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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
27" iMac (3.4GHz quad-core IntelCore i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory); PureMusic 1.87; Amarra 2.3; Audirvana Plus in direct/integer mode; April Music Eximus DP1; Esoteric/APL Hifi UX1/NWO-M with new XMOS-based hiFace2 USB interface sans bus power
Preamp/Integrated: ModWright LS-100 with Psvane CV-181T tubes, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X, Trafomatic Audio 101D [on loan]
: First Watt SIT1, ModWright KWA 100SE
Speakers: Aries Cerat Gladius, Audiomanufacture Boenicke B10
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event, Entreq & Ocellia USB cables, Stereo
lab Tombo Trøn BNC/BNC coax
Artesania Esoteric twin-width 3-tier with TT glass shelf
, 2 x ASI HeartSong amp stand
Powerline conditioning: 1 x GigaWatt PF2, 1 x Furutech RTP-6
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review Component Retail: $6.000/pr

115 watts. Batteries included.
Tube too. In a nutshell that's it. For his Red Wine Audio symphony, off-the-grid battery power has been Vinnie Rossi's leit motif from the very first bar*1. Class D's 85% or more efficiency got combined with low to mid power Tripath modules to exploit sealed lead-acid batteries in lieu of conventional power supplies with their noisy transformers, bridge rectifiers and banks of storage and smoothing capacitors. Similar battery schemes had been applied elsewhere mainly to phono stages and perhaps the occasional preamp. With 51.2 volts and ultra-low impedance, the latest in high-current LiFePO4*2 battery cell technology finally allowed Vinnie to offer a stout 115 watts into 8Ω—with exactly twice that into 4Ω—and do so for a Mosfet-based class A/B output stage.

*1 His background is electrical engineering. Prior to RWA's launch in 2005, he worked for Lucent/Bell Labs as test engineer on automated test systems for high-speed laser transmitters and fiber-optics receivers. Amongst others he helped develop test sets for auto laser biasing and digital eye pattern jitter analysis.

*2 LiFePO4 stands for lithium/iron/phosphate. Such batteries are capable of very high output currents and show up in powered bicycles for example. Unlike conventional Li-Ion cells overcharging releases neither metallic lithium nor oxygen. Rather than only 50-60% of lithium utilization, LFP cells use their total amount. Depending on construction a quick charge to 90% of capacity can occur over a brief 5 minutes. Auto discharge of 5 percent/month equals Li-Ion precursors but LFP's internal impedance is about half and complete discharges don't reduce total capacitance values.

To sweeten this deal, his 6922/E88CC class A triode buffer (rollable with 7308/E188CC, 7DJ8/PCC88, 6N23, 6H23, 6N11 or 6GM8) remains. That makes his new flagship Liliana—mouthful alert!—valve-hybrid DC-powered high-output monaural amplifiers. For user convenience an onboard microprocessor monitors thermal and short-circuit management. Battery charging is handled by another fully automated circuit. A line-out allows connection to another amp for biwiring or to a subwoofer. A clear acrylic window integrated into the company logo on top rotates open in either direction for easy access to the solitary tube. Gain is 23dB, input impedance 100K. DC offset is +/- 5mV. The on-board battery provides from 6 to 8 hours of operation before a recharge is required.

The 3-position rotary switch selects between off/charge, on/charge (AC mode) and on (DC mode). In AC mode listening happens simultaneously with charging. This eliminates time restrictions to have Liliana play indefinitely like any ordinary amp. In DC mode the charger disconnects internally. Only here the time limits of battery power without AC connection apply. This power-mode selector is outside the signal path. It merely triggers the SMART board. That's what really switches on the power rail via a high-current relay. Dimensions of each Liliana mono are 12 x 14 x 4.5" WxDxH including spikes and sockets. Weight is 16 lbs. Price is $6.000/pr. For current hifi pricing conventions, that's solid upper mid-level. For this company it's a true statement and their very best.

Users of revealing systems know that their performance rides on AC power conditions. Many systems sound far better at night when the power grid is loaded less. Taking a system or at least its core components off that grid minimizes or removes the frustrations over fluctuating performance. A Red Wine system of digital iPod dock fed from their DAC/pre's auxiliary DC output (or a laptop in DC mode) plus Liliana monos sounds the same at all times. It doesn't give a toss about aircon in your or your neighbor's pad, floor board heaters, nasty light dimmers, Internet routers or big industrial power users.