At AXPONA 2016 in the lower level Burton Room was a wonderful setup with VAC's Master Line Stage preamplifier and Signature IQ 200 amplifier mated with the Von Schweikert Audio VR-55 Aktive loudspeakers. My listening note say majestic power and authority with a firm grip on the music. There was an abundance of tight and tuneful bass, with the highs being very extended and pristine.
Front-end duties were the Black Box Ultimate music server by Blue Smoke Entertainment Systems, MSB's Diamond DAC-V, plus a variety of cables by MasterBuilt Audio. They also made good use of room acoustic devices, which many rooms also wisely used to achieve good results. Over the years am hearing sound quality improvements, on average, over years past.
The mating of VAC amplifiers to Von Schweikert Audio speakers is another winner here at AXPONA! Manufacturers appear to be getting a fine understanding of what components work best together and thus mating up to showcase each company's products. Chief designer and engineer at VAC, Kevin Hayes, is also a camera buff and you can see his love of the visual arts within VAC's products.
Harking back to traditional styling with tastes of modern design is the VAC Phi 170 power amplifier. Showcased during CES 2016, the all-new VAC Phi 170 ($9900) at first glance may seem like a normal 85 watt per channel stereo amplifier. Sure, it can be switched into a 170 watt monoblock, and it has a fully balanced input mode too, yet the real breakthrough is inside! For the VAC Phi 170 is equipped with the company's revolutionary patented iQ Continuous Automatic Bias System. VAC's iQ is the only system able to hold each output vacuum tube's true underlying idle current perfectly steady at all times. Say goodbye manual adjustment, bias drift, thermal tracking effects, runaway tubes, and blown fuses. Say hello to more detail, increased extension and punch, lower noise, less distortion, and high reliability.
Truly enjoyed my time in this room as the sound quality was one of the very best during AXPONA 2016! And so they have earned Enjoy the Music.com's AXPONA Top 10 Award.