Usually I would hesitate reporting on a room that has been very close to what we listened to last year in Munich, it wouldn’t make any sense unless there were significant changes.
Instead of last year’s 845 parallel single ended amplifier, Absolare introduced a push-pull amplifier using the same tube complement, but with a more robust 85Watts/channel ($40.000/pair). On top of that, the speakers were no longer the Altairs but the more “modest” Aviors, a combination that sounded more coherent than last year, especially in the bottom octave. Listening to a few jazz classics like Miles Davis in Kind of Blue and the exact same recording by Wynton Marsalis from last year left me without doubts: the new Passion 845 PP paired with the Aviors was a superior match.
Interestingly, there was also the new, in-house built, Absolare Passion phono stage ($33.000). This tube only design (no step-up transformers) is capable of 58db of gain, and when paired to the Lyra Atlas cartridge, sung amazingly well with rich tonalities, excellent pace and timing. During the four days of the show I came back more than once and listened to a couple of great recordings such as Bellafonte’s “Cotton Fields” and Gary Karr playing his glorious Amati double bass on Albinoni’s tunes re-arranged by Giazzoto.
What I do find interesting is that this year’s system is cheaper than the one presented last year (though not exactly cheap at an approximate $350.000), but represents a step forward in terms of overall sound capabilities.
A great room from Absolare!