Dr. Vinyl, Audio Skies

I ran into Audio Skies' Michael Vamos at the Hilton bar while schmoozing with old friend Michael Lavorgna, editor and owner of the excellent Twittering Machines audio site. (He's also my fashion guru.) Vamos convinced me to check out his room, presented with Baltimore dealer Dr Vinyl, and I was glad I did.

It was the end of the show, my brain was fried, my ears knackered. It’s amazing how great music played on a great hi-fi can lift your spirits.

The system included a Pear Audio Odar turntable ($15,000), with DS Audio Grand Master EX cartridge ($22,500), Integrity Tru Glider Brass tonearm ($8000), DS Audio Grand Master equalizer ($45,000), Backert Labs Rhythm 1.4 preamplifier ($12,900), and the very interesting McGary Audio SA 1E stereo amplifier ($7000). Closing out the rig were Larsen 9 speakers ($16,000), which are designed to be placed directly against the wall. A CAD GCD1 ground control ($2,200) made an appearance, as well as a MosArt rack and platform.

The McGary Audio SA 1E was new to me, so I sought some more information. It's a tube amplifier with a class-AB, Ultralinear output stage with just 9dB feedback, compatible with many tube types: 6L6GC, KT66, KT77, EL34, E34L, 6CA7, 6550, KT88 and KT90. Using stock KT77 tubes, it outputs 30Wpc rms at 0.25% THD, 40Wpc at 2.5% THD, both into 8 ohms. With KT 90s, you get an extra five watts. The SA 1E employs custom, American-made power and output transformers; Solen, Wima, and Nichicon Muse capacitors and Vishay precision metal-film resistors, Teflon-insulated silver-plated copper wire; Cardas silver solder; and a capacitor-multiplier circuit for the input and driver stages, said to minimize noise and hum.

This system's strengths were lifelike pulse and energy, and kick-butt dynamics. This was one of the finest PRaT systems at CAF 2023.

Cohsystms's picture

It bears mentioning that an important component was inadvertently omitted from this fine sounding system. The Sorcer X4 AC harmonic resonator by Coherence Systems, $3,999.95, was a major contributor to the “lifelike pulse and energy and kick-butt dynamics” as Ken aptly observed. The flagship model of the ADD-Powr line, it sat proudly in the rack above the amplifiers.