Manley Labs 440 monoblock power amplifier In The Mix

Sidebar 2: In the mix

The front-end was basically the same kit I'd listened to with the Symphonic Line Kraft 400s. Digits were handled by the Forsell Air Reference D/A converter and its companion Mk.II CD transport (air in the transport, none in the D/A, thank you, footnote 1). Digital datalinks were mostly Kimber AGDL, the new Illuminati Studio Dataflex, XLO, and the Marigo Apparition Reference (everything Cable-Jacketed), plus a Shakti Stone on the transport roof during play.

I also auditioned the 440s with an updated Jadis JS1 Symmetrical Converter driven by the elegant and suavely musical Jadis J1 Drive. (Try the factory-supplied Sovtek EL84 in place of the stock EL86 in the power supply for a significantly improved overall sound.) I used all the cables mentioned above, plus Aural Symphonics' Optical prepped with their ioGel, and balanced datalinks from Illuminati, Kimber (AGDL again), and AudioTruth Diamond.

Analog was the Flywheeling Forsell Air Force One, with either a Clearaudio Insider or a Symphonic Line RG-8 dancing at the tonearm's end. (My vdH Grasshopper IV is back in the Netherlands getting the latest tweaks from Papa Stylus himself, A.J. van den Hul.)—Jonathan Scull

Footnote 1: Let me reiterate: the Mk.II is miles ahead of the original. If you're hesitating to upgrade—as I know a few Australians are doing—don't!
Manley Labs
13880 Magnolia Ave.
Chino, CA 91710
(909) 627-4256