The Transcendence 9 tube preamplifier (starting at $1,399) from Frank Van Alstine’s AVA line was also new. Replacing the T8+, the T9 has been completely reworked and the result was different enough that it demanded a new name. Interestingly, happily and conveniently, the new circuits are available as upgrades over those found in the T8 series — as always, just call Frank with questions. The T9 features six inputs, tape in/out, a new built-in headphone amplifier output, and can be configured with an optional HT bypass, RIAA phono, and remote. The tube complement is a pair of 6CG7.
Not shown at the show was Frank’s newest, the AVA Vision phono pre ($599). This is a brand new/totally old design that Frank’s kept in the cupboard for years while modern IC technology got dramatically better (where “better” = “quieter” and “more linear”). The new design is a solid-state “split passive EQ”, a two-stage, extremely quiet, and direct coupled, input to output. It’s also available as $249 option on the T9.
I can’t say enough good things about these two fine gents. They’ve been “doing” direct-to-consumer hi-fi for several decades longer than I’ve cared about hi-fi, and if anything, they’re pretty much at the top of their game right now. The fact that their prices are still on the approachable side of the fence is the best surprise of all.