VAC Launches Renaissance MM/MC Phono Preamplifier

VAC's Kevin Hayes introduced the new Renaissance phono preamplifier at CES 2016 that costs one-fifth as much as the top-of-the-line Statement,which made its debut at CES 2013

The Renaissance includes three inputs and features MM gain of 44dB and MC gain of 62dB as well as capacitive and resistive loading options.

The Renaissance features a dual-mono high voltage outboard power supply and uses 6 !2AX7 dual triode vacuum tubes. Step up transformers produce the MC gain. Hayes says the Renaissance uses the same transformers found in the more expensive Statement. When I asked him the transformer source he jokingly told me "If I tell you, I'd have to kill you". He is still working on the load range "seen" by the MC cartridge, which will be determined by load resistor values placed across the transformer secondary.

Hayes was quick to say that while loading the primary is most often done, he's found loading the secondary produces better measured and sonic results in his design.

The Statement costs $50,000. The new Renaissance, $9,900. How does Hayes manage that? He said "You can correctly balance factors and do it, if you do it right".

jahnghalt's picture

Back in the early days of The Audio Critic, Peter Aczel referred to an early Mark Levinson device as exemplifying the "plantinum sledgehammer school of audio design".

The inferences there and here are clear. Perhaps Mike can get some review samples, pop off the tops, take photos, name names and answer the not-so-rhetorical question?

I would add that Sanders at Quicksilver (who is more the copper sledghammer school) is rumored to wind his own output transformers for his prototype amplifiers. When he's happy (with the amp) he contracts the manufacture of commercial quantities (of the transformers). Transformers are passive devices - without a lot of "magic". Once you hit on a pleasing design the cost should not be so great - even with platinum wire and exotic cores for such tiny devices.