The Audio Company of Marietta, Georgia, USA is always proud to show their VAC, Masterbuilt, Von Schweikert systems in the large rooms at audio shows, and in dominating fashion. Which was still the case at Capital Audiofest 2022, with The Audio Company hosting their usual exhibit on the atrium level.
Reporting by Eric Franklin Shook
Here we have something less in the stratosphere, more down to earth, but in our consensus, still dominating in every way possible. Sorry little guys, Daddy’s home.
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Endevor RE (Reference Edition)
If you’ve been paying attention, we’re no strangers to Von Schweikert Audio loudspeakers, be it in show coverage form or having them at home for review.
- Marc Phillips reviewed the Von Schweikert Audio Endeavor Special Edition (aka ESE) in the summer of 2020
- Dave McNair reviewed the Von Schweikert Audio Ultra 55 earlier this year in spring of 2022
- Graig Neville reviewed the Von Schweikert Audio E-3 Mk II just a few months ago in summer of 2022
The new Endeavor RE ($20,000 pr USD) is something extremely serious to aspire to for Endeavor E-3 Mk II ($10,000 pr USD) owners, thinking about their upgrade path going forward. The leap forward in the new Endeavor RE is akin to that when going from a standard 3 Series BMW to that of M badge status.
For those who already salivate for something a little higher up the scales, the new Endeavor RE offers the same level of performance as the Endeavor SE ($26,000 pr USD), sans the extra trimmings and bespoke finish. Things like the more detailed cabinet, and faceted accents, Ultra Line level multi-layer, mirrorlike high-gloss or matte finishes, selected from stock colors or matched by automotive color codes of your choosing.
In short, the savings found in the Endeavor RE are real, and if you prefer a veneer finish, lucky you.
Valve Amplification Company (VAC
The VAC Master Preamplifier is a line stage (shown here with the in-board Master Phono stage included) is “an elemental, effective form of the essential developments found in the cost-no-object Statement Preamplifiers” — taken directly from the VAC website, because it’s true and beautiful.
This exact model of preamplifier is currently Dave McNair’s reference preamplifier, and he and I agree, he’s likely never to find anything better (and of unique value) unless it comes from Kevin Hayes of VAC himself.
And while I’m nicking stuff from the VAC website:
“The VAC Statement 450 iQ stereo power amplifier was the first in a series of VAC components featuring the VAC iQ Intelligent Continuous Automatic Bias System (patented*). The VAC iQ System builds on the unprecedented performance of the original Statement Series and takes it to a whole new level with a set of critical enhancements.”
Lampizator Horizon DAC
As far as flagship DACs go, the Horizon DAC from Lampizator is the flagship DAC to dethrone all other flagship DACs. The Pacific DAC held that flagship position for a few years, and then just when everyone thought all was well and perfect in the world, it was one-upped by the new Horizon DAC. How fun is that? A lot if you ask us.
It’s not a surprise that the Horizon DAC — since being on the audio show tour — has appeared in several of the best exhibits we’ve heard.
Below are some key design features to consider:
- Proprietary, firmware driven conversion process with 760 kHz PCM and DSD512
- No silicon anywhere in signal path past the conversion stage
- Silver wiring inside
- Copper sheet, true metal capacitors in the signal path
- CNC milled chassis, No-Screw design.
- 6SN7 conversion tubes
- KT88 output driver tubes
- Volume control of the highest possible caliber in every unit, featuring a full bypass function
- All units are truly balanced and SE at the same time
- Zero feedback, neither local nor global
- Zero op-amps
- Tube rectified power supply
- Hundreds of tube rolling permutations.
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It’s been said recently that Dave, Grover, Jameson, and myself can be a bit hive-minded, and as a group voice, sound more like a “choir of hot-takes” than a collection of soloists.
Maybe we are a bit like Voltron?
Despite that existential fodder, we all agreed, and consensus was formed. This exhibit absolutely rocked, dominated most others in one fashion or several, and at times felt like we were listening to the DNA of the Ultra Line being passed down through these affordable ERE speakers from Von Schweikert.
So to have them available at just $20k a pair, and to our eyes without any compromise on build quality from the ESE (sans ultra-high-end finishing), the new Endeavor RE could be one of the biggest values in hi-fi or even ultra-fi depending on the associated equipment.
And that my friends, feels like a big thing to say, because I can think of a lot of speakers above and below the $20k price point (that we really like) that can go walk the plank, if my other option is the ERE.
Does VSA have another best seller on their hands? I think so. I hope so.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from CAF 2022, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.