Five world premiers? Zowie!
Bill Hutchens of LKV Research guides us through the new products he’s created. Basis Audio gets a standing ovation, bravo! Finley Audio is back for more. Joseph Audio does that thing it’s known for. Les Davis Audio controls the waves.
There was a new turntable from Basis Audio on hand, the Bravo by name, and beautiful by sight. I didn’t get much of a chance to interact with the table directly, but it definitely is a smaller turntable and I’m here for that. Outfitted with the known Basis Vector 4 tonearm, together a sub-$10K package. Running into the new Veros VNL phonostage, beautiful by sound.
Finley Audio was showing off their 9 ga Cirrus speaker cable. A 7n copper, litz conductor, Teflon dielectric — python of a cable that I tried to bite through but failed at both attempts. I’m sure we’ll see more from them as the year carries on.
The big news for me was LKV’s new amplifier and phono stage. My experience datum for LKV Research is stacking up. Three times now I can point to exhibits using LKV electronics and say, this is operating as advertised.
Let’s start with the hallmark of LKV. Bill’s design approach is all about one thing: minimizing the sources of distortion and noise in his designs. Meaning that feedback is the enemy. A reduction of Bill’s philosophy of component design is this, it’s class-A until it isn’t.
Signal amplification throughout LKV electronics operates in class-A and only at the speaker output are Bruno Putzeys‘ class-D driver modules employed. A design that many (including Bill) agree has surpassed class-A/B amplifier circuits.
The last two times I was in an LKV Research exhibit room it was to listen to the new Veros PWR+ power amplifier — a $10,000 award winning beast that delivered shockingly smooth and detailed power through a pair of Sonner Audio Legato Unums (one of my favourite monitors, reviewed here).
Here at Capital Audio Fest 2021, it’s much the same in that I’m here for the new power amplifier, this time it’s a scaled down version of the Veros PWR+ — a little brother if you will — simply named the PWR 3.
The smaller PWR 3 stereo power amplifier at $3,350 USD remains a class-A+D design like its big brother, and is promised to deliver the sonic essence of of its $10K USD sibling. The PWR 3 will deliver 175 watts into 8 Ohms, and 350 watts into 4 or 2 Ohms.
The other new thing from LKV is their fourth deliverance of a phonostage, the Veros VNL ($6,500 USD). A solid-state no nonsense dual-mono power design, meant to sit at the top of their Premier line and represent the best of what Bill can deliver. If you speak with Bill you quickly learn that of all component categories this category is the sandbox where great deal of his play time happens.
It’s not breaking news to say that Joseph Audio also loves heavy power and does exceptionally well with all types of amplifier output stages. We’ve known for years that Jeff Rowland was a superb way to go when pairing up to Jeff Joseph designs. Now there is a challenger and disrupter in the game. The Pulsar2 Graphene monitors (review linked here) were sparkling and clear as ever on the top, and a brute down low.
Nothing about the sound seemed value category. It’s just that this is what happens when high-end design meets no nonsense pragmatism.
LKV Research VNL Phono Preamp
LKV Research PWR 3 Stereo Class A+D Power Amplifier
LKV Research Line One Control Preamplifier
LKV Research PWR+ Class A+D Power Amplifier
Joseph Audio Pulsar2 Graphene Speakers
Basis Audio Bravo Turntable w/Vector 4 Tonearm
Audio-Technica AT-ART1000 Cartridge
Finley Audio Cables throughout
Les Davis Audio Entropic Vibration Control Blocks
Les Davis Audio 3D2 Vibration Control Wafers