VAC Master Preamplifier/Signature 200iQ Pre & Power Amplifier Review

April 30, 2021 § Leave a comment

https://www.hifinews.com/content/vac-master-preamplifiersignature-200iq-pre-power-amplifier

Probably the most overwhelming display of the system’s prowess via vinyl came with the admittedly-magnificent One-Step release of Patricia Barber’s Café Blue [Impex IMP6035-1]. Because this is a lean recording with just Barber on piano and a guitar/bass/drums trio, recorded with subtlety, the VAC system simply glowed – and I don’t mean the light from the valves. Fed material that oozes finesse, the VAC pre/power neither enhances nor constrains: it simply lets the music breathe.

I do realise that seems a contradiction if I’ve described the VAC combination as tending toward the warm, but that is a sensation of an arguably moot nature, rather than a readily-identifiable sonic artefact like ‘dry bass’ or ‘crisp transients’. They just seem more human, more lifelike than many over-etched, kick-you-in-the-gut amplifiers, and nowhere was it more evident than on Barber’s arresting handling of ‘Ode To Billy Joe’.

If you crave intimacy, especially if you are partial to vocals, you need to hear this set-up through LS3/5As, however incongruous that might seem. Then again, what they do with the Wilson loudspeakers…

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