RMAF 2017 Show- Ayon Audio Review – Stereophile

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Jana’s RMAF Weekend Continues . . .

Jana Dagdagan           |              Oct 13, 2017

Have you heard of xiao long bao (aka “soup dumplings”)? Not to be confused with any other type of dumpling, this semi-recent foodie sensation in the West hails from China’s Jiangnan region, and typically consists of a pork-based filling (sometimes combined with truffle or crab meat) in a hot gelatinized meat broth, encased in a thin flour skin. I will travel great lengths in freezing temperatures at odd hours to eat baskets full of xiao long bao, alone.

Much like xiao long bao, the sounds coming out of this room shared by Lumen White and Ayon Audio contained a solid musical core bathed in warmth, with a delicate nuanced finish. In a system featuring Lumen White Kyara loudspeakers ($49,900/pair), and Ayon Audio Orthos XS Gen 4 mono blocks ($28,800/pair), Spheris III preamplifier ($34,500), CD-35 SACD player/DAC/streamer/DSD ($10,500), and S-10 network streamer/vacuum tube preamplifier ($8300), the unmistakable sound of Wynton Marsalis came on, playing his post-bop style composition “You & Me.” What I appreciated most about the Kyara/Ayon combo was their lack of pretentious uber-liquid shimmer (that you hear far too often at audiophile shows). Wynton’s hip NoLa-influenced sound and deliberate articulation came through quite nicely.

Xiao long bao holds a very special place in my heart, and if Ayon and Lumen White continue to sound this good at future shows, I’m sure they will, too.