Acoustical Systems Aquilar Anniversary Tonearm & Palladian Moving Coil Phono Cartridge $22,995 Review

June 14, 2022 § Leave a comment

A striking characteristic of Aquilar / Palladian combination is that when listening it is easy to shift between unfocussed and focused listening, from listening to a group of musicians playing a piece of music to honing in on particular aspects, a single instrument, or how different musicians are interacting with one another. For instance, when listening to jazz groups, it became possible to focus on interactions of the rhythm section – how the drummer and pianist, for instance, are supporting each other rhythmically, or how the bass and piano are harmonically interacting, and then how as a whole they are supporting the lead horn. This ability to listen deeply into the music remained intact with very complex music, and this is one of the most striking aspects of this arm and cartridge. There is no fuss with large-scale music; it remains completely coherent over all sorts of music, from solo guitar to hard-bop jazz group to symphony orchestra.

The exceptional ability to follow subtle musical detail with the Aquilar/Palladian is nevertheless not something that is overtly highlighted; rather, it is seamlessly integrated into the sonic picture. The overall sense of musical integration is striking, giving a palpable sense of musical balance. As with detail, so too with the rendering of dynamics, which are fast and natural, yet fully integrated into the musical presentation.

The Aquilar / Palladian throws a large, open, yet fully occupied soundstage. Spatial relations in depth and width among musicians are precisely and quite dramatically portrayed. It is a highly coherent soundstage, in which images are properly sized and spaced without losing in any way their harmonic integration. This provides for a dramatic portrayal of musicians playing music in a natural space.


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