Our New Baby.
Mrs Roddus still has a small collection of vinyl records that she listens to on occasion when I am at work. Over the years I have brought her a couple of cheap record players to keep her happy but the quality wasn't all that great, not that she minded much, as long as she could listen to her records. Some time ago I said I would one day get her something a bit better that would last a lot longer and sound much much better, I had priced up a basic turntable, amp, speakers set up from my favourite HI-fi emporium some time ago and knew I could get her something above average for under two grand. Recently I knew I was about to have the spare funds to indulge in this luxury but I had lost the names and prices of the system I had investigated some time ago. While looking on the web site of the aforementioned hi-fi emporium I came across the above model and it stuck in my mind that a small valve amp might be a sweet choice to use for vinyl records. On a day when we were on a mission in the city, we popped into the aforementioned hi-fi emporium and I told the salesman what we were after and what turntable and speakers he could recommend to go with the above amp that would fit my budget. After parting with only $1800, we came away with the above Yarland amp, a pair of Castle, Knight series book shelf speakers and a Musichall USB1 turntable.
We had to wait a couple of weeks for the amp to arrive but we finally got the system home and within about a hour, I had the thing set up and ready to roll. This little amp is only about 12W per channel, peaking at 15W, so it is only a baby and I knew I wasn't really going to bother the neighbours with it but for the ridiculous low price it was, it is actually a Class A Push/Pull amp.
Fortunately Mrs Roddus does have several records in her collection that I have on CD and like alot, so after listening to some Police, Pink Floyd and Grace Jones I was starting to get a feeling of just how good this amp really is. I noticed how easy it is to listen to and the warmth and depth of the music, as well as the separation and detail were really making am impression on me. I was beginning to realise what a quality piece of equipment this really was and surpassed my expectations.
A few days later, Mrs Roddus was doing a late shift at work and after bi-wiring the Castle speakers, I decided it was time to try out the Yarland with My Cyrus 7 CD player. The first obvious thing I noticed of course was the big step up in volume from vinyl to CD as expected and although the reproduction from the modest Musichall turntable was very good, the big step up in source to the Cyrus was quite breathtaking and although I didn't get a whole lot of time to explore this setup, I now knew for sure that I had a very good amp on my hands.
I was quite excited about this and rang another small time hi-fi buff mate, who lives locally and told him about my score, he was enthusiastic and said he would be keen to come round for a session. He was running a solid state system not all that much advanced than my Cyrus system.
The next time Mrs Roddus was working a night shift I duly called Mr.Ed, and he hot footed it round for a coffee and a blast.
He was right off impressed with the look of the amp and the lovely finish of the Castle speakers as we put on my new 180g vinyl copy of Buddy Miller's Cruel Moon LP while we chatted and made the coffee. Next I impressed him some with another new piece of vinyl I purchased, a compilation of T-Bone Walker, which is great Valve music and T-Bone's awesome finger pickin blues sounded just superb. He was mightily impressed the way it handled Grace Jone's "Use Me" as we cranked the volume and noticed how clean it sounded. Moving on to CDs, as the vinyl collection is quite small, we threw at the Yarland, a plethora of different types of music and were both so mightily impressed with the detail and clarity of what we were hearing and also how well the little Castle speakers were reproducing every thing we through at it. The highlights of the nights listening were when I would select an exceptionally well recorded piece that would just stop us dead in out tracks and blow our minds with the sounds the Yarland was presenting us, Koko Taylor's Chess recording of "Wang Dang Doodle" being one stand out and the final track of the evening leaving us speechless, Jeff Buckley's version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".
The Yarland FV-34C had impressed my so much that I am now rethinking my whole approach to my next upgrade of my main hi-fi system, and Mr Ed was coming to the same conclusion when he left. A stunning little amp at a stunning price, you cant go wrong.