Of similar sonic significance, Tom Campagna's Shadows also left an indelible impression
on me. With a [$40,000] price tag, they are somewhat more within the realm of possibility.
Having met Tom for the first time, he impressed me with the air of commitment and devotion
to the art of loudspeaker design. Quintessence Acoustics, where Tom (in addition to being
President) is joined by Peter Noerbaek in all of the design work, is not a newcomer on the
high-end scene, having introduced a very high-performance loudspeaker before this, the Stealth,
which lists for $65,000.
It's still hard to believe that the Quintessence Acoustics room at the Alexis Park was only
12.5 feet wide and no more than 19 feet long with a standard 8-foot high ceiling. The sound
experienced in this room was simply devoid of any single specific origin, with the whole
presentation hovering in space at the speaker end of the room. The speakers themselves just
disappeared. Period! The presentation was seamless image-wise and seamless spectrally. I could
not pick up the slightest clue that betrayed this as a system incorporating a total of eight
drivers per side. The Shadow could be ravishingly delicate, or robust sounding, or intricately
amazing; it all depended on the source material, of course. Having chosen a truly astounding
system of associated components, consisting of the Altis Centauri transport and its companion
Reference DAC in conjunction with Ken Stevens' excellent CAT preamp and JL1 power monoblocks,
Tom had very wisely spared no expense to feature his astonishing speakers. And wonder of wonders,
here was a show exhibit, pieced together under the same trying conditions faced by everyone else,
that managed to sound so completely integrated that it was as if it had been tweaked for ages.