Bybee/Nuforce/VTL event at Audible Arts


bybeenuforceusherusherNOTE: Please post your discography as a comment to this post!We had a great event at Audible Arts yesterday.About 40 BAAS members enjoyed over 3 hours of great music/listening, several interesting hardware configurations, and conversations with Luke Manley (VTL), Jack Bybee, and Jason Lim (Nuforce).While we did experience some bass-loading problems in the main listening room (the flagship Be-20 Ushers produce massive bass), the afternoon provided ample opportunity for experimentation and tuning – and therefore learning.I must commend our hosts (Jeff Wells and Will of Audible Arts) and guests for their hospitality and forbearance. We requested about a dozen system changes over the course of the afternoon, and all requests were enthusiastically embraced. (Of course, Jeff provided food and drinks as well.)Here are my high-level observations on the gear:

  • VTL – Smooth, powerful, and clean. A joy to use. If you think that tubes can’t do bass, think again.
  • Nuforce – “Force” is the right word. Nearly 200w (8 ohm) at a damping factor of about 50K will do that. The Version 2 models seem to eliminate the treble problems commonly associated with Class D.
  • Bybee – Most sessions were done with Silver Bullets in place, and we didn’t get the opportunity to A/B them. So I’ll just let their reputation speak for itself. Jack did promise BAAS that he’d buy back any component that we bought and didn’t like. A nice touch!
  • Usher – A victim of their own bass. Sounded better with Nuforce (that damping factor…). Great mids and highs, and you’d never know it’s beryllium!
  • Podium – A unique panel loudspeaker. Great speed and the ability to vanish in the room. Creates a “wall of sound,” similar in soundstage to an amplified concert – with similar imprecision of image placement. Well worth a listen in the $6-8K price range.

For those that played their own tracks, please add a comment to this post giving the discography. Send me an email to register on the site – you must register in order to post comments.

5 thoughts on “Bybee/Nuforce/VTL event at Audible Arts

  1. Bob’s songs played:

    1. Flamenco/Pepe Romero [Philips Digital Classics]
    2. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong/Summertime [Verve]
    3. Janis Joplin/Summertime [Columbia Legacy]
    4. Deep Purple/Soldier of Fortune [EMI]
    5. Taj Mahal/Honkey Tonk Women [House of Blues]
    6. Lyle Lovett/North Dakota [MCA]
    7. Judy Collins/Amazing Grace [Elektra]
    8. Herbie Hancock/Watermelon Man [Columbia]

  2. Bob Stern’s excerpts played during demo of Usher speaker & NuForce amp (not necessarily in this order):
    1. Bach, Art of the Fugue, Emerson String Quartet [DG]
    2. Shostakovich, sonata for cello & piano op. 40, Wispelwey cello & Lazic piano [Channel]
    3. Berlioz aria “Nature Immense” from “Damnation of Faust”, Ben Heppner tenor, from “Ben Heppner Airs Francais” [DG]
    4. Strauss “Die Frau ohne Schatten”, Solti cond. [DG]. (This was the loud orchestral piece.)

    Played on Podium speakers after most people had left:
    1. Schumann, Fantasie in C op. 17, Jonathan Biss piano [EMI] (Overwhelmingly emotional & technically brilliant.)
    2. Sibelius, symphony #1, Leif Segerstam, Helsinki Phil. [Ondine]
    3. Brahms, symphony #2, Abbado, Berlin [originally DG, but Musical Heritage Society has exclusive US rights]

  3. Listening notes for Usher Be-20 and NuForce amp:
    1. Shostakovich cello sonata: Piano’s transient attack over-emphasized at expense of body of note, sounding more like a percussive instrument with pitch difficult to discern. Cello lacks body.
    2. Ben Heppner (powerful tenor aria): Perfectly clean, with no distortion or compression.
    3. Strauss “Die Frau ohne Schatten”: High, loud, massed violins extremely shrill.

  4. Listening notes for Usher Be-20 and VTL MB-450 amp:
    1. On one of the initial jazz selections having two female singers and boomy bass, the softer female was wonderfully clear in spite of the louder music from the other singer and the instruments.
    2, On the jazz selection having a cornet & saxophone, the cornet sounded fantastic, but the sax was muffled, with none of the bite or reediness you expect from a sax. I have no idea to what extent this was due to the recording or the equipment.

  5. Here is the music I played in the small room with floor to ceiling shelves of records on either side known as the “vault” (literally used to be a bank vault).

    * Skip James – Today!
    Hard Times Killing Floor Blues
    Crow Jane

    * 10,000 Maniacs – Blind Man’s Zoo
    The Big Parade
    Trouble Me
    Dust Bowl
    Hateful Hate

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San Francisco Audiophile Society

San Francisco Audiophile Society