Acarian Alón IV loudspeaker System
The front ends stayed much the same as in my last couple of reviews: Lingo'd Linn/Ittok/AudioQuest AQ 7000 analog, Proceed PDT-2/PS Audio UltraLink digital, with considerable use also made of a Mod Squad McCormack Signature CD player. Except for the front ends and some cables, everything else was changed for the Alón IV review. Naturally, my beloved original Quads and Cizek MG-27 subs had to be moved out of the listening room, and the amplifiers I normally use are 'way underpowered for the Alón IVs. Carl Marchisotto had brought a pair of VTL Deluxe 225s (the latest KT90 version) and a VTL Super Deluxe preamp, components that he has found to interface well with the Alón IVs.
A few days after the arrival of the speakers, I received a Conrad-Johnson EV20 preamp for review; for most of the listening sessions, I used the EV20, duly compensating for its polarity-inverting line stage. In addition to the VTL Deluxe 225s, amps used included a pair of Bryston 7Bs and an Aragon 4004 Mk.II. The power amps were plugged directly into a dedicated AC line; the rest of the analog electronics were fed from a Mk.II Tice Power Block, in turn plugged into a PAC IDOS (one of the analog outlets), with the digital transport and D/A converter plugged into the IDOS's digital outlets. The IDOS got its power from a second dedicated AC line.
The amps were connected to the preamp via 15' AudioQuest Lapis interconnects; speaker cables included Carl Marchisotto's specially prepared 20' length of tri-wire van den Hul MCD 300 (a cable normally used as an interconnect), three pairs of 8' TARA Labs RSC, and 8' tri-wire AudioQuest Sterling (tweeter), Sterling 2 (midrange), and Midnight (woofer). I also tried the bi-wire option (Sterling 2/Sterling) for long enough to confirm that it does sound somewhat less open. Given the Owner's Manual's dire warning about single wiring, I didn't investigate this mode of operation.—Robert Deutsch