July 06, 2024 2 min read

Words by Ken Micallef

Ampsandsound's Justin Weber brought a big pile of black vinyl to Chicago, lining the small room's walls with album jackets. He had me at Sphongle, an electronic industrial act that churned out of the world-debut Ampsandsound Hudson 3-way speakers ($18,000/pair) like dirty psychedelic water erupting from a broken sewer pipe.

Messy and human, Shpongle's 2013 release, Museum of Consciousness, found much love from ampsandsound’s Weber-built system. The analog front end—an SME Model 20 MK2 turntable ($31,900) with an Ortofon Classic SPU GE MkII “nude” MC cart and Auralic Vega G2.2 DAC/Preamp ($7899)—were the only outsiders to this otherwise single-brand setup.

An Ampsandsound Yellowstone preamplifier ($35,000) drove another worldwide debut, of the Ampsandsound Black Pearl 300B stereo amplifier, said to be capable of 8Wpc into an 8 ohm load over a frequency range of 10Hz–24kHz ($18,000). A Butcher Block Acoustics 4-shelf equipment rack ($2300) and Cardas Clear cabling completed the system.

The Hudson 3-way speaker features a 15" Eminence woofer, a large, CNC-cut midrange horn mated to a 2″ large-format midrange compression driver with a 3" voice coil, and a tweeter that combines a 1″ compression driver with an elliptical tractrix horn. Sensitivity is specified at 98dB/W/m and frequency response as 34Hz–20Khz, –3dB. The cabinet stands 25W" x 15D" x 36H." Each speaker weighs 115lb.

Albums from Air, Beck, Everything But The Girl, Devin Hoff with Sharon Van Etten, a mad 12” single version of “Ballroom Blitz" from Tia Carrere, and Buena Vista Social Club’s US debut LP worked this system hard, but you wouldn't know it from the sound: a mellow midrange and expansive deep bass with serious dynamic pressure, black disc after black disc.



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