by Kevin O'Brien on August 30th, 2012

We'd like to tell our readers about a recent trip we took to the Von Schweikert Audio factory in Southern California. We were lucky enough to have some of the greatest guys in the audiophile industry (Albert and Damon Von Schweikert) allow us to take a factory tour in their beautiful new facility in Riverside, CA. Our goal was to demo our HD Ref-3 SE for Albert and Damon as well as the head of Acquisitions for the VSA team. As it turns out, the trip morphed into much more than that. What a fun and exciting experience for us!

We'd like to show some pics of the gear we were allowed to demo our Ref-3 with. The list below sums up the equipment that we integrated our HD Ref-3 SE with:

DAC:  Audio Research DAC8 ($4,995 MSRP)

Preamp:  Coincident Statement Line Stage ($5,000 MSRP)

Amplification:  Jolida Music Envoy Monoblocks ($8,750 MSRP)

Speakers:  VSA VR-35 Export Deluxe ($7,995 MSRP)

Cables:  VSA Master-Built speaker cables and interconnects

Our first impression of the VR-35's was WOW! We then hooked up our Ref-3 and our jaws dropped. HOLY TOLEDO! I think we may have surprised ourselves when we reached the conclusion that this is the best we've ever heard our Ref-3 perform. We tried several DAC's including the Jolida Glass FX Tube DAC, the Lindemann USB-DAC 24/192, and finally the Audio Research DAC8. They all sounded REALLY good but the surprise for us was the Jolida Glass FX. It really did sound good and it was the cheapest out of the three. Nice work Jolida. The Lindemann USB-DAC 24/192 sounded great but we felt it favored the high end of the frequency response and was a little too forward in its presentation. Overall, it sounded great but it didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the demo system like the Jolida did. Lastly, the Audio Research DAC8, which was the clear winner, sounded wonderful. It gave us all the detail of the Lindemann with the perfect laid back sound of the tubed Jolida Glass FX. What else can we say, the DAC8 impressed us to say the very least!

Now on to the point of the trip, the HD Ref-3. Several of Albert's and Damon's favorite discs (redbook) were ripped and a plethora of Hi-Res FLAC's were played to evaluate the Ref-3. After many hours of listening and tweaking, we at YFS felt the Ref-3 was a great addition to the VSA listening room. Apparently so did Albert and Damon. They decided to keep the Ref-3 and they weren't going to look back! Check out their VSA Facebook page for more information on the HD Ref-3 SE.

Finally, we want to thank Albert and Damon as well as the head of VSA Acquisitions for allowing us to take time out of their day to show them our latest computer music server. It means a lot to us and we feel very greatful to be a part of such a special group. And by the way Damon, lunch was awesome!  THANKS VSA!

-KOB

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