The $3,500 Line One is the other new kid on LKV’s block. Like the two phono pre’s, the Line One is also fully balanced, dual mono, zero feedback and fully Class A, leveraging low-noise JFET circuitry. Each channel has two balanced and four single ended inputs as well as two balanced and two single ended outputs. Gain is user-selectable and either low (4dB) or high (10dB). The volume control is an ELMA stepped attenuator.
The LKV gear was matched here with Pulsar loudspeakers from Joseph Audio. The amplifier was a vintage Conrad-Johnson tube amp. The source was a VPI Classic 2 with a JMW tonearm and a Lyra Delos cartridge. Kimber Kable and Cardas wire was used throughout. An MIT Z-Center power distribution system anchored the rack.
It’s almost unfair to judge a Joseph Audio room — especially one using the Pulsars. I own a pair, after all, which should tell you something about my preferences. The sound here was rich and dynamic, with great drive and warmth — this was a little slice of heaven. We just gotta hook Bill up with some great vinyl and we’ll be all set. 😉
Anyway, I’ve been a fan of all three brands — LKV Research, Joseph Audio and VPI — for some indeterminate time now, and hearing them altogether like this is not only a treat, it’s an outright embarrassment to mega-priced gear everywhere.