Last night I plugged in the 600R that had just arrived. When I listened to it, my jaw kinda dropped. I will have to do a more detailed review but an immediate improvement in detail is obvious wrt dialogue and song lyrics. I was halfway through watching a movie that had a really difficult dialogue track when the new amp arrived and the rest of the movie was completely intelligible--now that was just plain serendipity. Then I put in one of my latest addictions, Shakira's Greatest Hits and I could finally understand more or less all her lyrics (as long as they're in Spanish
), without even making much of an effort to concentrate; I also noticed a rumbling quality to the bass in that album that is just nice
. The 10,000 Maniacs "thump" seems to have gone away somewhere (Mars, hopefully), and this morning when I put on American Beauty, dammit Frank, I could hear details of Jerry's duets with Grisman on "Ripple" that I always suspected were there but could never confirm as directly as now; in general, the percussion is much sharper including that thing where they do a quick repeated tapping on the whatever (maybe the cymbals).
It's not just detail, though. The imaging and soundstaging has gotten ridiculously
good. It resembles a headphone effect, with the whatever jingling right next to my ear.
I haven't had a chance to hear some classical music yet, but I'll get out the Brandenburgs and read the score along just for a chuckle. And my ultimate percussion test, Santana's Moonflower...
My AVA journey began as a "permanent replacement" of my Stax headphone habits, with the Fet Valve Ultra 550, through a pair of 550s in monoblock, to a Double 550+, and now the 600R. I was always very happy with whichever one I had (and rather surprised that there was a match for the clarity of the Stax), and continually gobsmacked when the new kid in town improved on what was already there. This 600R is no exception.
Of course no new arrival goes without the popping of the hood. Things inside look quite tidy, and you could build a springboard for your pool with the pcb boards; so servicing these puppies should be simultaneously easy and unnecessary...
Frank, I don't know what digit beyond the decimal point of distortion you were working on in this latest iteration, but no matter how far along it is, the improvement is still lovely and audible. Congratulations on a fine achievement.