Eficion: a Very Long Lasting Treat
Z-Infinity Audio manufactures customizable tube amplifiers. Its founder/designer, Zsolt Mathe of Redmond, WA, explains that while he's been in the component design and manufacturing business for 10 years, it's only in the last two that he has run a company whose name derives from his own. Given how warm, clear, transparent, and inviting music sounded in this room, it sounds as though he has reached his goal of "perfect sound transparency achieved through simple designs." One could easily quibble with the phrase "perfect sound"every dog owner has the perfect pet, and every designer has the perfect designbut it's hard to scoff at sound this beautiful.
Feeding the Eficion F250 were a PC playing VLC media player, a Tascam US-200 DAC, the Z-Infinity ZP1 class-A triode-coupled preamplifier ($2499), and a single 50Wpc Z-Infinity Z100 stereo amplifier with EL34 tubes ($2999). If I were investigating either the speaker or the electronics, or a system in the $20,000 range, I'd try this pairing to see if I could find anything more to my liking.