Apogee Centaurus Slant 6 loudspeaker System
I used two amplifiers to evaluate the Slant 6: the $12,000/pair reference-quality Audio Research VT150 tubed monoblocks, and the $2355, more real-world McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe (see my Follow-Up elsewhere in this issue). Loudspeaker cables included 3' bi-wired runs of AudioQuest Dragon/Clear, and an 8' bi-wired pair of Symo—the Apogee-recommended cable for all Apogee loudspeakers. When Jason was visiting, we heard significant differences between cables—the Slant 6 appeared to be very cable-sensitive. I ended up doing most of my auditioning with the bi-wired Symo set, both because it seemed the best match, and because I could use it with the DNA-1 Deluxe as well as with the Audio Research monoblocks.
The preamp was the Audio Research LS5 Mk.II, fed from a Sonic Frontiers SFD-2 Mk.II processor (with HDCD decoding; again, see my Follow-Up elsewhere in this issue), a Mark Levinson No.30.5, or a Theta DS Pro Generation V (all in balanced mode). The analog front-end was a Well Tempered Turntable and Lary Pederson–modified WTA, fitted with lots of Marigo mods (Turntable Isolation System, Well-Damped Arm Clamp, Marigo Mat, etc.). The AudioQuest AQ 7000nsx's output was amplified by a Vendetta Research SCP2B phono stage.—Robert Harley