Pros: Great Sound
Cons: You don't own it yet
This is my first review on Head-Fi. In this review, I will do my best to describe what we all know to be an extremely subjective experience.
Before I review the Apex Peak, I think it's important to talk about my experience with Todd the Vinyl Junkie. I first met Todd when he was working at Headroom. He has always been a great guy to deal with. In over 15 years, I have had nothing but positive experiences with him. Todd has consistently worked hard to give me great service. He has always taken the time answer questions and has given me accurate and honest advice. Whenever possible, I give Todd my business. Along with the service has come exceptional sound quality from Todd Green and Pete Millet's products. This is what I hear consistently from TTVJ and Pete Millet designs: everything. What I mean by everything is that, consistently their products have given me the best of tube and solid state worlds. Hearing what I have from their products, I have to think that they had to start with a goal to deliver the everything as much as possible given the limits of their price points. These are the products that I have owned: the TTVJ Millet Hybrid Portable, the TTVJ FET-A, the TTVJ Portable (Slim), and now the Apex Peak with the Volcano power supply.
OK, I know, shut up and review the damn amp.
Most people would start describing the sound of the amp now, sorry. Before I describe the sonic bliss that is the Apex Peak, I have to tell you about the other equipment involved in my assessment of the Peak. I used the Wadia 170i modified by Hot Rod Audio, an iPod Classic, the Brigatta DAC by Pacific Valve, Elementa Advance interconnects by Purist Audio, and the Beyerdynamic T1 bone stock. All cuts used were Apple lossless rips from CD.
I listened to a variety of music (iPod on shuffle). Here is some music that comes to mind: Generator by the Foo Fighters, You're Blasse by Wynton Marsalis, Remote Control by the Beastie Boys, Meyer: 1B by YoYo Ma, The World We Live In by the Killers, Modern Guilt by Beck and Baker Baker by Tori Amos.
Here's what I heard: Everything sounded great. As you can see I used a wide variety of music. The Peak did well with everything that I played through it. Strings sounded great. I heard the texture of sound that comes from YoYo Ma's bow moving across his Cello strings along with excellent harmonics. Bass drums kicked nicely. Cymbals sounded very real, shimmery when it was supposed to be and decaying the way a real cymbal does. I've heard people describe speed associated with and amp. Before now, I had not been able to identify what they were talking about. The sound was three dimensional but only when appropriate. I could go on about details, but instead I would like to describe what I like in an audio system.
These are the things that move me:
Great high frequency response. This is an absolute must for me. I cannot deal with rolled off highs. When a system gets it right, you hear every click that begins an attack, like when the beater of a piano hits the string, or the tip of a drum stick hits a cymbal or bell or drum head. Another example is when a guitar pick picks the string. At the same time these things need to be heard without the listener saying aaaaagh that hurt. When there is an absence of sibilance coexisting with incredible high frequency detail, the system did it right.
Decay. When an instrument speaks the initiation of that sound should be heard. After that, the instrument's resonance or the echo in the room or the electronic effect applied to the instrument or voice should not end early.
Micro-dynamics. When attacks can be heard appropriately at their accurate levels of volume, not overly emphasized, not veiled, then life is good.
Tight bass. Extended but not bloated in mid-bass. Still, you have to have some bb bass.
All of these things that move me happen in this system that I am trying to describe. So if any of this sounds like what you enjoy hearing, you should buy the Apex Peak with the Volcano power supply.