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This is the 39th in a series of reviews dedicated to the concept of 32Ohm Audio as embodied by the store of that name in downtown Portland/Oregon and described here - Ed.

Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: 1TB iMac (AIFF) running OSX 10.6.7 and PureMusic 1.8 in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM, Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold/Voltikus, Esoteric UX1/APL Hifi NWO-M, 160GB iPod Classic
Digital-direct docks: Onkyo NS-D1, Pure i20, Peachtree iDecco
Preamplifier: Bent Audio Tap-X (remote-controlled AVC passive), Esoteric C-03 (transistor), ModWright LS100 with Synergy Hifi valves, Fonel Renaissance [on review]
Amplifier: ModWright KWA-100 SE
Loudspeakers: Mark+Daniel Fantasia S
Headphones: ALO Audio-rewired Audez'e LCD2, Beyerdynamic T1, Sennheiser HD800, AKG K702; HifiMan HE-6, HE-500 and HE-5LE; audio-technica ATH-W5000; Ortofon eQ7 IEM
Headphone stands: CanCans by Klutz Design, Omega by Sieveking, T by ALO
Headphone amplifiers: Bel Canto C5i, NuForce HDP, Woo Audio Model 5, Trafomatic Audio Head One, Burson Audio HA160D, ModWright LS100, Schiit Lyr [on loan], Fonel Renaissance [on review]
Cables: Complete Zu Event loom, Entreq Konstantin USB and Firewire cables
Stands: 2 x ASI HeartSong 3-tier, 2 x ASI HeartSong amp stand
Powerline conditioning: 1 x GigaWatt LF-2, 1 x Furutech RTP6
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: $1.395 (+ $750 for optional linear power supply)

TTVJ. Todd The Vinyl Junkie. His driver's license must still read Todd Green. Unless he's gone fully off the res for the official name change. He's been an audiophile dope dealer for years. And not just black licorice.

Mostly anything that makes sound. But Cans & Co. are his specialty. Todd's always wanted to grow his own. In the Apex Audio brand with the Pinnacle and Peak models he now seriously has.

The top Pinnacle headphone/preamp runs two chassis. With balanced i/o ports it also runs a cool 10 thou. Even so it shows the same 6SN7 double triode for voltage gain that's also in today's Peak. Where it pinnacles over the 70% lower-priced model is with those bulbous direct-heated PX4 power triodes. Those juice its output stage for high-octane pure tube power. The Peak goes modern and hybrid. It uses Mosfets in single-ended DC-coupled output mode, albeit still paired with a true B+ rail to fire up those octal heaters in the first stage. Volume is controlled by an Alps RK27 pot. A total of three line-level inputs plus one pre-out support preamp duties.

As a popular 'big tone' triode which in similar hybrid mode also fronts the 6.3mm socket of my ModWright LS100 line stage, the 6SN7 is popular with tube rollers. There's a broad assortment of available NOS and current options. The single bulb in the Peak makes such experiments cost-effective*.

* Todd supplied an upgraded Shuguang Black Treasure CV181-Z for this review, with a virgin stock Russian Tungsol 6SN7 intended for backup and otherwise stock issue just in case.

The Peak's thin sheet metal, overall dress code and even logo recall early Chinese Antique Sound Lab. That's fine if you're no metrosexual. It's a bit drab and chintzy however when the informed shopper knows how a made-in-Oz Burson HA160D for less dosh weighs in with 6mm clear-anodized better finished aluminum slabs for slick vault-like mass, engravure for identifiers and tiny pin-prick lights to bypass retina burn. The Peak is no fashion statement. From a brighter bigger green out of standby, the status indicators of the head unit go blue. The power LED of the optional Volcano power supply remains a smaller dimmer green. Its hue wouldn't match the top green even if that stayed on. I bet that the Mosfets and sundry performance parts were all very carefully matched. Why not the idiot lights? In my world paying customers deserve the whole-hog candy for the eyes, the ears and the hands.

But the Peak retaliates with that raised tube socket. It makes the inserted bulb with its larger base seemingly float above the top plate. The same-sized Volcano with its externally accessible 115/230V slider can replace the hand-sized stock Astrodyne model SPU45-210 switching power supply from Taiwan with its ±15V rails, 42-watt max power delivery and captive umbilical. That umbilical of course terminates in the same 5-pin plug as the non-captive longer red leash which the Volcano arrives with.

With both the SMPS and linear power supply on hand, I could report on what that $750 option buys your ears. Let's take a look at the innards first.