Las Vegas 2013: Jaw-dropping Absolare and Rockport

First, hats off to Kerem Küçükaslan. His room at the Flamingo Hotel was, hands down, the most arresting, I heard in Las Vegas that week.

Best In Show.

That said, the room wasn’t perfect. In fact, the room was terrible. Movable foam-core walls, a long-wall set-up, and next to nothing in room treatments, all should have added up to disaster. And, if I was being a picky bastard, I’d say that the room sounded tipped up when I came through. Of course, I came through this room six times.

Exactly what it was that was so alarmingly different in this room is hard to say, because it wasn’t any one thing. The bass grip on this room, courtesy of the monster Rockport Altair loudspeakers, was a scornful laugh casually cast in the direction of the Venetian Tower. I broke out in a sweat over the clarity and detail and depth in the 3-D blue of the ocean that was the mid range. On the whole, it was like staring at the sun. I’m ruined. This was the first time I’ve had a chance to hear this setup (or any of it’s components) “in the wild”, and I’m sitting here, rubbing my hands together in anxious anticipation of my next go-round.

Ye, gods. Wow. Pardon me while I go take a shower.

  • Steve Dobbins Kodo The Beat Turntable ($24,000)
  • Reed 3P Tonearm ($6,500)
  • Lyra Atlas Cartridge ($10,000)
  • Allnic Audio H-­‐3000 PhonoStage ($11,900)
  • MSB Signature DATA CD IV Transport ($7,995)
  • MSB Diamond DAC Plus with FEMTO Second Galaxy Clock ($38,950)
  • MSB SignatureTransport Powerbase ($3,495)
  • MSB Diamond Power Base ($5,995)
  • Absolare PASSION Single-­‐Ended Preamplifier ($25,000)
  • Absolare PASSION 845 Parallel Single-­‐Ended Amplifier ($37,500 per pair)
  • Rockport Technologies -­‐ Altair II ($100,000)
  • Cables: Echole Obsession SIGNATURE Interconnect ($7,500 / 6 feet each), Echole Obsession SIGNATURE Powercord ($6,900 / 6 feet each), Echole Passion Speaker Cable ($6,000 / 8 feet)
  • Mains Device: Absolare Bybee Purifier ($7,250)
  • Signal Purifier: Absolare Speaker Bullets: ($3,750 a set of 4 Bullets)
  • Tubes: Preamplifier — two 12au7 Mullard 10M; Power Amplifiers — four Sophia Electric 6sn7, four Custom-manufactured German ELROG 845 tubes ($1,150 each)

Also new-to-me were the leather-clad components from Absolare, which given the name and the wrapping, I assumed were from Italy, but were in fact from the US. The entire room, Mr Küçükaslan kindly pointed out, was entirely Made in the USA (except the tubes and the phono stage). So much for expectations.

The Passion Preamplifier features 18dB of gain and two ECC82 tubes. Input impedance is 120k ohms on input and 750 ohms on output. There are three single-ended inputs and two single-ended — XLR connectivity is optional.

The Passion 845SE monoblock amplifiers are rated to 52wpc, and arranged as a parallel single-ended, Class-A, zero-feedback design.