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This review was originally written for but never published in Martin de Wulf's Bound for Sound. As an otherwise orphaned writeup whose manufacturer had extended the requisite hardware loan, we publish it for author Rich Weiner as a one-time exception without insisting on our usual specs like plenty of photos taken in the actual audition space and of circuit, other details and the complete system - Ed

Reviewer: Rich Weiner
Review component pricing: $38'000

Signature Bent Audio dual display and autoformer attenuation.

Rethinking neutral.
The truth is found to be a lie and all the joy within you dies.
In principle it sounds quite reasonable. We desire the truth in music reproduction. Who wants a coloured sound even if it’s pleasant? Euphonic sound by this reasoning represents a deviation from accuracy. And that detracts from our goal. If you’ve ever heard a vintage system, you know exactly what I mean. The sound is muffled, the details are vague. Voices lack transparency. It’s enjoyable although you know there’s more information on the disc than you can hear. I’m thinking of a friend’s all-Dynaco system - tube preamp (with original tubes!) and amp hooked up to a battered Dyna A25 loudspeaker. The treble and bass were rolled off and a bit squishy, the midrange was a bit slow. Altogether the sound was nice but lacked precision.

In the modern era, we have sought out detail as a primary virtue and praised 'ruthlessly revealing' equipment because it pushed away the soft, dull and blurred sound of the Fifties and Sixties. To our dismay a different problem occurs with the best solid-state gear: it’s all detail, all the time. I recently heard a system picked from the top choices of a glossy magazine. "Have you ever heard anything like it?" the owner asked. Yes I had, in lots of hifi emporia – but never in a concert hall, music festival or even in a bar. 

The latter problem arises from our choice of priorities. We have come a long way since David Hafler and Saul Marantz and Avery Fischer built the first components for home audio. The leaner more accurate sound which replaced those original pioneers dispensed with a good bit of the sonic richness of music until we found ourselves discussing the minutiae of recording techniques—all of which were now audible—at the expense of the original attraction of music. Yes we did clear the forest and swept away a great deal of the underbrush; but the result was barren, a desiccated plain without any joy. Where’s the fun in that? Shouldn’t good entertainment have been our goal?

Where are the 6SN7 preamps of yesteryear? The preamplifier under review came to me with 6SN7 tubes. I must admit that I was skeptical. I found the Wyetech products which feature this device to be polite, a bit warm and slow and without incisiveness. Although there are exceptions, I expect tubes to have sonic signatures. This double triode did not promise much. Still, I try to keep an open mind and approached the Purity Audio Design Silver Statement and dual-mono Ultra GT power supply with cautious optimism.