VK Music

It was hard to find focus in Victor Kong's room. Between the nearly invisible AER BD3B/650mm full-range open-baffle speakers ($9800/pair) and the various amps on static display—Sun Valley SV-1616D 300B integrated amp ($2450), or the Elekit TU-8900 ($3050) or Elekit TU-8850 ($1850) power amps—my palms felt sweaty, my head, dizzy. Is this SET-amp lover’s heaven?

Victor’s active setup included a VPI 40th Anniversary HW-40 Direct turntable ($22,000) with the fantastic Hana Umami Blue MC cartridge ($2000) allied to a Sun Valley EQ161D phono stage ($1585), Pre161D preamplifier ($1550), and SV-128ii SET power amp ($5500) (16/25Wpc), with custom-made Hashimoto PT/Choke/OPTs.

Victor played a Chris Botti record. Trumpet was pure and willowy. The room filled with a dense ambience, the music sounding practically live and free of the system. Cymbals and snare drum sounded a tad ethereal—not quite grounded—but beauty and bloom were there, in heavenly doses.