I’m not an old hand at hi-fi, but I’ve been around long enough to remember when Vinnie Rossi was designing and constructing amps and preamps under his Red Wine Audio brand. These were hand built and uniquely, battery powered designs, that utilized a proprietary, rechargeable power supply to ensure a dead-quiet DC operating environment that took power cords, treatments and regenerators completely out of the picture.
As with his Red Wine Audio designs, the same pitch-black backgrounds have stayed with Rossi’s current crop of preamps, power amps and integrated amplifiers.
Fast forward several years and while the new Vinnie Rossi designs no longer come equipped with the battery power supplies (they use shielded, high-quality toroidal transformers), the same pitch-black backgrounds have stayed with Rossi’s current crop of preamps, power amps and integrated amplifiers.
This was a strictly digital source set-up, with the Antipodes K40 Server feeding a Lumin X1 streamer/DAC via direct ethernet, so no noise from a switch, making Chris Frantz percussive skin work on Talking Heads “Burning Down The House” slam into the room with startling impact from the black hole of silence the pairing delivered to the integrated amplifier.
One of the more fleet-of-foot amplifiers I’ve heard in recent memory, I’ve always been a fan of Rossi’s voicing and his dedication to speed, transparency, efficiency and most of all enjoyment. The boogie factor of this combo was undeniable –a trait that Totem Acoustic speakers have always been uniquely able to translate since I first heard their Model One bookshelf design almost 10 years ago. Regardless of what was playing, but with rock anthems especially, tracks like The Cars' “Good Times Roll” slammed through the listening space like North Shore storm surge. Thanks to the impressive room pressurization that the diminutive-in-looks-only Totem Forest Signature loudspeakers provide iIt was impossible to not get caught up in the connecting punch of David Robinson’s drumming or the clearly separated voices in the band’s vocal harmonies as they backed up Ric Ocasek's lead.
Introspective and refined in its presentation when called upon to be with stringed instruments or woodwinds, convincing in its scale, weight and layout of large instruments like the piano, and able to deliver '80s rock at high volume with real swagger and no digital glare. This system handled explosive dynamic swings without breaking a sweat and imbued tracks with a sense of headroom regardless of how dense a musical passage was. This was a setup meant to speak to those who are music-first audiophiles.
Read the next Virtual Audio Festival post covering Aavik, Borresen and Ansuz Acoustics HERE.
More information on these products HERE.