In the demo:
- Proac Loudpseakers D40R ($12k)
- Sonus Veritas Florence mono block amplifiers (TBD, but ~$20-25k)
- Sonus Veritas Genoa Line Stage ($15,999)
- Sonus Veritas Modena DAC ($15,999)
- Sonus Veritas Venice phono preamplifier ($21,999 with dual copper input transformers; $27,999 with dual silver input transformers)
I’ve been a big fan of Proac for years now, but apparently, the feeling isn’t returned. [Sigh!] This was one of the first loudspeaker companies I reached out to as I was really hot to get my hands on a pair of their Tablettes for use in budget-minded reference system, but no luck, and the wheel ground on. And then there was that reference system, where I though the big Carbon Pro would have been awesome. But … oh well. Maybe one day the US distributor will look kindly on our poor, ineffectual efforts here, but until then my longing will have to remain from afar. [Sigh].
Moving on to the star of the room, Sonus Veritas is one of those up and coming brands that make what I do here at Part-Time Audiophile so much fun. New brand, just getting it’s sea legs, and wow, what an offering. Their Venice phono preamplifier — which you can order with two copper, or one copper/one silver, or two silver input transformers — came from the mind and hand of the same guy that designed that fabulous Vinyl Reference for Art Audio, now updated and wickedly advanced. If I had the money, I’d be throwing at them for this guy. This phono pre is transformer coupled for moving coil carts, with the following gain structures: 64db, 70db or 76db. Switching the transformer out for moving magnets nets you 46db or 52db of gain. Did I mention that this thing is 50lbs?
The 24bit/192kHz-capable tubed Modena DAC is now queuing for production, here used with a transport from Naim. No coupling-caps are used in the signal path — where caps were absolutely necessary, you’ll find Lundahl transformers.
After experimenting with a number of approaches, we chose a pair of stereo Burr-Brown PCM1794 current output DACs configured as two dual differential mono DACs implemented with jitter reducing asynchronous sample rate conversion and coupled these digital circuit components to a single stage differential transformer-coupled topology that satisfies the goals above and provides a music reproduction experience that has to be heard to be believed.
The remote-controlled Genoa preamp, also featuring a quartet of 6N30P tubes, has two user-adjustable levels of output gain (6 or 12dB). Other features:
- Four unbalanced (RCA) and three balanced (XLR) stereo inputs
- Two stereo pair unbalanced (RCA) and two stereo pair balanced (XLR) outputs
- Flexible grounding options for inputs and outputs to eliminate ground loop hum/buzz
- Source selection, volume, mute, polarity inversion, stereo/mono, gain, and panel light brightness controllable on the front panel
- Remote control for power, volume, mute, polarity inversion, stereo/mono, gain, and panel lights
- Innovative TubeLife Monitor that indicates when tubes should be replaced
Last but not least is the upcoming KT120-based monoblocks. More on this front, but the look and feel here is outstanding. I kinda hope the released version keeps the gently curving wooden casings, an interesting and luxurious upgrade from the understated and rather functional black casework of the other components.
Anyway, this is quite a lineup of gear from this NC startup. Gimme!
Speaking of which, with luck some Sonus Veritas gear will wander into Chez Moi in the next few months. I’m pretty psyched for that — this room here at RMAF was sensuous, explosive, and altogether seductive. Love to have a second helping of that entree, yessiree.
Some more comments from Mal & Kirsten:
The phono stage had all the detail, speed, and tone you could want, and hit harder than any other vinyl in the joint. Nothing slowed it down. Nothing phased it. If you like big orchestras, big bands, or the Talking Heads, this stage has you covered.
The digital was equally impressive. SV may not be operating at the signal engineering level of a dCS, but their analog engineering seems second to none. The digital in this room actually fooled Kirsten into thinking she was listening to vinyl.
As for me, I lost track of time ….
… the only downside in this room was the pricing, which was well into numbers that would have Occupy Wall Street coming to eat us all.