Greatest Bargain at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest
Frank Van Alstine has been making super-affordable high-performance gear for decades, but he might have outdone himself with the UltraValve, a 30Wpc stereo all-tube amplifier for just $1695. The amp uses a pair of EL34s per channel and features excellent build quality. The UltraValve sounded wonderful driving another bargain of the show, the $1800 per pair Salk Sound SongTower QWT. This is a full-range, floor-standing loudspeaker in a transmission-line enclosure with very nice fit ‘n finish. Even with the Salk’s moderate sensitivity (88dB), the system was dynamic and clean at high levels. The bass extension and definition defied belief for a $3500 amp/speaker package.
Above is the UltraValve, and below is designer Frank Van Alstine.