Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2013: Part 4

Neil Gader's Highlights

Show report
Categories:
Floorstanding,
Solid-state power amplifiers,
Tubed power amplifiers,
Integrated amplifiers
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2013: Part 4

Merrill Audio Veritas monoblocks ($12,000/pr) were driving the TAD Evolution 1 loudspeakers using a Macmini computer running Channel D Pure Vinyl into a Lynx Hilo ADC/DAC via Thunderbolt connection. These fully balanced amps are based on the Hypex NCORE NC1200 and output 400W (700 into 4 ohms).The chassis is billet aluminum, with panels one inch thick. I’ve made no pretense that these TADs are a favorite of mine and they lived up to my expectations even in this relatively small room.  Impeccable imaging from the brilliant coincident with dynamic energy that conjures up the explosiveness of  the best horn transducers. Really special.

(Pictured above) The vast expanse of the Evergreen Ballroom was chock full of Ayon Audio, AVM Audio, Legacy Loudspeakers, Gauder Akustik  and Accustic Arts. I spent some time with the new Ayon Audio System comprised of the 30Wpc Crossfire amp $14,900, Stealth preamp/Dac $10,060, and the Alpha DSP $7750. Driving the impressive Gauder Berlina 7 speakers ($29,000) the sound was crisp, very fast, with terrific low frequency extension and precision. Much of the credit is due the Alpha DSP– an interesting product. Combining DSP/crossover with a 400Wpc solid state amp, it was configured to drive the bass drivers of the Berlina 7 while the Crossfire amp handled the rest. 

With its bright mirror-like finishes Coincident Technology shined with a pair of single ended integrated amps (Pictured above) that should appeal to all sorts of budgets. Classic in appearance both of these beauties should garner even further attention thanks to the built-in headphone amps. The Turbo 845SE ($5999) is a true dual mono design built around the 300B driver tube. Output is 28Wpc and includes a remote control. At the other end of the scale and certainly one of the cutest amps at the show was the Dynamo 34SE ($999-not a misprint!) Single-ended 8Wpc, this little hard-wired EL34 based integrated is destined to steal the hearts of  desktop and headphone lovers alike.

Bruno Putzeys’ Mola-Mola Kaluga mono amps ($7500 each) and Makua preamp $10,000 were strangers to me when I sat down to listen to the YG Acoustics Sonja 1.2 (with all Kubala-Sosna cabling) in the GTT Audio room (pictured above). The Class D amps are based on NCore technology using a topology known as “single-ended driven differential” Power is 400W per amp into 8 ohms with up to 1200W into 2 ohms! Compact in the extreme, I’ve learned not to judge an amp by its size anymore. The Sonja’s never sounded better–refined, and revealing, I’ve said it before, this YG is their best yet.