After nearly 6 months of waiting—hey, it does say six not five moons—I leashed up the EX-B7 in lieu of the LinnenberG Liszt. That meant the same 6m XLR cables coming off our Vinnie Rossi L2 with Elrog ER50. Because I can do so without protest from the Liszt, I fired the amps up then the preamp. Instantly the amps went into protection. Their power LED went red, their displays said 'fault' in no uncertain terms. Did they think the preamp's turn-on too rude? Proper sequencing, bubba. So I put them back into standby, then back on whilst the preamp was live already. Big noise; and not of the single-tone AC line sort but as a flickering spectrum. Hmm. To eliminate tubes from the equation, I switched their bypass toggles to convert the L2 into an actively buffered passive. No difference. Same noise. Hmm². Then I remembered. Once before an amp had disliked this XLR feed by resorting to noise which magically vanished over RCA. Vinnie Rossi generates his true balanced outputs not with transformers but active line drivers. Were those the culprits? Out with the XLR cable, in with the equivalent RCA, tubes still bypassed. Dead silence. Hmm bypassed by huzzah. Amps back in standby, tubes reactivated, amps back on. Still dead silence. Huzzah². Of course while I'd pulled out the rack to get at things, I'd inadvertently unseated Furutech's wall plug powering the entire front-end stack. The Kinkis had promptly seen red again. Their DC sensor circuitry was truly ace. It did exactly what it should have done: serve 'n' protect. Time to play tunes, bed in and get snug 'n' toasty. These visitors were here to stay. The long wait was over.

Frosty out of inhospitable customs repatriation, the mid/lower regions weren't as developed yet as the already ultra-specific top end. After happy proof of life downstairs, the silver bricks hustled upstairs to break in whilst the main system hosted its next review subject, a pair of Vermöuth Audio Studio Monitors. Here is the top-floor system. I set the SD card transport to endless repeat of a 177-track playlist, then closed the door.

After constant 9:00-19:00 action a good week later, the mid/lower ranges had caught up with the top end to present properly balanced. By quadrupling power over my usual 60wpc amp, the preamp's signal cut had to compensate by an extra ~15dB. Though sounding mighty fine, this surfeit of power took a V8 4×4 on a grocery run. It was silly overkill. Now this show ambled downstairs.

In lieu of our usual 200-watt German monos, these power replacements slotted right in. But two specific items still stood out as special attractions: very powerful clearly more extended bass of superior damping; and again that superbly extended extremely resolved top end. Were these treble advances beyond the already excellent Liszt related to running 2.5MHz bandwidth versus 1MHz curtailed by i/o filters to ~400kHz? I remembered Spectral's attempts at an 'infinitely fast' amplifier. The ±1dB bandwidth of their DMA-180 amp was DC-1MHz. Though I'd never heard one, I'd heard of its fussiness relative to speaker cables. The relative fussiness I faced now had to do with a certain textural thinness, an underlying nervy whitishness and low-level noise that suggested water drops hitting hot oil. The latter wasn't at the speaker (no ear-on-driver noise without a signal) but inside the music. Some system tuning seemed in order.