$20K AUDIO SYSTEM
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ABOUT THE $20K SYSTEM
This $20K system is all about combining Laszlo Fabian's absolutely fabulous Qualiton Tube Electronics with Frank Fazzalari's Coherent Audio TWELVE Signature Loudspeaker ... a carefully designed and beautifully voiced "Coaxial" incorporating the very special 12" Radian driver with its 1.75" HF dome augmented by a wave guide...and an otherwise optional baffle-mounted Supertweeter. The TEWLVE is offered in 3 versions ... the Standard model - PRIME, and 2 further upgraded "Levels" including the PREMIUM and the all-out SIGNATURE. The version in this system includes the beryllium tweeter diaphragm, LessLoss Internal Cables, and the Mundorf SGO capacitor. It is available as either a Super-Monitor or as a Floorstander.
Then, we incorporated one of the most lyrical Music Servers available - the INNUOS Zen MK3. Not only is this ROON / UPNP server incredibly easy to set-up and use, it is blissfully musical, throwing a huge and super-quiet soundstage and all the detail retrieval one can possibly expect.... The INNUOS servers are truly exceptional front ends. We incorporate these into almost all of our systems.
This system's sound character being what is -- notably, the result of Qualiton's highly articulate and extended tube sound driving a large concentric high sensitivity driver, presenting a non-complex X-over load -- led us to select a DAC of the NOS type, Daniel Frauchiger's MERASON DAC-1 ... an object of zen-like beauty, of extreme attention to component design, and a diva-esque and beguiling performer, to say the least.
I really need to come back to the tube electronics ... the QUALITON APX200, although it is useable as a stand-alone Integrated Amplifier, has a direct input which bypasses its volume pot, and thus allows connection to its stable-mate the APR204 all-tube Preamplifier, an ideal configuration in this system.
This pairing is nothing short of awesome thanks to a tube I had known about but had never heard before - The 6P45S [aka EL509/ EL519/6KG6]. I remember that Tim de Paravicini was known to love this tube and his 509 MKII amp was infamous ... I now know why. This anode - top cap tube is a BEAST ! Two in PP in the APX200 put out 100W per side and can drive almost anything ... but there is more ... we are not talking about bloated brute force here. This tube is agile, powerful, extended, delicate ... it has almost everything we love about tubes in one bottle. It is simply captivating ! In 2020, Qualiton introduced a second version of this amp that uses the more commonly available KT90 power tube. A look at the history of the KT90 actually points to it being a direct derivative of the EL509/PL519. It was first developed by EI in their Serbian NIS factory for Manley / VTL who wanted an Octal Top-Cap-Less version of the EL509 for their amps. The EI factory was destroyed in the Balkan war, but their version was sonically identical to the EL509. The latest KT90 production versions made in Eastern Europe and Russia are sonically still very similar, albeit with minor differences. The amp now comes with KT90 tubes as standard, but the EL509/6P45S version is still available on"special-order".
The circuit is a marvel as shown by the specs : Class A up to ~12W, thereafter A/B -- 15Hz >100kHz (-3dB at cut off points) -- S/N over 101dB ! -- all tubes are NOS, even the two input 6N23P and the two driver 12AX7s. Also provided are a Balanced input (665mV) and two Unbalanced inputs, one at 665mV and the second at 1330mV -- 32dB Gain @ 8ohm, 29.5dB @ 4ohm -- less than 1% THD at full power -- oh, and BTW it weighs in at a hefty 63lbs .... all this for $4,750. Thank you Laszlo !
Enter the latest iteration of the Qualiton APR 204 Preamp, now with balanced output to complement the balanced input of the APX 200. Although the APX200 is just fine and dandy as an Integrated [it has a tendentially dark and mysterious character on its own], in this system the micro-dynamics and shimmer get crazy once the APR204 plays along. This is another one of Laszlo's works of love : 4hz > 300kHz (-1dB) -- THD < 0.05% -- 1 RCA Out + 1 HP Out / 3 RCA In + 1MM Phono In -- Phono Gain 52dB / Line Gain 12dB -- All tubes [E88CC x2 Line & ECC83 x 4 Phono] are NOS ! -- a nice aluminum remote too. And Laszlo asks $2,200 for this one ... go figure.
I tell you this much, this combo makes almost any speaker sing, as the Coherent Audio TWELVE well knows :=))
This system is suitable for rooms from a minimum size of 15ft x 20 ft, and up to about 20ft x 30ft.
If you are in Nashville, call us for an appointment to come listen to this System at Atelier 13 Audio