YBA 2 HC power amplifier System
Due to both mid-life confusion and a change in distributor during this review's preparation, I used the YBA 2 HC and its matching preamplifier, the YBA 2, for an uncommonly long period of time—over two years (footnote 1). Thus it was also used with all the loudspeakers I've reviewed in that period. However, I fondly remember the Epos ES11s, Magnepan MG2.6/Rs, Spendor S100s, Acoustic Energy AE1s, Thiel CS2 2s, Vandersteen 3s, PSB Stratus Minis, Mission Cyrus 753s, Martin-Logan Aeriuses, and Harbeth HL-P3s. The comments are an amalgam of the listening notes I took with all of the speakers used.
Front-end components were either a Linn Sondek LP12 (Cirkus/Trampolin/Lingo)/Ekos setup sitting on an ArchiDee table and fitted first with a Troika, then two Arkiv cartridges for LP playback; or a VTL Reference, Theta DS Pro Generation III, Counterpoint DA-10 with UltraAnalog DAC module, Mark Levinson No.35, Krell Reference 64, or the new Sonic Frontiers SFD-2, all recently driven by a Mark Levinson No.31 transport via AudioQuest Pro 2 ST-optical for silver disc. Other components included Aiwa HD-S1 and Panasonic 3700 DAT recorders and a Revox PR99 open-reel recorder. The preamplifier was either the Melos SHA-1 headphone amp used as a line-stage coupled with a Mod Squad Phono Drive EPS, or the YBA 2 with its MC module. Interconnects were primarily AudioQuest Lapis, while speaker cable was mainly a 5' bi-wired set of AudioQuest Sterling. All source components and preamps were plugged into a Power Wedge 116—recently fitted with the Power Enhancer option—plugged into one of my listening room's two specially installed AC circuits.
YBA marks one pin of the IEC AC socket with red paint. They recommend that this be connected to the wall supply's "hot" side, and provide a neon tester so the user can determine which side this is.—John Atkinson
Footnote 1: I commend YBA for not changing its products once the designs have been stabilized. When I expressed my concern to Yves-Bernard that the '91 samples I had were no longer representative, he laughed. "If it's good, then it needn't be changed, n'est-ce pas?"—John Atkinson