March 18, 2009

"TWBAS" Comes Alive!

"The World's Best Audio System" ("TWBAS") started as a feature column by Jeff Fritz on Ultra Audio. The purpose of the column has been to explore system building using products that are often cost no object, to the point of being extreme. Amplifiers and speakers that costs tens of thousands of dollars are not uncommon for "TWBAS." But for years we've wanted "TWBAS" to be more -- something real, something you can feel.

In March 2009, that happened. March 14-15 a showcase of high-priced audio equipment worth more than $360,000 was all set up in Jeff Fritz's "Music Vault" listening room. The participating companies were Behold, Blue Smoke Entertainment Systems, Crystal Cable, Harmonic Resolution Systems, Rockport Technologies and Shunyata Research. Each company was specifically invited to submit its statement-level products to make up this system. You could call it "Jeff's dream team." Representatives from all companies came to Jeff's place on March 14 and 15, as did a team of SoundStage! Network writers that included myself along with Albert Bellg and Simeon Sandiford. This weekend-long event is now known as TWBAS 2009.

TWBAS 2009 on display

Prior to the weekend, this setup was already on a lot of people's minds. Over on AVS Forum, there's an entire thread dedicated to it that, as of this moment, has generated more than 1000 posts and had almost 60,000 views. That's impressive traffic. Although I haven't read through the thread, I suspect that one question that's come up is: Is this really the world's best audio system? In fact, I have an answer to that, but you'll have to wait until the April 1 update to read what I have to say in my "The Traveler" column that describes the entire TWBAS 2009 experience and more. TWBAS 2009 will also be written about extensively in Ultra Audio, and there will be plenty of photo galleries, too. Last but not least, there are video interviews that were taped at the event with the representatives from each of the companies. Stay tuned for lots more to come from this once-a-year event.

...Doug Schneider