Dan D’Agostino’s Dazzling Unveil of the New Relentless Epic and Epic 800 Monoblocks and Momentum MxV Integrated
In the extremely large, all-sonic-bets-are-off, glass-enclosed Atrium display mounted by Mansour Mamaghani’s Audio Reference Munich, Dan D’Agostino, and his indispensable sidekick (aka company President) Bill McKiegan, joined forces with Wilson, dCS, and Perlisten to blow people’s minds. When the new Relentless Epic and Relentless Epic 800 mono amplifiers got fired up, it was a case of which dazzled you first, the sound or the sheer enormity and shine of the display.
The Relentless Epic monoblocks ($349,500/pair), available now, contains a $49,500/pair upgrade to the original Relentless Epic introduced a year ago in Munich. The Relentless Epic 800, which I insist on calling the baby Relentless, outputs 800Wpc into 8 ohms and costs a mere $194,500/pair. Both contain new circuit sections and components that enhance their power supply, input, driver, and output stages. No global negative feedback is employed. With a near 50% increase in class-A operating bias, bias is claimed to remain consistent and excessive heat is eliminated. Driver transistors handle 33% more power per device, and the output impedance has decreased. The Relentless Epic uses 112 output transistors, while the Relentless Epic 800 uses 84.
The Relentless Epic united with the multi-box Relentless preamplifier, Wilson XVX loudspeakers, a full dCS Vivaldi Apex complement, and the biggest Stromtank battery power source on the planet to fill the room with realistic sound. I arrived at the wrong time to get anywhere near the sweet spot, but the sound, heard standing way off-axis, was extremely impressive.
The new hand-built Momentum MxV integrated amplifier ($65,000 plus $10,000 for the optional Digital Streaming Module and $5000 for the optional phono module) combines front-end technology from the stand-alone Momentum MxV amplifier with a “new ultra-quiet 2000VA linear transformer and 60,000µF capacitor bank to output 250/500/1000Wpc into 8/4/2 ohm speaker loads. Its two chassis interlock via 30-pin, 30A, gold-plated connectors that eliminate the umbilical cord currently employed on the Momentum HD preamplifier. The result is claimed to provide “complete” physical and electrical isolation of the audio section from the power supply.
The Relentless MxV integrated’s optional digital modulea first for D’Agostinoadds connectivity for legacy sources, source and host USB functionality, and streaming. The module, which contains an ESS DAC augmented by D’Agostino’s primary filters, is field-upgradable and operates via a dedicated iOS D’Agostino DSM app that provides built-in Tidal, Qobuz, MQA decoding, and unit control. The module handles up to PCM 32/192 and DSD1024. The optional phono module supports low output MC cartridges with over 60dB gain and loading options from 100 ohms to 47k-ohms. Finishes for all models are either silver or black. For better or worse, Alexa integration will arrive in September via a software upgrade.
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