Reviewer:
Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.01, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1 & H1, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi Formula, Fore Audio DAISy 1, Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, Pure i20, Questyle QP1R]
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVC module), COS Engineering D1, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6, F7; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics One SE Up NC500MB; Linnenberg Allego [on loan]
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]; Sablon Audio Petit Corona power cords [on loan], Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s + sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands [on loan]
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Rectangular 5.5 x 15m open floor plan with two-storey gabled ceiling, wood-sleeved steel trusses and stone-over-concrete flooring
Review component retail: €9'300
 

Tubers
are "a much thickened underground part of a stem or rhizome, e.g. in the potato, serving as a food reserve and bearing buds from which new plants arise." Trafomatic's Lara "is a fully balanced line preamp using one 6N30 per channel, then Lundahl LL1592 input transformers and output transformers made by us". The twin-chassis Lara thus has thermionic food reserves and devotees of the breed will expect plenty of sonic buds.


Naysayers will expect electrolytic capacitors and compromised S/NR. Here that's high-voltage Mundorf MLytics and 80dB. Voltage gain is near standard at 20dB, bandwidth at -1dB hits the end points 10Hz and 57kHz. The separate PSU runs off a low-induction toroidal line transformer followed by high-inductivity Trafomatic chokes for ripple suppression and smoothing. Operation is pure class A. There are four inputs (3 x RCA, 1 x XLR) and one kind each for the 1KΩ outputs. The slim-line boxes measure 40 x 31 x 8.5cm WxDxH and weigh a svelte 10kg. With Trafomatic co-owner Milorad 'Mica' Despotovic in charge of finishing, custom paints or even woods are always just one ask away. The review unit would be white. Over the years, this Serbian valve gear house has made a name for itself with many exotic custom commissions. Some of those pushed circuit designer and chief engineer Sasa Cokic deep into new terrain. This subsequently trickled down into regular production items. It's how wealthier clients can double as patron saints of hifi which the rest of us can reach for.

Trafomatic's office system. Quad cartridge custom Collins phono stage on top of Trafomatic's new production rack.

Thinking readers will have recognized the 6N30 glass as dual triodes to wonder whether our Serbians configured the two halves in push/pull to arrive at a fully balanced circuit. That would further necessitate a quad volume control and that the single-ended path be symmetrized upon entry and desymmetrized upon exit. If instead the volume control was a classic stereo affair and the RCA path run straight through, it would not be a balanced but single-ended circuit with transformer-generated XLR like our Nagra. Either approach is fully optimized for one format.