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With the amplification part of the audio system pushed to its limits, Franck then took the second path culminating in the design of his ASI Tango speaker. He already had some experience with designing loudspeakers for other companies but with the Tango could go all out unlimited by commercial restrictions. He built and builds the speakers basically for himself and a select group of friends only. The Tango is another controversial design—what else did you expect from Franck Tchang?—that sports a classic boat hull cross section but otherwise breaks almost all loudspeaker ‘rules’ of the audio status quo. There is no damping and there are tiny breathing bores connecting the internal compartments with each other and the room. In the three mid/low frequency drivers are a myriad of even tinier holes. Next there are three resonators lined up behind the oval breathing gap of the thrice-paralleled woofers whilst behind the actual drivers sit checker-sized wooden tuning blocks which alter the sound by simply rotating them. This is Franck’s reference speaker which fights compression and has all the tonality he requires.

In the studio of Paris’ 10th arrondissement Franck’s system was getting closer and closer to the desired capabilities. Still, picking up one of his guitars and playing along with his favorite axe slingers like Larry Carlton and Robben Ford had him feel that the replay fell short compared to what he got out of his guitar. Sure the Karan KA M 2000 amplifiers had plenty of reserve—2000wpc into 8 ohms are no cacahuètes—but Franck felt that whenever the volume was turned up, compression kicked in. This was detrimental to how he had tuned his room. Alas when he adapted the tuning to complement these max volumes, then at lower volumes things went wrong again. How to end this dilemma became the next challenge.

Thus Franck took on a joint project with Milan to develop his own line of amplifiers suited to fit the special requirements he had in mind. The project would have Milan completely rethink and redesign the circuit boards of the upcoming preamplifier and power amplifier. But not only the circuit boards. The chassis, transformers and everything else were revisited as well. Everything had to begin from scratch again so the latest-technology parts could be used. It took a year and a half to arrive at the first component when Milan could finally invite Franck to Novi Sad for an audition. Franck was very pleased with the results of Milan’s hard work and his own role as inspiration and guide.

From this collaboration we today have the two-piece LiveLine preamplifier, the Grand Stereo and a Grand Mono power amplifier under the Acoustic System International or ASI banner. The LiveLine preamp’s spec read as having "three RCA/XLR inputs each and two XLR outputs. Maximum swing voltage is 18Vrms. Input and output impedance are 30K and 30 ohms respectively. Frequency response is a very wide DC to 600kHz ±0/3dB. Channel separation is <120dB and the A-weighted noise floor is <130dB. Maximum power consumption is 60 watts and the unit operates [in rooms] at up to 40°C (internal temperatures may approach 60°C)."

Then there are the monoblocks as "our reference statement amplifiers. They deliver a crushing 2.400 watts into 8 ohms (3.600 into 4 ohms, 4.500 into 2 ohms) and peak current and voltage swing figures of 240A and 140V. Even so their reflexes are blindingly fast and frequency response is a very broad DC to 500kHz ±0/3dB. Damping factor for uncompromised speaker control is 10.000 from 20Hz to 20.000Hz and the signal-to-noise ratio is better than 120dB to keep up with today's high-resolution music material. Each monaural amplifier weighs 90kg (198lbs) and measures 505 x 630 x270mm WxDxH (19.9 x 24.8 x 10.6"). Rear panel provisions are two IEC power inlets, biwire terminals and XLR or RCA inputs."

Finally "the matching Grand Stereo utilizes the same chassis but scales back power to 650 watts into 8 ohms, 1.000 watts into 4 ohms and 1.800 watts into 2 ohms. Its instantaneous peak current delivery is 120A and maximum swing voltage is 75V. Weight and dimensions are identical to one mono amp." This is the amplifier for today’s review combined with the matching LiveLine preamplifier. With 90 whopping kilos this is one serious amp. Our main listening room is on the first floor accessed via 16 steps with a 90° bend at the top. This presents a formidable challenge to aging backs to heave up and down brutally heavy gear. We therefore decided to leave the amplifiers on the ground floor’s second listening room.