CES & THE Show 2014 • Hot Product

One of the advantages that designers of powered speakers have exploited is the ability to tailor the amplification to the drivers. The Vandersteen M7-HPA (approximately $52,000 per pair when shipping) is a special-use mono amplifier that allows Richard Vandersteen to do the same thing. It's for use only with Vandersteen speakers that have their own internal bass amps -- the Model 7 most specifically. The M7-HPA covers the range from 100Hz up, exactly the point where the speakers' powered woofers come in, providing improved control of Vandersteen's Perfect-Piston drivers.

The M7-HPA is a hybrid amp that combines tube gain and driver stages with solid-state bipolar output. The M7-HPA's two most attention-grabbing design points are its liquid cooling and ten separate power supplies. Power output is 600 watts into 4 ohms.

Driving (what else?) Vandersteen Model 7 speakers ($52,000 per pair), the amps provided great insight into the recording -- including the Doors' "Riders on the Storm," a cut we've heard a hundred times, but have never heard so much of before. An impressive debut for a unique product.

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