VTL MB750 monoblock power amplifier Associated Components

Sidebar 3: Associated Components

Listening tests were conducted in two systems (footnote 1), one built around Audio Artistry Dvorak loudspeakers, the other around Gershman Avant Gardes. Analog front-ends included a VPI TNT III/JPW Memorial tonearm combo and an Immedia RPM 2 turntable with RPM arm, fitted with Clearaudio Gamma S and Gamma "Gold" cartridges, respectively. Digital components used were a Parasound C/DP-1000 player as a transport paired with a Parasound D/AC-1500 converter, and the CAL Audio DX-2 integrated player. Preamps included a VAC CPA1 Mk.II, AHT-P, and Audire Nuance phono stages, and an Audire Diffet 5 line-stage. Other amplifiers in-house during the review period included the VTL Ichibans, VAC Renaissance 70/70, and Audire Monarchs.

The Audio Artistry system ran fully balanced and was wired with Synergistic Research Designer's Reference interconnects, Resolution Reference speaker cable, and A/C Master Couplers (standard and Reference versions). The Gershman system was wired primarily with Nirvana SL speaker and interconnect cables, but Nordost Blue Heaven and Kimber KCTG and 4AG and were thrown into the mix as well.

Accessories and setup details included: Bright Star Ultimate Isolation systems throughout, PAC Super IDOS and Nirvana AC delivery systems to keep the lines free from digital grunge, and room-treatment products from Echo Busters.

The amps were burned in for 100 hours with a mixture of music and the Sheffield/XLO Test & Burn-in CD (Sheffield Labs 10041-2-T), and warmed up (footnote 2) for a minimum of two hours prior to any listening. All CDs were treated with Music Fidelity's Discsolution (music side) and Nordost's ECO3 (label side), LPs were cleaned using the VPI machine and fluid, cables were wiped down with the ECO3, and the family dogs—Pippin, Lacy, Opie, and Zip—were instructed to lie down in acoustically optimal locations.—Brian Damkroger

Footnote 1: Room diagrams can be seen at www.nmia.com/~bkdamkr.

Footnote 2: With 12 6550s apiece, "warmed up" hardly does the MB-750s justice.