Vinnie Rossi Amplification, QLN Loudspeakers, Innuos Music Server, SGR Equipment Rack, GigaWatt Power Conditioner, Triode Wire Labs Cabling

Amplifier designer Vinnie Rossi has the looks of a dapper clotheshorse. His gear is also stylish and eye-catching, kind of steampunk-techno. But there's substance there, too.

Rossie's hi-fi designs have advanced over 15 years at a furious clip. The latest evidence is the new Vinnie Rossie L2 Signature Edition Integrated Amplifier (L2i-SE, $18,995). The amp features a wide-bandwidth, zero-feedback, direct-heated–triode preamplifier design, compatible with 2A3, 45, and 300B tubes, and others. The output stage has a class-AB MOSFET topology, with a dual-mono power supply and custom-wound toroidal power supply transformers.

Vinnie has said the amp resembles a bank vault. To my eyes, it's more like Darth Vader’s helmet, with the exposed tubes adding a touch of lightness to the matte black finish.

Upstream of the L2i-SE, an Innuos Statement Music Server ($13,750—Innuos Servers were popping up all over the show) and the GigaWatt PC-4 EVO+ power conditioner. Downstream were the QLN Prestige Three SE Loudspeakers ($12,000). Upstream and down were Peter Grzybowski’s Triode Wire Labs cabling. Also in use was an SGR Model 5 Statement Equipment Rack ($3200/shelf, $10,000 as shown).

From teenage phenomenon pianist Joey Alexander to Louis Armstrong to some modern music I couldn’t place, this rig sounded natural, dynamic, and spatial, creating some of the best imaging in a small room of the entire show.