AXPONA 2016 had so many rooms that i knew it would be an impossible task to cover them all. Am truly glad to find myself within the Audio by Van Alstine and Salk Sound room as the sound they were delivering was exemplary! The Salk StreamPlayer Generation II ($1495) was joined by Audio by Van Alstine's DAC ($TBD), Transcendence 10 RB preamplifier ($899), DVA 850 hybrid monoblock amplifiers ($3699 each) and Salk SoundScape 8 loudspeakers ($8995 per pair). They were also using an OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray layer, which is an amazing unit for its time, which has been superseded by the BDP-103 / BDP-105.
Audio By Van Alstine's T10 RB preamplifier is an amazing evolution of award winning Transcendence Eight series preamplifiers. With its newly designed mother board, they have executed significant improvements. The T10 RB mother board has separate and isolated ground panels for each section; the high voltage power supply, the low voltage power supply, and the audio circuits. This allows us to produce a very quiet vacuum tube preamplifier.
Audio By Van Alstine's DVA850 ultra-high power monoblock amplifiers employs what the company calls a 'delicate' triode input, full complementary power MOSFET output, and multiple regulated power supplies. Inputs are switchable XLR balanced and RCA unbalanced. Finally, a new DAC designed to play all music file formats is now available.
Salk Signature Sound's SoundScape 8 uses a pair of 8" woofers to deliver deep, yet tight, bass. Tweeter duties is covered by the excellent RAAL ribbon, while midrange is well-handled by an Accuton midrange driver. Sensitivity is approximately 87dB/W/m. Getting back to the bass, for you tech-heads it has an F3 of 25Hz and is one of Salk Signature Sound's price/performance leaders.
So how did the room sound? Exquisite! Those ribbon tweeter truly sang, while the midrange was properly balanced with rich and supportive bass. Imaging was impressive and wish there were more hours in the day to listen. Audio by Van Alstine and Salk Signature Sound together produced quick, clean, musical, and dynamic sound. It was also serious fun to listen to. Alas, has many more rooms to cover at AXPONA and so onward we go. This room earns my award for producing great sound at very reasonable pricing.