Italy and USA Make Magic in This Employee System

Italian-American Magic

Pathos and Klipsch Meet in This Upscale Employee System

Chris Landfield Employee System

Pathos TT Anniversary, Klipsch Khorn, and Chris Landfield: A Happy Upscale Family

When then-remote salesperson Chris Landfield first visited the Upscale Audio HQ in La Verne, he walked into our main demo room and fell instantly in love. So much so that when he moved to California in August 2022, his corner-horns were waiting for him before he even had corners in which to place them.

On that fateful first visit, we had just set up a pair of the legendary Klipschorns and were driving them with a Pathos InPol Heritage amp. As Chris listened to the incredible three-dimensional realism of this combination, he knew his life was about to change.

He had an excellent opportunity to lock down a pair of Klipschorns, but the Heritage amp was out of budget. Luckily, Pathos uses its magical InPol technology in a range of products. When Chris set his eyes on the Pathos TT Anniversary Hybrid Integrated, it was time for him to fall in love again.

"There's nothing else that looks like it," Chris enthused one recent evening as he showed off his system. And he's right. Look at those bold red capacitors and unapologetic transformers, set like jewels into a sleek design—"funky cool," as Chris puts it—that utterly belies the amp's 92 lb. weight.

Focal Grande with Chris Landfield

Upscale sales associate Chris Landfield shown with a Focal Grande Utopia for scale. (Or vice versa.)

The Italian Connection

Chris feels especially drawn to Pathos because his grandmother was born in Modena ("Home of Ferrari and lots of balsamic vinegar," Chris reminds us.) Modena is just two hours away from Pathos Acoustics in Vicenza, and like all of us, Chris loves that the company sources all its components and materials from within 50 km of the factory. And there are the padouk wood side panels for which Pathos buys an entire tree and cuts it into planks in-house, with the final pieces hand-polished by the owner's son.

"When you pay this much for something, it's nice to have that story," says Chris.

Ultimately though, it's all about the sound. And Pathos does have something special with their unique InPol technology that effectively lets small signal tubes directly drive the speakers in a high-current parallel circuit.

"InPol has a texture-y, tube-y feel but with amazing bass grip. There's a sweet top end and so much space; the sound is all around me."

Chris talked about the distant thunderstorm in Tool's track '10,000 Days (Wings, Part 2)' from 10,000 Days, and how the sound seemed to come from above and around him. Sure enough, when a hard-to-please listening crew from the store sat down for the song, one person looked up and behind with a start, as that's where the thunder seemed to be coming from.

Another listener noted, "This is a first... some instruments are directly in line with the speaker, but still manage to be in front of it."

So what is it about an amp from Vicenza, Italy, vibing so well with a loudspeaker from Hope, Arkansas? Chris thinks it's the Italian warmth of the Pathos, nestling in perfectly with the high sensitivity, often in-your-faceness of the Khorn.

The result is an immersive, hypnotizing mix of warmth and dynamism that makes you think of the first time you tried salted caramel or hot chocolate with chili pepper.

Chris is just as enamored of this great combo as when he first walked into that demo room. "Everything sounds great on this system," he says with a big grin. "Even poorly recorded Pantera."

Pathos TT Tube Hybrid Amp Klipschorn AK6 Loudspeaker
 Pathos TT Anniversary Tube Hybrid Integrated Amplifier Klipsch Klipschorn AK6 Loudspeaker (each)

Hope and Vicenza: The Complete System

Chris' system is an elegant dégustation menu of some of Upscale's tastiest brands. The source is an Aurender N10 streamer feeding a Chord Hugo TT 2 DAC. The Pathos TT Anniversary drives the Klipsch Khorns with a REL HT/1510 subwoofer. Why the HT sub? We've covered this in a previous newsletter, diving into why REL's high-gain HT range perfectly matches high-sensitivity speakers.

The cabling is by Cardas cables, and the power conditioner is an AudioQuest Niagara 3000.

Your System Needs YOU!

(...To Buy This Unbeatable Bundle)

Get 44% off the best-selling AudioQuest Niagara 1200 power conditioner with an Audioquest NRG-Y3 power cable. The 1200 packs the same technology as the Niagara 5000 and 7000 in a sleek enclosure, featuring two high-current and five linear filtered outlets. Usually $1,784.95, this limited stock bundle is just $995.

What We're Listening To

By Chris Landfield, Sales Associate

Fun Machine - Lake Street Drive

Fun Machine EP by Lake Street Dive

Stream with Qobuz 
I first found Lake Street Dive at a brand training back in 2018 when I worked for Magnolia as a system designer, and I was immediately drawn in by the presence of the instruments in the EP's opening track, 'I Want You Back.'

The stand-up bass intro feels three-dimensional and lifelike while at the soundstage's focal point. Immediately after, a trumpet comes in on the left side of the soundstage that feels airy and subtle yet discernibly present just left of the speaker. When the vocals come in, they all come together in a beautiful and cohesive presentation. Rachael Price, the lead singer of the band, has a beautiful voice that does The Jackson 5 vocals justice while never overpowering the rest of the band members on stage. The whole EP, Fun Machine, is very well done, but this track stands out as one of the best recordings on the playlist.

I like to use this EP when testing to see how well a speaker/subwoofer pressurizes a room. If you can get bass impact while maintaining tightness and extension, it should be able to create an effect of a bass playing right in front of you—an excellent test for a high-end audio system.

We're Open on Saturdays

Upscale Audio Headphone Showroom

The Upscale Audio store at 2058 Wright Avenue in La Verne is open on Saturdays from 9 to 5. We will be running with a smaller crew, and there are a couple of important things to note:

1) As with all other days, you'll need to call ahead and set up an appointment for a specific demo. If you decide to drop by, you won't be turned away, but your auditions will be limited to our headphone station and—only if the rooms are free—whatever systems we already have set up.

2) The warehouse will be closed, so if you need to pick up something, please call ahead, and we'll ensure we bring it over by Friday. If you buy something while you're here, it might be cheaper to ship it! After all, shipping is free above $49, and you'll save a little on La Verne city tax. Unless you live in La Verne...

Please call 909.931.9686 to make a demo appointment.

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