It all made sense. I'd mapped AMR's stepped regulation as being soft and distant already years ago. Once bypassed for fixed output, the DAC morphs into a quicker, spatially more present, elastic, big and direct version of itself; not by much but enough to notice. Vivace certainly did. Being thus reminded, it was time to follow up with the Thöress DFP. This German linestage does pretty much everything very well but on two counts is rather remarkable. Its clever minimalist circuit is exceptionally agile and snappy and portrays big images close up and personal. These traits added what AMR's volume couldn't do. Vivace responded with more vigor, clarity and presence. This change was anything but small. What didn't shift or decrease was suavity. The monos didn't get fuzzier, coarser, grainier or cold but remained as articulate, smooth, composed and alive as before. One virtual gear shift down meant a faster drive with twitchier RPM. If there was any downside to running Vivace with a single-ended signal, I failed to hear it.

The excitement from Vivace fronted by the AMR and Reinhard Thöress's linestage was as intense as it was satisfying. With quality repertoire I could push as loud as I pleased whilst remaining safely inside an undistorted zone of squeaky cleanliness. Alberto unlocked the option to scale up SPL without limits because his power reserved didn't suffer the smallest hint of fatigue or effort. AGD's monos were as fierce and propulsive as they were easygoing and clear. Perhaps in a room twice as large with even more demanding speakers, I could have hit eventual stops but with what I had, I did not.

Once it became clear that the Thöress DFP simply had to stay, it was time to swap DAC, XLR be damned. Where the AMR had followed the suave, picturesque and emotional scenic route, the Pacific took the fast perfectly lit hi-rez lane. With the LampizatOr, the sound underwent a major rework. It was still fit for public roads and cruising speeds but with its sportier gearbox, larger turbo and specialty tires, who'd bother? The system was now primed for the race track. To use audiophile lingo, the LampizatOr had the Vivace act far faster, more energetic, palpable, open, spatially present and expanded in all directions. Now the sound was fully unfurled yet as shimmery, sleek and seasoned as before. I'd finally seen what Vivace truly had in store for me.

The Pacific DAC with 300B valves made for Living Voice by KR Audio is persuasive, intimate, soothing and fabulously tactile. With music based on subtle voices, stringed instruments and minimalist arrangements, Vivace showcased tremendous aliveness, sensuousness and gentleness. It outlined all images meticulously and presented them as internally moist but also on the crisper side. To even things out a tad, Kevin Scott's custom 300B were replaced by KR Audio's T-100. Their effect was more grounded, gutsy, bassy, bloomy and relaxed. This swap better complimented Vivace without truncating its dynamic potency. To my ears this struck the perfect balance. There was no fuzz, dilution or bloat, just a tad more gravity in exchange for a less euphonic feel. The AGD tracked each of my changes with a resolution that was truly off the charts.