TD4.2 incorporates a myriad of enhancements. Adding the coating of the elemental metal tantalum to the already excellent diamond-impregnated drivers (hence, the TD model number) yields an even stiffer, five-layer, cone with even greater inner damping. The motor upgrades include stronger magnets, an improved voice-coil, and a new SD cap. In fact, the new motor is so different that Raidho has applied for a patent. The tweeter has also seen a serious redesign, including a much more powerful magnetic/motor system. Finally, an enclosure tuning approach, much like that employed in the Zodiac, has been adapted for cabinet damping of the TD4.2, resulting in both deeper extension and a more natural overall presentation.
Chief Designer for Raidho, GamuT, and ScanSonic, Benno Baun Meldgaard by the new Raidho DT4.2.
While I’ve always appreciated the degree of transparency and clarity the Raidho products delivered, they seemed have a slightly dark balance and were slightly analytical for my tastes. The TD4.2 delivered everything we threw at it with in an overwhelming neutral, hauntingly natural, and still remarkably transparent manner. This system offered frighteningly realistic texture to voices, with a sense of both space and body that was chillingly credible, with instruments recreated in remarkably realistic size, texture, and tone. And for a speaker with such a narrow footprint, it created a sense of dynamism you would not necessarily expect at first encounter. Microdynamic expressiveness was stellar, approaching the best I’ve yet heard. My hat is off to Benno, Raidho, and Dantax for a job well done.