Newport 2015: WAVAC, with Silverline


by Rafe Arnott


WAVAC is to tube amplifiers what Hammond is to organs.

Well, more like a Hammond organ being played by Billy Preston gigging at a small venue in the mid-seventies.

They are punchy and dynamic, they swing, boogie and wail, and leave you spent, breathless and sweating when the music stops.

Jonathan Brown of Covenant Audio Consulting had set up the room featuring WAVAC HE-833 V2 150 wpc Class-A SET mono blocks ($79,990), the WAVAC PR-T1 transformer-coupled three-chassis preamplifier, the WAVAC three-chassis LCR-X2 phono stage with L-C-R topology ($25,000) and the WAVAC AC-2 SH-amplifier derived power conditioner ($21,900).

The analog front end was a Well Tempered Signature turntable (old stock) and the Lyra Olympos MC cartridge ($10,000).

Racks were provided by Timbernation ($2,500) and cabling was handled by custom Covenant Audio and PranaWire (approx. $40,000).

I took pictures and faffed about like a chancer while talking music with Jonathan, and after 10 minutes or so of this, he dropped the Lyra needle in the groove of the Analogue Productions remaster of Rickie Lee Jones It’s Like This and I sat cross-legged on the floor for a bit and listened until I was able to stand up and stagger backwards into a proffered chair.

Jones’ voice leaped out from behind the hotel room’s back wall courtesy of the imminently transparent Silverline Supreme Bolero speakers ($15,000) and proceeded to make my chest hurt as she crooned her Steely Dan cover of  “Show Biz Kids” and I got off on the sick texture and immediacy to the notes from Jeff Baxter’s steel guitar.

Every thwack of Jim Hodder’s drums struck my chest squarely and I realized that pretty much any speaker I could think of wanting to ever hear could be powered with ease by these tubed mono blocks, and all in Class-A Single Ended Triode deliciousness.

If texture, realism, and that very elusive human touch to the sound being reproduced are what you crave, then you must check out the WAVAC gear. When paired with an analog front end capable of serious resolution and bounce, these amps and pre-amps will bring you far closer to that “live” feeling than many other kits at any price that I’ve heard.

Just remember to bring a towel and lots of water to hydrate yourself if the WAVACS are pulling amplification duty… it’s getting hot in here.

Proud to sponsor Part-Time Audiophile and The Audio Traveler at THE Show in Newport 2015!








About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream


  1. The love for these SET products is where the audio ‘community’ as a whole gets it’s AudioFool reputation from. These prohibitively expensive amplifiers have THD multitudes higher than that that would be accepted as an absolute minimum in a $20 amp you could get from Radio Shack.

    Oh but it’s so ‘lush’ and ‘warm’ and the mids are just so right. I swear I can tell that the drumsticks were made of birch as opposed to the more common (and harmonically challenged) hickory.

    BS upon BS. I don’t have a problem with luxury audio goods but the lies that come hand in glove with them are a real issue. Get your collective hand off it. Simple fact is you’ve gotten audio wood of the worst amplifier product in the whole building. Not a product that’s great but overpriced or a product that has some minor sacrifices of function over form but the worst product in the place.

    Congrats on making yourself completely redundant.

    • I think you can get a great experience with your iPod and Apple earbuds. All those songs, right at your fingers. All that sound, right at your ear drums. Why would you ever need more? I mean, it’s all about the music, am-I-right?

      On the other hand, there are a bunch of morons that believe BMW and Mercedes make great cars, but do you really need all that handling? Seriously? When is the average driver ever going to take his commuter-car to the track? FFS! What a poseur a-hole! There are speed limits, and rules for passing, acceleration and whatnot that make all that stuff a literal waste of money — paying for it and not ever being able to legally use it is pretty much the very definition of “compensating for a small package”, am-I-right?

      On the gripping hand, what about those folks that spend any money at all for art? What nonsense. $50 worth of paint one-offs from Home Depot and a giant roll of paper and you have anything Pollack ever did. And that stuff just sits on your wall. It doesn’t do anything! Furniture not-from-Ikea is a waste, too! Hell, when you get right down to it, why ever pay more when you don’t have to? Too many morons, not enough time, am-I-right?

      And we haven’t even gotten to the whole “what do we really need” conversation, when we start digging in to the size of the average person’s house, how many hours they work at a job they hate, or how many hours of their life are pissed away recovering from the poisonous activities they need to indulge in so that they can afford all of that crap they don’t need, am-I-right?

      Man, I feel so much better. Mickey. Thanks for sharing!

  2. texture, realism, and that very elusive human touch to the sound are things that i definitely dont look for in my music. which brand should I look into?

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