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!