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Von Schweikert Audio VR-44 Aktive Loudspeaker

Von Schweikert Audio VR-44 Aktive Loudspeaker

Over a year ago at this writing, I first heard about Von Schweikert Audio’s new VR-44 Aktive on a Von Schweikert Audio-sponsored forum on the Audio Circle Web site, where it was announced that the VR-44 was to be veteran designer Albert Von Schweikert’s response to the hi-res revolution in speakers that has lately garnered a lot of positive attention. These hi-res speakers boast substantial, sophisticated cabinets to control resonance, in the main have proprietary drivers, and provide presentations that are arguably neutral with extension into the frequency extremes. Yet, most of them, at 4-ohm nominal impedances with sensitivities in the mid-to-high 80s, require amplification beyond the level of low-to-medium-power tube amps. Into the breach steps the VR-44 Aktive, expressly designed for lovers of valves. Being a longtime fan and owner of Von Schweikert speakers (a pair of VR-5 SEs has been my longstanding reference), I was thrilled with the news, but wondered if Albert Von Schweikert, an old pro, had gone too far, sacrificing the organicism I loved for neutrality and something called “high-performance,” building an overly complex transducer partly dependent on what I read were “powered woofers.” I called him up, we had a long, reassuring chat, and I quickly agreed to request a review as soon as the speaker got into production. After its promising debut at RMAF 2011, TAS editor Robert Harley assigned it to me.

After some months with it, I can confidently say that the VR- 44 Aktive ($25,000) is sophisticated, oftentimes startling, and so different from any speaker I’ve ever had in my listening room, that it challenged the way I listened and set up my system, while also taking on the best I had to give it in the way of music and electronics. It rewarded me with superb sound on a completely new level than I was accustomed to. This is an exciting speaker, powerful and yet capable of highly nuanced playback.

A four-way, single-cabinet design, the VR-44 replaces the long-standing VR-4—a speaker that has had a production run of over a decade—in VSA’s lineup. While preserving the traditional VSA quasi-transmission line approach that uses chambered labyrinths for the midrange (sealed) and woofers (ported), the VR-44 Aktive incorporates new technology in cabinet-wall construction, boasts completely new O.E.M. drivers, and reintroduces self-powered woofers for the first time since the VSA dB-99 in 2004. Like the old VR-4, the VR-44 has a cabinet both large and deep, measuring 41″ tall x 13″ wide at the bottom and 9″ wide at the top, with a depth of 27″. Unlike the two-box VR-4, however, the new speaker mounts all the drivers in the same, handsomely chamfered front baffle that flares at the bottom for the woofers and tapers neatly at the top around the midrange and tweeter. In addition, the raked-back design of the baffle timealigns the front-firing drivers. The form factor vaguely resembles that of the Sony SS-AR1, except the VSA speaker’s cabinets are 8″ deeper. A smidge of that depth is taken up by the 8″ x 5″ x 1.75″ black-painted metal heatsinks that jut like a cage from the speaker’s bottom rear. These heatsinks cool the amps tucked within the woofer cabinet. (By the way, there is a VR-44 Passive version without powered woofers at $22,000.) Per speaker, its weight is considerable—165 pounds. Sensitivity is distinctly tube-friendly at 90dB/8-ohms, while claimed frequency response is 16Hz to 40kHz, +/-6dB, 20Hz to 30kHz +/- 3dB (1dB in the midband). Standard available finishes are a Steinway piano-black and a Mercedes platinum-silver (custom automotive finishes on request). I’ve had both finishes in my room and can attest to their smoothness, glossy sheen, and attractive depth. The paint jobs are first-rate.

The dense cabinets employ a patent-pending “triple-wall” laminated construction exclusive to VSA, using three layers of differing materials and pioneered in 2009 by the UniField 3 speakers which I reviewed for another magazine. First, the outer walls are fashioned out of HDF in thicknesses from 1″ to 3″. To these, VSA adds a layer of plasticene damping throughout the inner walls. Finally, blocks of artificial stone are carefully laid over the plasticene throughout the inside of the cabinet. The three different materials possess opposing “Q” factors, canceling each other as they resonate at different frequencies, and produce a cabinet as fully inert as I’ve run across. Under a simple knucklerap test, the cabinets feel completely solid and never ring.

The VR-44 Aktive’s four different drivers are made in Scandinavia to VSA specifications. They are carefully matched in transient-response speed and low distortion characteristics, and are engineered to work together without tonal differences. The woofers are twin 8.8″ ceramic-coated aluminum and magnesium alloy cones damped with an additional layer of electrostaticallyapplied oxide powder. The 6″ midrange driver is made from carbon-fiber and cellulose-acetate pulp, with a liquid PVC coating to reduce cone breakup. Interestingly, the midrange can handle a huge swath of signal from 51Hz to 12kHz, and it’s deployed in a unique manner in the VR-44 design—something I’ll explain later. The dimpled 1″ tweeter is the latest dual ring-radiator from Denmark that boasts a diaphragm pressed from a special fabric impregnated with liquid PVC. The PVC ensures a rigid shape that will not deform under high acceleration. Behind the tweet is a chamber filled with a damping material to absorb the rear wave. Finally, in keeping with the VSA tradition, near the top rear of each cabinet is a rubberized-linen 1″ mid-tweeter designed to suggest more soundstage depth. Mounted inside of a waveguide, the tweet has level controls accessed on the lower rear of the cabinet.

The crossover is technically fourth-order but features firstorder 6dB/octave slopes at the leading edge of the filter frequencies, which then steepen to 24dB/octave at the second octave. VSA claims this technique reduces distortion caused by excess modulation. The design divides frequencies, but it also has phase compensation, time-alignment, and equalization among drivers to level their outputs to a standard flat response. Simply put, the crossover is four circuits combined into one circuit. All the drivers are wired in positive absolute polarity and in phase with each other. Zobel conjugate networks (shunts to ground) servo-control the motional driver impedances in order to create a flat 8-ohm load for more linear operation. Internal parts are of the highest quality. Capacitors are from V-Cap, Clarity, and Mundorf. The foil resistors are also Mundorf. Solen supplies the inductors. The hookup wire is Delphi Aerospace single crystal copper with Teflon insulation. Crossover points are spaced widely apart—the low at 100Hz and high at 4kHz—to take advantage of the near-full-range driver used as a midrange. But, in integrating the mid, the crossover points actually start at 60Hz at the bottom end and 4kHz at the top—before the filters hit their target descent rate.

Along with the wide frequency handling of the midrange driver, by far the most intriguing aspect of the VR-44 Aktive is its powered woofers. Expressly designed for use in concert with low-to-moderate-output tube amps (20W–60W), this unique VSA approach employs a 300W amp within the woofer cabinet that boosts the power of whatever amplifier you use, taking from that amp its first gain stage and, theoretically, also its tonal character. This internal plate amp of the Aktive has no driver stage of its own and also no RCA jack connecting it to the preamp the way a subwoofer has, but instead functions only as a power booster in an integrated loop with your main amp.

 

The plate amp is oriented through the speaker’s crossover to the back electromotive force (called back EMF) of the midrange. [Back EMF is the voltage a dynamic driver produces as a result of cone motion. In effect, the driver acts like a microphone. —RH] Distinct from a servo-controlled method that uses a sensor-chip, the plate amp itself, wired into the speaker’s circuit, reads the back EMF of the midrange and tracks its total excursion, synchronizing the movement of the woofers with the other driver’s movement. Invented by Sansui engineers in the 80s, who called it “feedforward,” this design was once licensed to Electrocompaniet, which used it in its amps to reduce harmonic distortion. The license expired and, now, the method is in the public domain.

As though all these technological features weren’t enough, VSA has incorporated convenience, basic good sense, and a solid warranty too. The black cloth-covered grilles magnetically attach to the front baffles of the speakers. Besides housing the aforementioned heatsinks, the back panel on each speaker features an IEC jack for the plate-amp power cord, a burly on/ off switch for the amp, a ratcheted control for the rear ambient tweeter, two sets of easy-to-use WBT five-way binding posts (for bi-wiring), and a smooth-sweep control for bass level. Beefy non-magnetic, non-resonant, screw-in, carpet-piercing spikes efficiently couple the speaker to the floor. The spikes aren’t the usual brass or steel, but are made instead from a soft metal alloy that is designed to absorb vibration. The warranty is five years on the cabinet, drivers, and crossover, including build-quality of all, and three years on the Aktive’s internal amp.

I set up the VR-44 Aktives twice—once this past winter when a pair of piano-black prototypes arrived via Pilot Freight and another this summer when Albert Von Schweikert himself drove a silver production pair up from California to Oregon.

With one of the truckers to help, I placed the first pair along the long wall in my smallish 12′ x 15′ room just about where I had my VR-5 HSE speakers—about 9′ apart, only 22″ from the back wall, and toed in so the tweeters fired just on either side of my ears from about 7′ away. Hooking them up to the speaker cables was a cinch, the WBT binding posts having convenient slots that fit the spades of my speaker wires perfectly and making tightening by fingers easy. Then, I simply inserted pairs of jumpers leading from the mid/tweet posts to the bass ones. Finally, as the VR-44s come with AC cables for the powered woofers, I plugged these in and flipped the On switch on the rear of each speaker. The lights glowed red at standby, then turned to green once the power was on. Albert informed me that it’s okay to keep the amps on all the time because they draw little power without a signal. But this initial placement ended up not being optimum, as, almost immediately, I noticed no bass coming from the left channel! At first, I thought the plate amp was malfunctioning, conjecturing that a switch in the circuit had gotten inverted at the factory, but, after speaking by phone with Albert, he explained that mere positioning could sometimes cause a canceling effect. Using a couple of classical CDs I was most familiar with to help, I then moved the speakers closer in, to just over 7′ apart and toed them in much less, so the tweeters fired about 4″ outside each ear. Voîlà! Huge bass!

When Albert came up months later (my review period was interrupted by a six-week Fulbright fellowship residency in Italy), we moved the piano-black prototypes out and put Mercedes silver production models in. Despite their size and weight, the unspiked cabinets were relatively easy to move around my carpeted house and study. With the help of a Chesky set-up CD Albert brought (it output pink noise that shaped itself into a ball midway between the two speakers, signifying an optimum placement), we ended up situating the new speakers in almost exactly the same spots that I’d previously found by ear. Albert pronounced my positioning perfect for the room and the music I play, saying he himself might position them to be more analytic in presentation, but that imaging, soundstage, depth, left-right channel balance, phase, and tonal balance were all in order in the way I’d done it. We’d taken the grilles off for the install, and I generally kept them off for listening, though I couldn’t say there was much of a difference with them on.

Break-in proved a long process that took over 300 hours by my count—over six weeks of almost daily run-in before the drivers softened up and presented a timbrally consistent and pleasing sound. This was complicated by the other set-up challenges along the way (see Sidebar). However, once broken in and set up properly, with the critical addition of an Audience Adept Response aR6-TSS line conditioner to the system, the VR-44s performed wonderfully with every combination of electronics I tried, and each set of signal and speaker wires too. Mainly, I used a pair of Siltech 330L speaker cables with Siltech 330L jumpers, along with Siltech 330i interconnects and Siltech SPX- 800 and Ruby Hill II AC cables. Most of my listening was done with my reference combination of deHavilland KE50A triode tube monoblocks (45W) and deHavilland Mercury 3 linestage. But I also changed cabling and electronics freely throughout the review period, trying vintage amplification as well as tube amps with more power.

At first, during break-in, the speakers were chameleon-like, and I worried over the shifting timbral balances and peakishness I heard, violins sounding a tad lean, then congested, the tweeters putting out too much energy at times. There was an occasional electronic tinge to massed strings. I even suspected there might be a lower treble prominence at 1kHz or so. I fiddled with the ambient tweeter controls, at first boosting them up too much, then dialing them down just enough to create bite in the violins and sparkle and shimmer on cymbals and high-hats. The same with the bass volume controls—too much, then too little, then Goldilocks right. This took weeks to dial in properly, as, along with break-in, I had to get familiar with the integration of my room, music, and the VR-44 speakers. Once everything was settled, I played a lot of vinyl—piano concertos, orchestral music, rhythm and blues, and jazz. The VR-44s were impressive with each kind of music, sounding exceedingly speedy and well-resolved to my ears. There was great clarity yet also timbral richness, and I soon found the VR-44s capable of complex textures and tonal shadings, with a fine spectral balance from top to bottom.

There was beautiful scaling on Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 58, performed by Claudio Arrau with the Concertgebouw Orchestra [Philips Universo]. Orchestral dynamics were expressive with pleasant tuttis, and Arrau’s arpeggios in the first movement were elegant and authoritative, his movement across the keyboard seamless, demonstrating the advantage of the wide-band midrange driver that covered the frequency spectrum from 100Hz–4kHz. Arrau’s lovely runs culminated in brilliantly articulate trills, preceded by sensitive chords. The VR-44s were excellent with low-level detail, yet scaled the varied dynamics of the orchestra from pianissimo accompaniment to full fff climaxes in crescendos. What I could really enjoy were Arrau’s deft, overlapping, two-handed arpeggios that led to solos in that poised, gentle style of his that emphasizes chromatic complexities and subtle shadings of dynamic contrast over clichéd, falsely expressive pounding on the keyboard. I could hear the breath and sense of spaciousness of the orchestra, as well, in the intermittent exchange of phrases with Arrau’s piano, lovely for their different tonal qualities.

Complex in a different manner was “Brother John/Iko Iko” from the Neville Brothers on their Fiyo on the Bayou LP [A&M]. There were nice wails of sound from the horns set against a jumping rhythm section. It was a fantastic tonal tapestry woven by electric guitars, cowbells, a Fender Rhodes piano, and a punchy bass drum setting the groove. The lead vocal boosted by a megaphone was counterpointed by a chorus with shouts in Creole, setting up an infectious call-and-response with the horns strutting on the backbeat like a crewe chief dressed in feathers and fringe. And the soundstage was deep and wide, a good four feet outside the edges of the speakers, sensuous and lifelike, with voices and instruments peopling the area within as though it were a side street in the French Quarter jammed with revelers during Mardi Gras.

 

Digital music did not disappoint either. Recently, I borrowed a vintage McIntosh MC240 stereo amp (40Wpc) and paired it with a Citation 1 preamp (a recent eBay purchase). I spun “For an Unfinished Woman” from the Gerry Mulligan Sextet [Jazz Haus CD], a 1977 live date, on my Cary CD player and got a sound to die for, it was so palpable and real. Again, the soundstage was wide and deep, but this music was full of pure, intense, and saturated tones, solid drum thwacks from Bobby Rosengarden’s floor tom and precise chomping from his hi-hat. Mulligan’s baritone sax possessed a big beautiful tone that contrasted with Mike Santiago’s sparkling guitar runs and Thomas Fay’s articulate piano work, full of emphatic chording and ringing arpeggios. George Duvivier’s bass was tight and tuneful. There were lovely, coordinated crescendi from both the drums and the rhythm section, and Dave Samuel’s vibes rang purely, with rich harmonics and lightly percussive mallet work. I thought the audible, intimate qualities of the performance a testament to the VR-44s outstanding ability to retrieve subtle, live, and evanescent details. The musical notes, no matter from what instrument, went right through you and grabbed from the inside, shaking you by the spine they were so immaculately present. It was a pure revelation to hear this vintage pentode sound combine with the newly minted VR-44 to make a recording recently lifted from the archives come so alive.

What could these speakers not do? Well, they couldn’t make everything sound good. With my reference deHavilland electronics in place, DGG vinyl from the 70s could sound thinnish and peaky, the lush strings of Albinoni’s Adagio sounding occasionally glossy and opaque, Pachebel’s Kanon in D (both from Adagio, DG) sounding pleasant enough but not glorious or completely open. Herbie Hancock’s title cut from his Maiden Voyage LP [Blue Note 4195] could also have a bright bite to it, limiting the sensuousness of George Coleman’s tenor, crushing the brilliant top of Freddie Hubbard’s roulades and triple-tongued runs. And, with only two woofers, albeit powered ones, I’d guess the VR-44s might not play very loud in large rooms, though they lacked for nothing in mine.

What about any flaws? Rarely, but on certain recordings while the speakers were still breaking in, I heard a chuffing or light slap behind the woofers on passages with heavy bass, perhaps from air pressure building up behind the voice coils. This seemed to disappear with break-in. Later, with the volume turned up so crescendi might reach to triple fortes of over 92dB (measured on my Phonic PAA-2), there was occasionally a “pushed” kind of sound on some CDs, like the midrange got too crowded with responsibilities for such a wide range of signal. Orchestras in tutti passages, for example, as on Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony [Teldec], or during an aria from Verdi’s Otello (from Sempre Libera, Abbado- Mahler Chamber Orchesta), or on Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony [Archiv], while never sounding crushed or dynamically pinched, could nevertheless sound a tad less open, not completely free and easeful. An on-axis spectral balance analysis from my listening seat, again using the PAA-2, showed a slight upper bass bump of 2–3dB at 80Hz (likely a room issue) and a 2dB suckout in the lower mids between 200–315Hz. The latter might cause some leanness that could account for that occasional “pushed” sound I heard. Yet, neither anomaly caused me much worry as, truthfully, once everything was set up properly and the system optimized, I found little to complain about. In my room, SPL readings from 20Hz to 12kHz were otherwise fairly flat.

In fact, on some of the most difficult music, the wideranging, intensely variable sound of the human voice, the speakers excelled. Using the combination of a VAC Phi-200 (100Wpc) and VAC Signature IIa preamp for my electronics, I got extraordinarily pure, extended, and clean vocals from both female and male singers, performing opera arias and country gospel music with like easefulness and aplomb.

Anna Nebtrenko, as celebrated a diva as there is today, can sometimes sound thin and pinched, with a dose of glare depending on the system and recording. But I’ve always thought the Red Book layer of Sempre Libera, a hybrid SACD [DGG] one of the best sounding of her recordings. Via the VR-44, her voice sounded liquid, penetratingly pure, as well as open and extended on top. It was a pleasure to listen to arias from the bel canto repertoire—three from Bellini’s La Somnambula, three more from I Puritani, and four from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Netrebko hit a high midway through “Ah! non giunge uman pensiero” from La Sonnambula that’s a crazy coloratura note, ornamented and vibrant, lyric and sweetly piercing, testing the upper reach of the 6″ midrange and the handoff to the tweeter. The speakers nailed it—no spike, no glare, no hole in the voice, and no ornaments of melisma or vibrato disappearing and breaking up Netrebko’s supple rendering of the most dramatic moment in the aria. This was a telling demonstration of the speaker’s coherence, extension, speed, microdynamics, and fine resolution.

Joseph Calleja’s powerful tenor voice on Alfredo’s “O mio rimorso” from Verdi’s La Traviata [Decca] had huge dynamic swings, but the VR-44s handled them easily, without breakup or dropoffs, shriek or hashiness. The orchestra was deft in accompaniment and the cellos especially dark and grave in contrast to Callejas’s brilliant Caruso-like tones, full of body and an upper sheen, attesting to the fine tonal palette of the VSA speakers, their nimbleness and range in handling widely varying, yet near simultaneous overlapping tones and textures.

“Great Atomic Power,” a song written by the Louvin Brothers and Buddy Bain in 1951, has been a country and Cold War classic for the span of sixty years since the Louvins recorded it in 1952. It’s usually sung satirically nowadays, but its message is fundamental— “Sinner repent before the atomic bomb blasts us all!” Using a VAC PA-100/100 stereo amp (100Wpc) in combination with a Lamm LL2.1 preamp, I heard Raul Malo apply his smooth tenor voice, honed to a fine lyric beauty singing Mexican corridos, to this humble but inventive gospel tune on The Nashville Acoustic Sessions [CMH CD]. Malo’s supple voice leapt naturally from the speakers, which disappeared behind a tapestry of dawg music from a mandolin and three acoustic guitars, finely woven and arranged across the generous soundstage. And the chorus behind was so clear, I could hear the breath of one singer and then another, the soft plosives in their mouths shaping the notes. Transients were acute without being at all edgy.

Throughout the review period, from the beginning to its end, the issue that concerned me most was string and orchestral sound, most frequently on CD playback. As I mention in the sidebar, the long break-in, the nuisance of noise in the line, and my own improper default choice of a high upsampling rate each compromised a natural sound. Furthermore, that most of the audible frequency range was handled by a single driver, the wide-ranging midrange, also concerned me, as I worried there would not be sufficient real estate for the 6″ driver to move enough air to create the illusion of a full orchestra. I’m happy to report that, once the issues were resolved, I was able to play a good deal of orchestral music and the performance of the VR-44 Aktive was completely convincing. I not only enjoyed a wonderful consistency of orchestral string play, I was also moved to the point of forgetting about technicalities and the deployment of the drivers.

 

Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, the “Pastoral,” is a good illustration of what I mean. As performed by the period orchestra Tafelmusik with Bruno Weil conducting [Analekta CD], this recording, with my deHavilland electronics back in, produced the most beautiful string sound I’ve ever heard from any system. The first movement had violins that were beautifully lyric and delicate, demonstrating with a fine and audible clarity the inner details of period instrument performance. There were harmonics and micro-dynamics galore and an overall sweetness like the real thing. The cellos and basses put down a warm, lush foundation so that the woodwinds could pipe purely and horns provide a jaunty punctuation. And when the score called for a blending of strings with woodwinds, it sounded seamless, orchestral swellings into tuttis very natural and grand. Within the soundstage, there was an extraordinary feeling of space and an illusion of the expanse of the entire orchestra. But it was in listening to the third to fourth movements, the Allegro-Lustiges-Gewitter, that I became thoroughly convinced that the VR-44s and the integration of their complement of drivers were very special. In this movement, about the approach and sudden arrival of a rainstorm over the land, a dancelike accelerando in strings gave way to punctuated swellings alternating between strings and woodwinds that were then joined by brass and horns in a fanlike and grandiose crescendo. Then cellos, contrabasses, and rattling, rumbling timpani came in a succession of triple forte mallet strikes. The musical effect was as though I were standing on the shore of an inlet, beguiled by the increasing amplitudes of an incoming tide and, across the skies, the spectacular arrival of an accompanying storm suddenly conjoined with pitching waters to converge violently at my feet. Awesome!

Because I had the advantage of an extraordinarily long review period, due, in great measure, to Albert Von Schweikert’s generosity in accommodating my spring sabbatical teaching at the University of Florence, I was able to enjoy the VR-44s for some months and explore every question they called to mind, admiring their precision and versatility with a variety of contemporary and vintage tube electronics, interrogating what I initially felt to be shortcomings, and coming to a decided opinion about them.The VSA VR-44s acquitted themselves completely well and take a legitimate place in the brave new world of contemporary high performance speakers. I found Albert Von Schweikert’s approach to creating such a speaker inventive and elegant, employing an ingenious triple-wall method to dampen his cabinets, combining it with the latest in Scandinavian driver technology, adding the genius of power to the woofers, integrating them with a unique crossover design that preserves phase relationships and maintains signal purity across the full bandwidth, and governing it all with lessons learned from nearly forty years in the trade. To tell the truth, I felt as though the speakers schooled me, and I’d had to adapt my default methods of setup and even improve my system (with addition of the Audience aR6-TSS line conditioner) in order to take advantage of all the VR-44 Aktive speakers had to offer. I ended up loving them and they are now my new reference, lending to my listening a bold, expressive beauty and the capacity for delicate shadings of nuance, bringing together a complex acoustic design with an aura of magic that I will not give up.

SPECS & PRICING

Type: Five-driver, four-way floorstanding speaker, quasitransmission line
Frequency response: 16Hz–40kHz
Sensitivity: 90dB
Impedance: 8 ohms
Power rating: 20W–500W
Woofer amplifier: 300W RMS (600W peak)
Crossover points: 100Hz and 4kHz
Dimensions: 13″ x 41″ x 27″
Weight: 165 lbs. uncrated; 240 lbs. with the shipping crates (per speaker)
Price: $25,000

Von Schweikert Audio
1040-A Northgate Street
Riverside, CA 92507
(951) 682-0706
[email protected]

ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT

Analog sources: TW-Acustic Raven Two turntable, TWAcustic Raven 10.5 tonearm with Zyx Airy 3 cartridge (0.24mV), Ortofon RS-309D tonearm with Ortofon 90th Anniversary SPU (0.3mV) and Ortofon GM Mono Mk I (3.0mV)
Digital sources: Cary 303/300 CD player, Apple iMac with Eximus DP1 USB DAC
Preamplifiers: deHavilland Mercury 3, Lamm LL2.1, and Citation 1 line stages, VAC Signature IIa preamp (with phono); Herron VTPH-2 phono stage; Music First step up
Power amplifiers: deHavilland KE50A monoblocks, VAC Phi-200, VAC PA-100/100, Dynakit Stereo 70, McIntosh MC240
Speakers: Von Schweikert Audio VR5 HSE Speaker cables: Siltech 330L, 330L jumpers; Shunyata Zitron Python with jumpers; Audience Au24e with Au24 jumpers
RCA Interconnects: Siltech 330i, Shunyata Zitron Python, Audience Au24e, Auditorium 23
USB cables: Wireworld Silver Starlight
Power cords: Siltech Ruby Hill II, Siltech SPX -800, Cardas Golden Reference, Harmonix XDC Studio Master, Silent Source Signature
Power conditioner: Audience Adept Response aR6-TSS with Audience Au24 PowerChord and Siltech Octopus Signature 8 with 20A Siltech Ruby Hill II power cord
Accessories: Box Furniture S5S five-shelf rack in sapele, HRS damping plates, edenSound FatBoy dampers, Winds VTF gauge

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