House of Stereo: A Stenheim Debut, T+A, Etc.

Jacksonville, Florida, dealership House of Stereo occupied eight (!) rooms at FLAX. Room 709 debuted Steinheim’s 2.5 Alumine Two.Five loudspeakers ($23,500/pair), accompanied by a bevy of refined products that kept the room packed to overflowing. Several were from Germany’s T+A, including the SD 3100 HV Reference Streaming DAC ($32,387).

To this Swiss (Stenheim) and German (T+A) party, House of Stereo added the Japanese DS Audio Grand Master EX System cartridge ($22,500) and phono stage ($45,000), the New Jersey–manufactured VPI Avenger Direct Turntable with FatBoy Gimbal tonearm ($36,000; see my review), Wolf Audio Systems Red Wolf 2 SX server ($8366), the stunning-looking Italian Viva Audio Solista Mk III SET integrated amplifier outfitted with 845 power tubes ($29,500), and another pair of Stenheim speakers, the Alumine Five SE ($73,500/pair; the Two.Fives were on passive display). Some Synergistic Research products were also present, including the Galileo Discovery Galileo Power Cell SX ($29,516), Galileo SX MkII ground block ($7116), and Galileo Discovery speaker cable ($16,016 for a six-foot pair). Wirewold provided additional cabling.

House of Stereo’s Steve DeHarde and Jasmine Aires were our wise and knowledgeable hosts, and Nexxus Audio Technologies’ Walter Schofield (Stenheim), and Musical Surroundings’s Garth Leerer (DS Audio) explained the details of their products.

Whether playing Shelby Lynne’s Just A Little Lovin or a reissue of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique (Goosens, The London Symphony Orchestra, on Everest), this large scale, music-munificent system (with the larger Five SE speakers) was direct, refined, and compelling. The Berlioz reissue was especially dramatic, with every small percussion piece and textured string instrument beautifully separated and layered on a vast stage, resonant and resplendent. Check out Mark Henninger’s video below.

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