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Eduardo de Lima's newly minted Audiopax Maggiore 100 I'd heard at the Munich 2011 show set another marker in that direction. But that's many miles farther up the pennies + power mountain. The Brazilians are 100 or 130-watt KT88 or KT120 monos which very unusually operate in "a pentode-type configuration with triode curves" through six series/parallel-connected single-ended amps per chassis. Those are driven through four dissimilar and two identical output transformers. Clearly being an exotic tuber isn't particular to direct-heated triode amps. Of course the Swiss-built Maggiores set you back about €60.000/pr. That princely sum buys an Aries for every day of the month. Or one for each household in a very small village. So if not for president, should we nominate Aries as poster boy for the aspiring SET proletariat?

Another meeting I'd had at the Munich show was with Salvo Giardina. He's the Sicilian audio importer of Audio Point Italia and a personal friend. Representing Leben, he'd heard my Kaivalyas in Chardonne. He subsequently showed Zu speakers with Sasa's Experience 2 integrated at the Milan show, then signed up for the line. "Sasa's circuitry is well executed but nothing that's not been done before. His transformers on the other hand are exceptional. That's what sets him apart from Leben and all the others."

With an Avantgarde Trio/Basshorn system tri-amped with Klimo valve monos fronted by a C.E.C. belt-drive transport and valve DAC all modified by him, Salvo's personal system in Catania shows high standards. It makes his opinion count.

Even Kevin Scott of Living Voice and Kondo import house Definitive Audio in the UK had, on his own Avatar OBX-RW speakers, been sufficiently impressed by my Kaivalyas to place an exploratory Trafomatic order.

Voxativ [above] had used Trafomatic's Experience 2 and Kaivalya amps at a few shows.

In short, word of affordable Serbian excellence—simple circuits executed properly, then topped off with very special iron—seemed to spread.

Aries meets the Bedford babes. For this assignment we have a full-length second opinion compliments of Aussie contributor John Darko. He reports on teaming up the Aries with its importer-picked playmates of Hoyt Bedford speakers, both a $795/pr Type 1 monitor he's written up as a separate feature review [above] and his personal new $1.350/pr Type 2 floorstander.

(The Type 3 subwoofer shown is $700. Built into the Type 2 enclosure as a Type 1 + 3 combo it becomes the semi-active 27Hz to 18kHz Type 4 for $2.500/pr). The subwoofer explains the matching line-level output on the Aries. As John's photo shows, the Serbian SET is a very compact little thing. But sometimes the smallest dogs have the fiercest bite.

John's second-opinion contribution is first. He had his Aries for a while. Mine would lag behind whilst Sasa readied the next production run in Mladenovac for late July. The first run sold out already. I had just missed that wave. Again.