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Vinnie Rossi on the new Renaissance Edition (or R.E. lineup (rĕn'ĭ-säns', -zäns', rĭ-nā'səns - a rebirth or revival):

Since I started Red Wine Audio in 2005, I’ve always used black anodized aluminum enclosures. I’m one for simplicity in appearance - clean, understated and "anti bling”.

But after eight years I decided it was time for a fresh new look for 2013. I’ve been looking to fuse traditional and modern design elements to spice things up and decided on solid-wood front and side panels offered in maple, cherry and walnut; chrome-plated knobs; and an easy-to-remove top plate instead of the U-shaped cover.

The wood panels are crafted and finished by hand in our previous Durham/CT location and protected by six coats of polyurethane and hand-sanded between coats to give a smooth and very durable finish.

For the top plate I already knew that having an easy-to-remove one would be ideal for tube rolling which has become quite popular with our products since we released the LFP-V Editions in late 2010.

To me easy to remove means no tools. Three stainless thumbscrews positioned in a triangle to hint at the RWA logo are loosened and tightened by hand quickly and painlessly. The chrome finish is mirror-like on both top plate and knobs.

With regard to the latter, everyone will spot something different on all our Renaissance Edition products right away. There is a knob on the left were our previous piezoelectric on/off switch used to be. I first migrated to this for the Liliana monoblocks and customer response was very positive.

The new Electroswitch brand rotary switch is solid and lets the user select between our 3 modes of operation: off/charging, on/charging and on running completely off the internal LiFePO4 battery power (charger internally disconnected via relays on our new SMART board that works with the new switch). No more AC/BATT mode toggle switch on the back and the new switch and knob offer a much higher-quality feel. I kept our small red LED and installed it into the center position of the three switch position markings.

For products with remote volume, another welcome addition will be our solid machined aluminum wand which is black anodized with chrome end-caps, laser etched and has a great feel to it. New conical black polyurethane feet offer improved vibration control although our tubes stages are not very microphonic to begin with. They are softer and ¼” taller and “shake off” applied horizontal force. At some point in the future we are looking to offer additional wood finishes as well as optional knobs and top plates in different finishes. But Renaissance Edition is much more than revived enclosures. It’s a revamped product lineup to be completed throughout 2013, with improved sound and functionality for all Red Wine Audio components.

Starting with the tube buffer stage at the input of all our products—except for Isabella which has a different tube stage design using a pair of tubes—the new R.E. tube stage allows you to roll in a whole new tube family, the 12AX7. So along with the 6922/E88CC, 6DJ8/ECC88, 7308/E188CC, 7DJ8/PCC88, 6N23, 6H23, 6N11 and 6GM8, now you can roll in 12AX7/ECC83, E83CC/ECC803, 5751, 12DT7/12DM7/12DF7, 6681, 7058 and 7025. This is easily done with the flip of a switch on the board to adjust the filament voltage to either 6.3V or 12V whilst auto bias circuitry takes care of the rest.

The Renaissance Edition also brings an upgraded version of our Isabellina digital converter board which I renamed Bellina to avoid confusion with our Isabella preamp – sort of. Featuring a lower-noise input regulator circuit as well as >10 x the power rail capacitance, Bellina delivers an even lower noise floor and improved dynamics. It gets even better with our new Bellina Pro dac board which now runs asynchronous mode USB-to-I²S USB 2.0 compliant conversion. So high-resolution audio enthusiasts can play 16- or 24-bit files sampled at 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192kHz with no driver required for Mac OS X (we provide one for download for Windows users).

The USB input is also Integer-Mode compatible and really shows off what it can do with the latest version of Audirvana+ 1.4.2. The Bellina Pro board also has our 16-bit NOS R-2R converter on board which can be selected with a flip of a back switch. That remains my personal favorite for Redbook playback. With the new async USB-to-I²S conversion feeding it, Redbook files really come to life like never before!

The Bellina Pro dac board is an option for our Bellina standalone dac, for the Bellina HPA and for our upcoming Isabella preamplifier and Signature 60 all-in-one unit. The Bellina dac and Bellina HPA replace the Isabellina and Isabellina HPA but keep their previous LFP-V Edition pricing.

The Signature 15 has been discontinued and replaced with our new Signature 16. It features our new R.E. tube stage as well as a slightly stronger Class A/B FET output stage for now 16/32wpc into 8/4-ohms. With our high-current 25.6V LiFePO4 battery pack we are squeezing the most from this output stage with more low-end punch even than our now discontinued Signature 30.2. The Signature 16 Integrated is priced at $1.995 with a power-amp version for $1.795 and Signature 16 monoblocks can be made on special request. Also new is the option to add our single-ended headphone output stage for an additional $495.

The Ginevra ($3.000) has been replaced with our all-new Analogica phonostage. The Analogica still uses our discrete Class-A FET design, MM/MC inputs and adjustable input load settings but we decided to drop the tube output stage and bring the price to a more affordable $1.995 so I expect it to be very competitive with everything in its price class and beyond.

Our Corvina headphone amp has been discontinued and replaced with the all-new Cassabria ($1.850) with the new R.E. tube stage. It comes standard with separate single-ended and balanced headphone output stages, both sporting <1-ohm output impedance so they can drive a wide variety of the best headphones available. Cassabria makes high-end headphone listening “transportable”. Just add your portable source and be free.

Our Liliana monoblocks now also feature the new R.E. tube input stage as well as the new chrome power switch knob and chrome-plated aluminum spiked feet. Pricing remains $5.995/pair.

As for the Isabella Renaissance Edition, we hope to have it in production for March 2013. We have refreshed its design to use the 6H30 'super tubes' (but it's still fine using all the tubes in the 6922 family as before, just not the 12AX7 family which our tube buffer stage in the other products has the option for). The larger height of the 6H30 compared to the 6922 means that the board will be mounted directly on the back panel so the tubes sit horizontally. The pleasant side effect of this new mounting—besides shortest possible single path—is one more option to fully load the Isabella Renaissance Edition. Along with the Bellina or Bellina Pro dac and single-ended or balanced headphone stage options we can fit our Analogica phonostage as well! So a fully loaded Isabella can have all 3 options in one enclosure. Add amplification and jump right in. The base Isabella R.E. price remains at $3.995 and increases with optional dac, phono and headphone stages but compared to buying them all as separates, the combo price is much lower and there is no need for additional interconnects.

What if we took this “built-your-way” concept of the Isabella and added a pair of Liliana monoblock boards all into one larger enclosure all powered from a larger LiFePO4 battery pack? That's essentially what we will roll out by mid 2013. It will be our Signature 60 with a solid 60/120wpc into 8/4-ohms. We’ll let our customers configure it to be just a power amp; an integrated amp; or an integrated amp with the options for our Bellina dac, Analogica phonostage and/or headphone output stage.

More details on this upcoming addition to our lineup will surface in the next couple of months but the base price of the Signature 60 Integrated amplifier (no dac, phonostage or headphone stage) is estimated to be $3.995.

6H30 vs. 6922

How about something to bring a smile to those looking to spend under $1.000? Around the same time as the release of our new Isabella preamplifier we're planning to release our Signature 8 integrated amplifier. This will be a 2-input Class A/B FET affair (8/16wpc into 8/4-ohms). The Signature 8 kind of brings me back to our original Clari-T amp days (no tube stage, very high performance for those who do not need a lot of power) but with a much improved A/B output stage instead of Tripath. It will have a high-current LiFePO4 battery pack that can run up to 24 hours continuously (instead of SLA), remote volume and the Renaissance Edition enclosure that will be the same size as the Cassabria, about 3” less wide and 3” less deep than the others. The Signature 8 will only be sold direct and have a price tag just under $1K.

The Renaissance Edition lineup will be in production right after we return from the T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas. These components will be the very best we have offered since I started RWA in 2005. Inside and out they reflect a refinement in design and benefit from all the lessons I learnt and all the valuable feedback I received from my customers along the way. And they come with a 10-year warranty. As I promised to offer whenever possible, upgrades will be available for customers of previous versions and pricing and options will be listed on our website when it is refreshed shortly. As with the LFP-V Edition upgrades, I plan to offer both “partial” and “full” upgrades to the Renaissance Edition units to provide our customers with flexibility based on their individual needs and budgets.
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