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Positive Feedback ISSUE43
Virtue Audio - the Virtue ONE integrated
Every time I get something to review from Positive Feedback, I immediately wonder if it'll be a "gotta have it" item for Sasha and I.
We're more or less focused on other things at home (mortgage, fixing up the house, keeping my old motorcycles running, etc) but we do treat ourselves to a few nice electronic gadgets every now and then.
One night the wife and I went to go chill out at the Positive Feedback headquarters (Dave & Carol's pad) just down the street from us. It's a trip going over because there's always something neat to check out or listen to. This time, this little gem literally fell into my lap.
"Check this amp out," Dave said. Within seconds I knew what it was going to do for me. It's what I always been wanting for my Mac at home.
Ever since '95 or so, I had really gotten into mp3's. Napster, pirate FTP sites, whatever. I had lived in Hawaii at the time and since I'm an indie music fan and isolated far from any "scene" I did all I could to get my fix. Free music is rad and ever since most of my music collection had gone into the digital world, I spent a lot of time playing music through my computer. Problem was, and I'm sure you already know this, computer soundcards were only pumping out like 5watts or something lame like that. Good for headphones, bad for hanging out.
So within seconds of holding this Virtue Audio in my hands, I knew I needed it. Dave told me it wasn't just "a small amp" either. I was told some audiophile guy put it together for the purpose of not just powering speakers, but for an actual quality listening experience. To me, it's like coming across a set of boxed-end wrenches with the ratcheting feature in it—where have you been all my life?
After some cocktails, wine, food and the obligatory run through Dave & Carol's vinyl collection, Sasha and I took off. It was kinda late already, after midnight, but soon as we got home I set up the Virtue ONE amp. First, I set them up with my old, faithful NHT SuperZero's and garage sale Kenwood powered subwoofer combo. It sounded great, just like it did on my high powered garage sale receiver.
I also set up the Virtue ONE with a set of PSB Imagine T Loudspeakers. These PSB speakers are on the bigger side, about 3 to 4 feet in height. I was curious as to what this little amp could do with such a large set of speakers. Was it gonna overheat it or something? Was it too much speaker for the little guy? No. The PSB's sounded just as they did hooked-up to the NAD Viso Two Receiver.
So after living with the Virtue ONE for a bit we decided that we just had to have it. The days of using a big, bulky second hand $50 receiver for my home computer are over. A powerful little box with a big, nice moving volume knob, a power button, and very straightforward hook-up is taking care of business on this half of the house. Best of all, it takes up no valuable space on the desk. I strongly recommend one of these guys for your computer, kitchen or perhaps the garage. Life's too short to be underpowered wherever you're listening to music!
Virtue Audio http://store.virtueaudio.com