CAF 2018: Emia Labs

“Stacked Quads.” is what someone said when they walked into the Emia Labs room at CAF 2018. That’s like looking at the Mona Lisa and saying, “A nose.”

The Emia ‘Quad 57-inspried creations’ (price on request) as Dave Slagle of Emia likes to call them (at least for now) are not simply “stacked quads” they are, in fact, active speakers! using a tube amp per side with custom transformers and heavy modified Quad 57 guts.

Dave Slagle’s field coil moving-coil phono cartridge

On my re-visit to the Emia room, just to sit and listen some more, Dave played a test pressing from a forthcoming Electric Recording Company reissue of The Country Blues Of John Lee Hooker and as I said to Dave, I’ve never been that close to John Lee Hooker. The music produced by this system, which employed two pair of speakers, was as immediate, delicate, and present as I’ve heard.

It took my brain some time to get beyond the sheer mass of speaker and connect it to the nuanced delicacy I was hearing. In situations like these, I close my eyes and just listen. And in this case, I go back and listen some more.