Some more thoughts/guesses on what the pictures appear to show of the new RAAL amplifiers …
On the VM-1a (“big tube amp”), some additional pictures from CanJam posted here, are interesting.
For one, you can clearly see that the tubes are 6x EL34 and 1x 6SL7.
For another, there is a a switch for something nestled between the tubes. At a guess, and it is a wild-ass guess, it might be to switch the EL34s between Pentode drive and Triode operation.
This has an external switch on the rear to change the input attenuation on the XLR connections. On the HSA-1b this had to be done by opening the unit and flipping some DIP switches.
It also appears to have switches for lifting ground connections. I can clearly read an XLR GND switch, not sure what the other says.
More interesting for me is the VM-1a, however. A direct-drive tube amplifier is quite appealing to me, as I have no tubes anywhere in the SR1a chain I use at the moment (I drive them either of the HSA-1b or via the interface and a Chord Ultima 5).
However, it is interesting to note that the front panel only shows connections for RIBBON headphones, where the HSA-1b can drive ribbons or conventional headphones …
Which makes me wonder if it will still be possible to (safely and usefully) drive conventional headphones from the ribbon outputs using an adapter.
I don’t really want to have to have a VM-1a and an HSA-1b. And since the HSA-1b is the only solid-state headphone amplifier I have (excepting for electrostatics), that might mean having either giving up solid-state drive for headphones entirely or having to choose another dedicated solid-state headphone amplifier for more demanding stuff (like the LCD-5 and so on).
Interesting times …