CH Precision, Wilson Benesch, and Nordost system

Solid-state power amplifiers,
Solid-state preamplifiers,
AC power cords,
Power filters,
Loudspeaker cables,
CH Precision L1,
CH Precision M1,
CH Precision P1,
Nordost QKORE6,
Nordost Valhalla 2,
Wilson Benesch Resolution,
Wilson Benesch Torus Infrasonic Generator

Just as well then that we’ve got the 'budget' options from the other suppliers, with neither the cables nor the loudspeakers representing their respective manufacturers’ flagship options. Nordost’s Valhalla 2 might use more conventional shielding and less metal than the Odin 2, but it shares the top product’s core technologies and all-important proprietary connectors – and it’s backed up here by their Q-Kore 6 grounding system, to help reduce system noise-floor and deliver realistic dynamics. Take one look around the back of the CH components and you soon realise what makes V2 make so much sense: when it comes to power cords this is one greedy system, with each power amp requiring two and the P1 and L1 still needing their own, despite the presence of the X1. Look at the price of Odin 2 power cords and all becomes clear…

The Wilson Benesch speakers might look familiar, but these are not the Cardinals. Instead, what we have here are the smaller but easier to accommodate and rather more elegant Resolutions, making up for their reduced internal volume by adding a Torus Infrasonic Generator to the mix. Named for another of Captain Cook’s vessels rather than their undoubted performance attributes, the new speaker shares the same driver and cabinet technologies as the flagship, but in a more compact, simpler and easier to govern package. The tailored response of the drivers makes for a minimal, phase-coherent crossover, while also delivering the often mutually exclusive attributes of tremendous low-level detail and a fully developed harmonic envelope. The cost in this case takes the form of lower than average sensitivity – which could impact dynamics except that the light-touch crossover makes the Resolution sound more efficient than it is while the system topology and L1/M1 combination takes care of the rest. Like other WB speakers this one just loves to be vertically bi-amped, which helps explain the over-kill option of that second M1, while in practice, I found that 10% feedback worked best on both the mid and the bass ranges, allowing me to run the amps in straight bi-amp mode, saving the price of a set of interconnects along the way.

After that? Well, there’s always Odin 2…

There are some systems that simply sound the way they look. There are others that are defined by their chosen technologies, be they direct heated triodes, horn-loaded drivers, Class A solid-state output stages, or more ceramic than you can shake a stick at. But then looks can also be deceptive and technology can be applied in many different ways. Examine this system on paper and – price aside (and Lord knows, that’s no reliable guide) – there’s little to suggest the magic lurking within. The CH Precision electronics, with their near identical styling and muted blue-grey casework couldn’t look more Swiss if they tried. The Wilson Benesch speakers offer, as I’ve already suggested, a familiar appearance and nothing new in terms of their technology. It’s all been done before, in previous WB designs. Yet, just as there’s an air of solid, compact competence about the CH pieces, the Resolutions have a certain confidence that comes from their balanced proportions and the sculpted elements from which they’re built. This is a speaker that just looks right and that alone, even if you think you know what Wilson Benesch speakers sound like, should give you pause for thought. Hear them on the end of this rig and you’ll almost certainly be recalibrating those expectations.

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