Sony SS-AR1 Speaker

Every few years or so, Sony makes a splash with audacious speakers aimed at audiophiles, and this is one of those years. The SS-AR1 is a 4-driver, 3-way speaker with a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter, 5-inch sliced-paper cone midrange, and two 8-inch aluminum-cone woofers in a vented enclosure made of laminated Hokkaido maple that's harvested only in November. This model costs the equivalent of about $27,000/pair in Japan, but no firm pricing has been established for the US market.

The demo system I heard included an EMM XDS1 CD player, Pass X20 preamp, twin Pass 600.5 monoblocks, and Kimber cables throughout. Listening to Take 6 singing "I L-O-V-E U" from So Much 2 Say was astonishing in its clarity and definition of each sound in the dense mix.