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Is it too soon for sellers remorse?!? I never thought i'd be letting these go, but changes at home make necessary the sale so I hope to find them a good home. The VAC (Valve Amplification Company) Auricle Musicbloc (MB-70) are truly remarkable mono blocks based on the current VAC Phi circuitry. Introduced when Kevin Hayes found a way to make a KT-88 based circuit sound better than his prior efforts with the venerable 300B tube, these 70 watt per channel gems use two KT-88's and two 12AU7's per amp and are incredibly musical and dynamic with enough power and control to drive most speakers out there. I use them with Wilson speakers and I've found nothing finer.
Don't let the low price mislead you - if you consider $5,600 inexpensive - these are extraordinary amplifiers. They are massively overbuilt from a company that makes some of the absolute best sounding amps in the world - their Statement 450 Monoblocks cost $78,000.
About this pair...
I bought these amps direct from VAC about 14 months ago and at the time they were thoroughly checked and brought up to factory new specs. They have consecutive serial numbers (****301 & ****302) and the optional balanced (XLR) inputs, which was a $500 option, and I upgraded the stock fuses with a nicer sounding silver / ceramic part. I also had the gold VAC emblems added to dress them up a bit. Since then I've probably put less than 300 hours on them, using them occasionally on weekends only.
The amps will be supplied with the VAC tested KT-88 and Mullard 12AU7 tubes that I received when purchasing the amp - the Mullard 12AU7's are a significant improvement over standard stock tubes! I also will include a pair of 10k RCA plugs that VAC made specifically for these amps (when operated in the balanced input mode, one can install these plugs in the RCA jacks and attain a 10k input impedance on the balanced connector).
Some information from VAC on these amps:
"The Auricle's powerful amplifier circuit is adapted from VAC's premium Phi™ 110/110 model. Two KT88 beam power tubes couple optimally through a high quality VAC custom output transformer, providing good output regulation and excellent speaker control. The shielded, choke-based power supply and the use of direct current heaters (even for the large KT88 tubes) ensure exceptionally low noise. The Class A1 direct-coupled triode front end provides superb balance and requires no user adjustment, even when new input tubes are fitted.
Output tube bias adjustments are simple and user friendly, using discreet indicator lights at the front of the chassis. Premium parts are used throughout, ensuring both exceptional sound quality and long, trouble-free service.
The chassis is machined from aluminum alloy, to avoid the magnetic coupling seen with conventional steel chassis. The thickness and character of the material also provides excellent control of vibration and resonance.
At a mere six inches in width, the VAC Auricle™Musicbloc™ is ideal for multiple amplifier applications, such as tri-amping and surround-sound. The compact dimensions allow this amplifier to achieve superb sound through short lead lengths and tighter coupling between parts, more closely approaching the theoretical ideal."
I am very particular about my gear - these amps were never driven hard. They have existed on isolation platforms and have been covered when not in use since I received them. They've always been fed clean power via a Running Springs Audio conditioner.
Cosmetically, they are in great shape - not perfect, but certainly nothing objectionable. The finish is in great shape for the age of the amps - the pictures don't do the lovely metallic flake paint justice. The only cosmetic blems I could find on careful scrutiny is along the side edge of the transformer covers where they meet the front - the finish is a little rough in some spots in a thin line along just along the edge. I never noticed this until giving the amps a good appraisal prior to listing, but don't want anyone to be surprised on receiving them. It's certainly not very noticeable when viewed from the front. The metal top plates on the front of the amps are in good shape, too, and the lettering shows well. These are really great looking amps - especially with the added gold emblems!
Please note - I have been contacted about this a number of times, so am updating the listing: there are no stray marks, scratches, or dings on the amps. the only cosmetic issue I found was what I described above - the amps are in very good shape are are rated quite conservatively. When I photographed the amps, I placed them in front of a couple of large windows, and there are reflections on the surface of the amps - these are reflections, not blemishes on the amps. The finish, as can be seen in the photo showing the gold VAC emblem, is quite glossy (looks FANTASTIC in person) so it was impossible to eliminate reflections from the photos.
Buyer to pay shipping/insurance via UPS or FedEx to Lower US 48. The amps will ship in the original VAC factory boxes - plan on about 70 lbs. for the shipping weight. PayPal add 3%.