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!