This is the second time I’ve visited my buddies Damon Von Schweikert, Leif Swanson and Kevin Hayes at High End Munich, and their VAC and VSA systems there offer an interesting contrast to the gigantic-ness of it all back in the states. Back at AXPONA 2023, I mentioned that Von Schweikert Audio and VAC know how to scale a system down to the room so that you’re hearing pretty much the same sound as you would with that million dollar-plus system at venues such as the Capital Audiofest.
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
That’s why this relatively smaller room, though far from small, featured a VAC and VSA system with the Ultra 7 loudspeakers ($180,000/pair) and the quartet of VAC amps were the Master 300 iQs instead of the massive 452 iQ flagships.
Despite those “compromises,” I heard a very typical VAC and VSA system that kicked ass in every which way. In fact, the system created such a deep soundstage that everyone, including Leif and Damon, were shaking their heads in disbelief. During my first listening session in the room, I was asked if I liked guitarist Michael Schenker. I did own some UFO albums back in high school, but I can’t say I’m familiar with anything Schenker has done in the oh, fifty years since I last chanted only you can rock me rock me.
It was a great track, especially with me sitting way up front, but I was floored by the VAC and VSA system’s ability to recreate the sensation of being in the middle of the audience with people cheering to my sides and even behind me.
But the VAC and VSA system presented me with a predicament. I’ve been trying to hear “Chocolate Chip Trip” on a VAC and VSA system ever since Fear Inoculum came out, but these guys usually don’t stream. Thanks to the Aurender in the room, I finally had a chance and it was stupendous and worth the considerable wait. The big gong crash at the end, which usually sounds just a tad artificial to me, was real and visceral and explosive.
Is VAC and VSA the new CCT champion? I have to say yes. But it’s hard to compare all the past champs with this presentation unless I can walk back and forth between rooms at will. Plus, I heard CCT with the TIDAL for Bugatti system a few hours later. Suffice it to say there is an incredibly high standard for a proper rendering of the greatest living rock drummer’s long-awaited solo, and VAC and VSA nailed it like a mofo.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from Munich 2023, 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.
Also don’t forget to check out our latest collaboration – a solid bronze record weight available only for a limited run. This 800g of solid bronze features the PTA roundel on the top which also acts as a 45 adapter. You can purchase direct from the PTA Approved Store here on the site.
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