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Vinnie Rossi’s VR120 brings industrial techno to RMAF 2015

  • rmaf-2015Einstürzende Neubauten. Not easy to say, even harder to play. Unless you’re John DeVore to whom I was about to give a 12″ EP by this same German outfit but one given extra layers of avante garde by semi-industrial techno pioneer Ali Wells (aka Perc). Easy listening it is not. Alluding to what lies beneath, the first of four tracks is called “Sado-Masodub”. It’s a bona fide room clearer, even when heard in the context of Zu Audio’s more adventurous music selections.

    The first order of business for Sunday morning then was to drop into the DeVore Fidelity room, hand over the wax and then leave. Cut and run. And that I did. DeVore’s room was chock full of attendees collectively immersed in a choral piece. It wouldn’t have been appropriate to puncture the stillness with my voice, let alone German/UK industrial techno.


    My brilliant mistake was to stop by Vinnie Rossi’s room on the fifth floor on the way up.

    “What music you got there, John?”, asks Rossi.

    “Nothing. Well, actually, it’s not nothing. It’s abstract, industrial techno. Reworkings of a German artist by UK techno producer Perc – it’s not for here.”

    “Aw, c’mon. Let’s play it!”

    “Wait – what? Are you sure? Are you sure you’re sure?”

    “Sure I’m sure. It might be interesting.”

    And this is the great thing about Vinnie Rossi. He’s as bored with the same old same old as the rest of us but cops it because he knows it’s a necessary evil for promoting hardware to the prevailing demographic seen at audio shows.

    The Perc 12″ however – it’s just plain evil. Vinnie doesn’t extend the invitation to drop the needle on wax provided by yours truly to stick it to the man. He just wants to hear something different.

    Only one or two room attendees bail as the first track draws to a close; so Rossi lets the record groove through to the A-side’s run out. It’s a million miles from Van Morrison. Fair play, Mr Rossi, fair play to you.

    For vinyl heads keeping score, the turntable in play was an Acoustic Signature Challenger MK3 with TA-1000 tonearm fitted with a Dynavector XX2 cartridge. Phono stage and pre-amplification duties were handled by the modular LIO (reviewed here and here. Still to come in Part 3 will be commentary on the Autoformer Volume Control module, the DAC module and the remote-control configuration of the phono stage module.


    The sound at RMAF 2015? Authority without a hint of aggression. Keeping Einstürzende Neubauten & Perc’s wall of sound from collapsing under its own weight was Rossi’s new VR120, a power amplifier for loudspeakers too staunch to accommodate the LIO’s seemingly humble (but not!) 30wpc MOSFET output module.

    And like the LIO, all go-juice comes off the grid via Rossi’s PURE DC-4-EVR ultracapacitor banks. Mains power charges one bank whilst the other powers the circuit. Wave goodbye to power conditioners. Bid adieu to regenerators. Sayanora deluxe power cords.

    The VR120’s input stage is Class A JFet. The XLR/RCA connectors all come from Cardas. Ditto speaker binding posts from which the VR120’s MOSFETs push 120wpc into 8 Ohms or 225wpc into 4 Ohms.

    In Denver that meant the VR120 made tasty toast of Harbeth’s 40.2 loudspeakers, Rossi’s ultracap power supply and its twin towers – super low output impedance and high current delivery – made light work of any impedance dips (should they present).

    The VR120 is yours for US$4995 but it’s also bridgeable into a dual mono configuration (US$9595/pair).

    Keeping the patriotism factor high, both LIO and VR120 are hand built and sold by Rossi from his Connecticut workshop. Each unit is backed by a 10 year warranty.

    Further information: Vinnie Rossi | Perc Trax


    RMAF ’15 coverage brought to you by Aurender:


    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John is the editor of Darko.Audio, from whose ad revenues he derives an income. He is an occasional contributor to 6moons but has previously written pieces for TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Twitter


    1. Hi John, have been waiting to get your views on this power amp. The Lio is at the top of my list for my next amp. I have a pair of Wilson Audio Duette series 1 speakers. Do you think the integrated version of the amp will drive them okay? It’s obviously a lot more expensive to get the separate power amp…

      • Tough for me to make a definitive call on the LIO/Wilson combo without trying it out in person. You in the USA?

    2. Perc’s definitely a challenging listen, but a lot of his stuff is great for testing sibilance in your rigs. Kudos to VR…..and holy cow look at all those ultracapacitors!!

    3. I like your comment about Einsturzende Neubauten being room clearers. Brings my mind back to expo 86 in Vancouver. The emminent Goethe Institute had sponsored a number of cultural events – usually highbrow affairs. At the time, I was into “alternative” music and even owned an E N album. Some brave soul at the Goethe Institute (Germany’s cultural ambassador institution) had scheduled an outdoor concert with the Einstuzende Neubauten as the headline act. The audience was sprinkled with middle age and even elderly concert goers (the concert was free with Expo admission) who were completely unaware of what was in store for them. It was hilarious when the band took the stage and started their industrial noise (even an amplified metal shopping cart was used). The elderly and culturally curious physically ran up the isles and away with their hands over their ears. Altogether it was a satisfying evening complete with pyrotechnics. I had the sense to always bring ear plugs to preserve my hearing and now am able to pretend to be an audiophile….

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