Sound. In keeping with the Nelson Pass observation that the harmonic interaction between output stage and speaker load dominates over what happens between input/driver and output stage, Sava sonics were dominated by transistor virtues and actually somewhat similar to my FirstWatt specimens. The key differentiator was a clear cotton-taffy fluffiness apparently contributed by the four direct-heated triodes. This recalled a similar quality from my prior Supratek Cabernet Dual preamp. There 101Ds had done the DHT honours. At the time I'd visualized that peculiar quality as a slow-motion hair shampoo commercial wherein a model's immaculately quaffed mane does a very elastic trail behind her moving head emphasized by running it through fewer frames per second. With the Sava, this aspect manifested not really in the tone but texture and/or temporal domain. Given that the Chiara majors on tone and density with innate warmth and sweetness, I thought that the Sava contributions created too much overlay. On this speaker I thus favoured the FirstWatt F6 and even more the pentode-style F5.

Moving away from the ScanSpeak Illuminator paper sound into the more transient-prickly attitude of my ceramic Albedo Audio Aptica 2-way towers removed the overlay issue. The decay-rich atmosphere of the DHTs made for a lovely complement to the drier more incisive gestalt of the Accuton drivers. Having on that load just come off the Pass Labs XA30.8's very dynamic bottom-up presentation, the Sava's was clearly a top-down take. It showed far lighter bass and rather more micro than macrodynamic chops. I also felt that its fluffy aerated quite ephemeral vibe underplayed recorded tension. This made for a chilled relaxed very pretty reading that was lighter on gumption and grit and more pronounced on space, air and illumination.

Over Dan's 100dB Voxativ Dué and their battery-powered wood-based field-coil widebanders, some amp-injected chill rather complements their edge-of seat directness and dynamic reflexes. With my 85dB conventional two-ways meanwhile, the more potent punchy XA30.8 made for the more exciting and robust mate. That beefy 30wpc class A amp also maximizes the counterintuitive bass reach of these transmission line loaded small mid/woofers. It renders our Zu Submission subwoofer rather redundant. The Sava on the other hand injected beaten egg whites into the picture. It created soufflé textures and elasticity but also softened contrast ratio and black values. It was more of a comfort than adrenaline sound.

On my soundkaos Wave 40 as the most toned transducer of my bunch, these traits conspired to getting just slightly opaque. And that was running true balanced out of the COS Engineering D1 DAC/preamp to avoid complications from additional electronics. Now softness overplayed its hand to become too genteel. On this tonewood load, my FirstWatt SIT1 monos really remain the very best completers and augmenters. Whilst on concept a DHT hybrid plus widebander would seem most promising, in actual fact this particular combo was less convincing. From my speaker options, the ceramic Italians had matched best if not as well as with the Pass Labs.

Seeing how the Sava's one-up custom status didn't warrant a formal review to instead appear in our industry features section, these examples shall suffice. For my speakers a beefier current buffer with more than a pair of Mosfets per channel would probably be on the order sheet if I approached Sasa Cokic for a hybrid. For Dan's 100dB speakers, the Sava's hardware choices were just right of course. With my less pointy-eared noise sniffers, I had zero issues of microphony even with my ear on the drivers. Noise magnifiers like Voxativ are far more critical, hence Dan's extensive search for the perfect quad of bottles. What makes his speakers ideal for this hybrid concept also makes them enemies at least relative to the hyper-fussy 10Y.

To conclude, I don't feel entirely comfortable with any ultimate conclusions on the Sava seeing how it was especially designed with very high-efficiency speakers in mind. What I do feel comfortable with speaks to the obvious question whenever one considers any hybrid. Which parent's genes dominate? Here I'd nominate the transistors as dominators. The output Mosfets speak louder than the input valves. That must be why Dan prefers fronting the Sava with his Tara 10Y preamp despite the volume issue rather than running it with a passive or source direct. As a tube man, he favours a stronger tube flavour. And with his subwoofer, he's not impacted by the Sava's relative lightness in the lower octaves. As always, it's about having the right tool/s for the job at hand. On that note, I'll be revisiting this particular hybrid topic when Amare Musica dispatch their DeForest DHT preamp from Poland. Based on the Emission Labs 30A, I intend to run that into my SIT1 monos. In absentia, that'll create further data points also on the Sava which combines the same functionality in one machine.
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