$7.5K AUDIO SYSTEM
Discount - 7%
ABOUT THE $7.5K HIGH END SYSTEM
Another High End system at under $10K... for $7.5K to be exact... really ? Yes..really ! And it is composed of exceptionally musical gear... Single Malt Isle Scotch for the price of a premium Vodka.
So once again with this system we get Great Value. For us, VALUE means a high Musicality-to-Investment Ratio, whether the system costs $1.5K or $75K. Systems that sound like they should have cost much more than what you actually paid for them.
THE $7.5K SYSTEM
This particular $7.5K system is comprised of five key components ... Quad's Linton Heritage 85 loudspeaker (complete with their very impressive dedicated stands), the "unassuming" but absolutely awesome pairing of the CVT 1030 MK2 FET/Tube Preamplifier, and a 250W/pc mono pair of 2100 Mk2 Power amps by AMC Weltronics. This amp was designed for AMC by Malcom Blockley and Peter Bath of NAD fame (BTW, AMC's name came for the expression "Another Malcom Creation"). Digital duties are performed by Daniel Frauchiger's Swiss MERASON Frerot DAC and Nuno Vittorino's INNUOS ZEN MK3 Music Server.
The original QUAD LINTON HERITAGE 85 was well known for its warm, rich and natural sounding character and the new 85 Anniversary Edition retains that classical character but introduces an open, more detailed performance that brings to life the high quality audiophile recordings now available to the music lover. The Linton is a three-way bass-reflex design with a 1" soft-dome tweeter, a 5" woven-Kevlar midrange, and an 8" woven-Kevlar woofer. The speaker is rated at 90dB sensitivity with a 6 ohm nominal impedance, and Wharfedale recommends amplifiers rated from 25–200W pc.
The AMC CVT 1030 MK2 tube preamplifier follows the same modular format of our classic CVT-3030. It has now also been upgraded to MK2 level ... and comes with motorized remote control !
With its 5 RCA inputs, a MM Phono Input, Tape Loop, a Headphone Output, Bass and Treble controls... and tone-bypass "Direct" mode, it offers all the functions you would expect from a preamp in this category. It boasts remarkably excellent THD, S/N and Frequency Response specs for a tube preamp, and can handle high input voltages that make it compatible with any kind of music ... even complex music with exceptionally demanding dynamics ! The MK2 now includes tube sockets, so Tube Rollers can now "tweek away". As this is Unity Gain tube output stage design, tubes can be "rolled" from any of the 12AU7, the 12AT7 or the 12AX7 families ... and their derivatives.
Have a Turntable with a MM or MC Cartridge ? Use the AMC CVT 1030 MKII's internally selectable MM / MC Phono Stage ... that feeds into the unity gain tube line output stage !
Although AMC Solid State Line consists of a large number of components, we had initially selected only 2 components of particular interest for use in audiophile systems. The AMC 2100 MKII bridge- able Power Amp is one of these two, and what is striking about the 2100 MKII power amp is its massive current capability of 50 Amps in Mono mode ! this particular system includes a pair of these amps in Mono Mode.
The two secrets to the almost tube-like sound of the AMC 2100MKII are the Hi-Voltage Sanken Mosfet power transistors used in the power stage ... and the massive Current delivered by its very generously designed power supply. In stereo mode it kicks out a "conservative" 100W RMS into 8 ohms (140W RMS into 4 ohms) and delivers about 32A of current. Mono Power is 250W RMS into 8 ohms. Hello loudspeakers with difficult loads. Bi-amping is the other application of interest ... and all of this for $1,798 per mono pair !
Then, we incorporated the INNUOS ZEN MINI MK3, a Music Server from one of the very best Music Server Brands available - INNUOS. INNUOS is gaining a reputation as the GO-TO server in terms of both functionality and superb sound quality ... and these qualities are present across their entire line, starting with the ZEN MINI MK3. All INNUOS servers include, a CD drive for Ripping, their own proprietary motherboards, sophisticated linear power supplies, all manner of gremlin-killing filtration and shielding ... in brief, an all out declaration of war on all the known perturbations plaguing DIGITAL, this in as far as retrieving, ripping, storing, and "serving up" digital media to the next critical digital component in the chain, the DAC.
Amongst many other functionalities, the super-intuitive InnuOS software allows the user to select between UPNP, ROON Core or ROON Server. Logitech's downloadable iPENG9 [Phones and Pads] and LMS [Laptops] apps provide really user friendly "Command and Control" capabilities.
The ZEN MINI MK3's character -- YES IT HAS ONE -- is very PRaTy, rhythmic and engaging. Compared to the ZEN MK3, it is more playful and wistfully entertaining in a Mozart-ian sense. The ZEN MK3 has a slightly more laid back Brahms-ian presentation, which is larger and more serene. The ZEN MINI MK3 in this system configuration has 2TB of HDD storage. For about $750 more one can order the MK3 PLUS version which comes bundled with a a superior linear PSU housed in a chassis identical to the one used for the Standard unit. This upgraded Linear PSU is included in this system.
Not only is this ROON / UPNP server incredibly easy to set-up and use, it is blissfully musical, throwing a 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.
The MERASON Frerot DAC is the last major component of this system. For the Swiss-made Merason Frerot DAC Daniel Frauchiger adopted a largely similar circuit layout, as well as the fully discrete structure for the input and output stages as those implemented in his flagship Merason DAC-1. The "big brother" uses two Burr Brown PCM 1794A chips in mono configuration.
In the Frerot a single 1794A is responsible for both channels, and as with the DAC-1, signal processing is carried out symmetrically.
Even if the DAC-1 logically contains higher-quality components, such as the sinfully expensive Mica filter capacitors and a channel-separated luxuriant power supply with several toroidal transformers, the tonal characteristics of the DAC-1's smaller brother, in this price range, are simply outstanding !!
The front panel comes in brushed aluminum. A high quality 9V DC supply is delivered with the unit and connects to a DC barrel socket on the back panel. An external, and low-noise Linear Power Supply for the "Frérot" will be available as an optional upgrade. This will connect on the DAC's back panel to a high quality 5-Pin DIN connector.
The Merason Frerot is the most surprisingly awesome digital to analog converter I have ever heard at this price point ... ever. This thing is so awesomely musical ... from the very first notes ... so very emotionally expressive and engaging ... you know you are in the presence of a Prodigy ... Shocking. This is like hearing Liszt -in person- playing Liszt ... this is not a just another superb "performer" ... its a Maestro.
The unit comes standard with a good quality 9V power adapter which sounded quite good to begin with. We then used iFi's $100 iPower X adapter (included in this bundle), and a few outboard high amperage Lithium Ion Batteries : +++ ... and Merason is about to introduce its own dedicated LPSU Upgrade very soon which is not included in this system's price but allows for an upgrade path ... can't wait !
Bottom line : The Frerot's price belies its true status in DAC-Land ... it would perform at very high level in many audiophile systems composed of all-star components. The better the cables and other components are in the system , the more the Frerot "ups its game" and is motivated to meet the ever increasing challenge. We have included the Merason Frerot DAC in many of our under-$20K systems.
This system is suitable for rooms up to 16ft x 25 ft.
UPGRADE OPTION -- For $650 more, we can integrate the Innuos ZEN MK3 music server / streamer.
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Additional 2.5% DISCOUNT