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Hi-Fi '99


Balanced Audio Technology Rack System
  In the Balanced Audio Technology room they had a full "rack system" featuring, just below the turntable, their model VK-50SE ($7,500) preamplifier.  This tubed preamplifier has five XLR pair inputs, two pairs of XLR jacks for output, 20db of Gain and uses twelve 6922 tubes.  Just below it is the VK-D5 ($4,500) tubed CD player.  It offers XLR and RCA outs, BNC 75 ohm digital out, HDCD, polarity switching, and uses six 6922 tubes.   On the bottom is the VK-P10 ($4,000) tubed phono stage which can be used with either mm or mc cartridges.  Gain is selectable from 50dB to 73dB in four steps.   XLR and RCA inputting is provided for and output is via XLR jacks.  Cartridge loading is adjustable from 100 ohm to 47 kohm while capacitance is also adjustable from 100 pf to 1000 pf.  Absolute polarity is adjustable too.  Quite impressive gear if i do say so myself.


Victor Goldstein of Fanefare International was showing the sexy VIVO line of tube amplifiers (see review in this issues Ultimate Audio magazine).  Seen to the right is another line Victor imports.  Specifically, the Audio Valve model Avalon ($4,500 pr.).  It is a parallel push-pull monoblock using EL84 for output tube and produces 60 watts.  Frequency response is claimed as 5Hz to 40kHz.  Clear top-plate is removable (left monoblock in photo is covered, right is not).


KR T1610 Output Tubes
The all new, super huge sized KR Enterprises T-1610 are claimed to produce 50 watts per channel each in zero feedback Class A mode.  It needs 600v for the heater and 300 ma. plate dissipation (no pricing yet).  Even though this tube is about 12 inches high and 4 inches in diameter, my motto is "It's not the size of the tube but how you use it."  Still looking for that great 2A3 amplifier myself.   Sometimes too much of a good thing is a waste.


Art Audio Jota
Art Audio
, makers of the highly acclaimed Diavolo which i also reviewed in Ultimate Audio magazine, was showing their Jota amplifier ($7,395).  The Jota is a stereo or special monoblock ($10,000 pr.) which use the KR VV32B output tube with the GZ 37 for rectifier.  Finished in mirror chrome with gold colored transformer bell tops, the Jota looks like a winner!


Linn Klimax
Linnies can relax as the Linn room had the usual LP12 vinyl turntable setup.  The unusual thing is their new amplifiers!  Actually the Linn literature says "KLIMAX solo..."  Well, we all have our own times we Klimax.  Nothing against being solo of course.  Anyway, in the photo to the right there are actually eight Linn Klimax amplifiers!  They are this things mounted on the center wall powering their Keltik speakers ($10,000) !  This amplifier is a single amplifier designed for multi-amplified speakers.  They are quad amplifying the Keltik speakers seen in the photo.  Alas, i can not locate the pricing.  Maybe Klimaxing solo is free?


VTL officially launched their new IT-85 integrated amplifier ($2,500).  This 85 wpc. stereo unit features, unlike many integrated preamp/amp units on the market today, an active preamplifier section.  Luke Manley, President of VTL says "The IT-85 is not just a high gain amplifier with passive volume control, as most integrated amps are. It is a fully active preamplifier attached to our ST-85 stereo amp, designed for the customer who wants the simplicity of a one box solution and the sonic performance achieved by a pure tube designed active preamplifier and power amplifier."  The IT-85 also includes preamplifier outputs so that bi-amplification can be used as well.  Of course VTL suggests using their ST-85 since this would be the optimum matching.  A phono stage is due out near the third quarter of 1999.


Herron Audio and VPI Aries
Sounding wonderfully natural, the Herron Audio room was using their latest VTSP-1 vacuum tube stereo preamplifier ($3,650) and VTPH-1 tubed phono stage ($2,750 mm, $3250 mc).  The tube junkie in my grabbed the actual owners manual.  Glad i did because the more i look the more i like!  The preamp uses four 6922 tubes to produce upwards of 14 db of gain.  The volume control is of the stepped attenuator variety and features 142 positions.  The preamplifier also has regulated soft start filament supply while the tube bias supply is regulated as well.  Their phono stage uses four 12AX7 tube and one 12AT7.  The mm version's gain is 44db while the mc is 66db.  Like the preamplifier, high quality regulation is used.


In gorgeous gloss black faceplate with gold colored buttons and lettering, Electrocompaniet was proving that it doesn't take $50,000 for a good music reproduction system.  Seen here is their ECI 3 remote controlled integrated amplifier ($1,995) and EMC 1 Reference CD player ($3,999).  The CD player uses a true balanced system and uses 24-bit/96kHz DACs.  The transport mechanism is the Philips Pro unit.  The EMC 1 also features "fully balanced symmetrical state-of-the-art circuit design powered by a FTT (Floating Transformer Technology) power supply."  The ECI 3 integrated amplifier offers six inputs, the same FTT technology, and a DC-65kHz bandwidth.  Output power is claimed as 60 wpc @ 8 ohms.  The speakers used were the Alón Petite, which i feel are a great value for the dollar and priced at only $995 a pair!   For more bass, add a matching subwoofer for another $995.


Joule Electra.
The Joule-Electra VZN-100 Mk.VI OTL tube monoblocks ($9,800 pr.) are seen here driving the Merlin Music Systems VSM-SE speakers ($7,350).

Sonic Frontiers/Anthem has just released their new Anthem AVM-1 surround sound processor/preamp/tuner.  Also new is the Anthem MCA 2 ($699) two channel 175 w/ch amplifier, the MCA 3 ($849) three channel 150 w/ch, and MCA 5 ($1,399) five channel 150 w/ch amplifiers.  All of the MCA line accept either balanced or single-ended 9RCA) inputs.  As if this wasn't enough, there is also the new Anthem Pre 2L tubed preamplifier ($1,299) that includes a basic remote control!  It also features dual main inputs, four standard inputs, tape loop, and even a front headphone jack.  For you tube junkies like me, it uses four 6922 tubes.


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