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mercredi 28 septembre 2016

Audia Flight Classic combo (pre +FL100)

I am going to write about these two products that have been in production in different version for many years. They are mine. I didn't buy them but I did an exchange with a friend of mine that was in love with my Shindo Labs that I was not using too much since its power didn't allowed me to play around with difficult loudspeakers, and then because i like to change like many of us. I found strange that in all these years I have never been pushed to own these two since they are absolutely beautiful made, on pair with gears costing three four times their price and they are nice looking too to my taste since they have a nice understaded elegance. I think I have never had been pushed to own them because as many of us my brain has been deviated by what we have red when we were at the begining of our hifi sickness. We all started dreaming of Mark Levinson, Conrad Johnson, Audio Research and so on. We all, in a small part of our heart like to own legends. With time and with the opportunity maybe we bought legends and we sold legends so many times that we don't care about legends any more and sadly enough we realise that legend or not legend we keep buying and selling hifi stuff. So we start having another look and relation with legendary makers. But they indeed keep on exercing a certain magnetism in our heart.
Audia Flight is not legend but it is built like a legend and expecially it sound like a legend.
This is why I am going to write about this combo expecially because is also very cheap in comparison to legend. First let's go to the final conclusion. The FL100 is better then a Pass Labs class A that I have, better then a Accuphase Class A of a very close friend of mine better then one of my Lamm. I avoid saying models since all of them cost much more then the FL100. The conclusio is: it is rare to find an amplifier on its level and to find something better you have to invest a fortune.
The preamplifier is also extremely good but it is so undemostrative that is very difficult to have an idea of it. Just when you compare it to legend you realise that it does things less well but that most of the time is more balanced and makes you feel much less the need of adding something or changing something.
But the most annoying thing for this combo is that to really appreaciate them is an impossible cable matching war for most of us. In the years I have collectioned a really enourmous ammount of cable that goes from the mid level to the if I tell you the price the first to be ashamed is myself. With all the cable you give them their sound change like with any component but you don't have neither the mesure nor the suggestion or prelude of their exceptional status. You just think they are very good. I gave them an all Cardas menu, a MIT one a Tara Labs an VDH a Synergistic Research a Kimber, but was at the last menu that they showed a very special a rare combination of power, stability, solidity and delicate finesse at the same time with an extremely correct sense of timing. When I talk about cable menu is because I gave them the same maker of cable even for the power chords and this is essential even if you don't want to believe it or to accept it. The last cable menu was difficult for me and was impossible without some friends of mine since I didn't have all the cable of these maker: Wireworld. So when I had all silver cabling from Wireworld they become legend.This is a mistery to me and I would like to know how the maker built them and if he knows it or maybe he never heard his amplifiers sounding at this level.

Now I try to identify the single caracter of the two units.
I will start from the pre that is the most difficult to define.
The Audia Flight pre is a work of art. For the price is built extremely well. It has an elegant understated look that is classical in the best way.
The sound is...actually you can make it sound the way you want. It is like salt. You can put almost everywhere. The only thing you have to be careful is the quantity.
Depending on the cables used it can sound firm, rich, fast, ritmic, open, layered or upfront or spacially organized and so on. It is extremely rare to ear such changes in a preamp and this brought me to the conclusion that this preampli must be the closest possible to be a neutral affair. And this is an extremely good thing. I say that nobody can affirm not to like this preamp. Just because if it say so it means he just listened to with what he had on hands and jumped to this conclusion.
With the standard power cord it is an accetable performance, a little compressed but pleasent nevertheless. But the pre is not compressed at all. You are earing the power cable!
Then you try a VDH Mainsserver and it opens up; the timbres gain colours and so on. Then you try with a Wireworld Silver Electra and the sound becomes darker, much more silence between the instruments and more details and more depth but a little less natural flow. And so on. With interconnecting cable is the same situation. The Pre will make you realize that they are not many very good cable around regardless of their price. And this is a profound truth.

A good compromise for cost perfrmance is the Wireworld Electra 7 as power cord and the Wireworld eclipse 7 interconnect. To be used togheter. With this preampli is very clear you must use a coherence in the choice of cabling. When you match well the power cord with the interconnect one it will sound more accomplished and balanced.
The sound you must get from this preamp is fast but not hurried, stable and firm but with a very difficult to describe delicate touch that makes it in some way inviting. Very, very few preamp have this very difficult to describe quality. Being neutral and inviting at the same time.
Negative point: the set editing meny. This allow you to write the name of the source you are using in the display. Like if you are using a LP12 in the 4 input you can write Linn LP12 in the display. You are going to do it, but you will get frustrated doing it!

I can affirm this preamp to be on a same level of a Mark Levinson 326 that I had for a couple of years and that is much more expensive. It propose you the impossible to define inviting touch, that the ML does not have loosing a little on the bass department that is slightly less powerful.

The FL100 amplifier:

to be continued...

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