Summoning an audible gasp were the Audio Power Labs 833TNT monoblocks ($175k). Engineered and built in Columbus Ohio, nothing adequately describes what it’s like to be in the presence of these 160lb, zero negative feedback designs which generate 200 watts per side. And, owing to their ambient heat output they really need to be seen and experienced up close and personal to be appreciated. Majestic in its hand polished art-deco aluminum housing, the tube towers showcase a pair of 833Cs (1940’s era radio valves). The 833 TNT is in fact the only 833C push-pull in the world today according to APL. In concert with Laufer Teknik’s The Memory Player 64 ($25k) driving Tidal Contriva Diacera SE speakers $58k the sonics were airy, quick, with a pleasant warmth factor. In spite of the massive scale of the amps, ponderous was not part of this system’s finesse-fueled vocabulary.
One of the show’s true highlights was the debut of the new Carver Amazing Line Source. An eight-foot tall line source the Amazing deploys 13 ribbons and 22 midbass drivers per side in a breadstick-thin extruded aluminum enclosure. Powerful and delicately tactile, although not quite full range in the bass, the sound was transient quick, clean and micro-graduated dynamically from the softest scratch of a rosined bow to the full thrum of a piano soundboard. This speaker shows a helluva lot of potential at $22k. Designed for biamping they were powered by a pair of Carver’s Black Beauty 305s per side with the Purity Audio Ultra GT line stage handling the preamplifier duties. Disc transport was courtesy of AMR. Cabling; Analysis-Plus all the way. But BobCarver.com isn’t finished–be on the lookout for the all new Silver Seven 900W (another gasp) monoblocks later this year. These amps should really light up the new Amazings.