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Bryston B135 SST² Integrated Amplifier/DAC

Bryston B-135 Integrated Amp“This all-purpose amplifying and control device has been at the heart of my audio system for several weeks now, first as a basic amp, replacing a 3B SST, and subsequently operating as a full preamp/amp/DAC. I won’t say that it has surprised me a lot, but it is a case where familiarity definitely does not breed contempt…”

Anthem Statement D1 Surround Processor and P2 / P5 Home Theater Amplifiers

Anthem Statement D1

“The Statement D1 is among the most expensive home theatre processors in our experience, but offers just about every imaginable feature, as well as exceptional build quality. It will take much of this review just to outline its complement of capabilities. As their brochure claims, it is “nine high end components in one”: “preamplifier, 24-bit/192 kHz precision upsampler, analog-to-digital converter, digital-to-analog converter….”

Sonic Impact Tripath Amplifier (T Amp)

Sonic Impact T Class Amplifier

“If you’re the kind of audiophile who keeps on top of all things related to reproduced music via the internet, then there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already heard about the Sonic Impact Class T Amp, which has recently become a hot topic of various forums, zines, newsgroups and other online text repositories dealing with audio gear…”

Aragon Stage One HT Preamp and 3005 5 Channel Power Amplifier

Aragon Stage One Home Theater Processor

“These days, when one sees the name Aragon, visions of The Lord of the Rings come to mind. But, then, that’s Aragorn. Still, looking at the blue streams of light that seem to shine from deep inside the front panel of these handsome home theater components, one does get a sense of the mystical and the magical. I was captivated by this look the first time I saw the Aragon gear at the Festival du Son last March…”

Bryston 3B SST Stereo Power Amplifier

Bryston 3B SST

“The SST series of amplifiers is a not unexpected development after the introduction of the 14B and the 6B 3-channel amp, both of which used new Motorola output devices of greater linearity and wider optimum operating range to minimize both distortion (particularly crossover distortion) and transient speed The SST series also has, according to Bryston’s white paper, “doubled filter capacitance for even deeper and better controlled bass…”

Musical Fidelity A3CR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier

Musical Fidelity A3 CR Power Amplifier

“If you’ve been keeping an eye on the British and American audio press lately, you’ve probably already heard about Musical Fidelity’s much hyped A3CR and Nu-Vista lines. The more exotic and expensive Nu-Vista power amp, preamp and integrated make use of a rare and tiny tube called the nuvistor, which is noteworthy for its extremely long life and metal, rather than glass, casing. Introduced by RCA in the 60’s the nuvistor was designed mainly for military applications and was intended to compete with solid state designs…”

Bryston 14B ST Stereo Power Amplifier

Bryston 14BST Power Amplifier

“If power corupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then I guess I’d better watch myself as long as I have the 14B ST in my system. The traditional Bryston spec sheet (measured specs) shows on the left channel 573 watts at 8 ohms and 560 on the right, all distortion figures under .005%, and noise at 114 and 112 dB, left and right, respectively. And all this power is in one 85-pound chassis with a bright silver faceplate. …”

Anthem Amp 2 Power Amplifier

Anthem Amp-2 Power Amplifier (small)

“An equally important contributor to the excellent sound in the new room has been the Anthem Amp 2 power amplifier. A hybrid design the Amp 2 is an attempt to combine “the musicality and finesse of vacuum tubes, with the solidity and control of solid state.” It may sound like brochure copy (probably because it is) but, based on what I’ve been hearing over the past couple of months, it rings amazingly true…”

Rotel RB 1090 Stereo Power Amplifier

Rotel RB-1090 Stereo Power Amplifier

“…Don’t let its big size and big numbers give you the wrong idea. It will be easy for many to write off the 1090 as a simple brute, another megawatt amp with all the poise and finesse of a diesel locomotive, but anyone who spends some time with it will quickly realize that this beast wears velvet gloves and moves most gracefully indeed. In terms of watts the 1090 is certainly overkill for most systems, including mine, but I think it’s important not to fixate on its power rating, just as single ended triode freaks don’t kvetch about underpowering their speakers…”

Blue Circle Audio BC 22 Stereo Power Amplifier

Blue Circle Audio BC22

“The thing that sets the BC22 apart from the numerous amps at this price point is a product of its very nature. The BC22 is a broad appeal product built by a niche market company in a category where the inverse is generally the rule; a dressed down exotic rather than a gussied up generic. Whether this is better as a rule is impossible to say, but it certainly has some advantages in this case…”

Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature Edition 5 Channel Power Amplifier

Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature Amplifier

Bob Carver is being typically modest when he describes this new powerhouse amplifier, capable of 405 watts per channel (and a whopping 810 at 4 ohms) as a “magnificent amplifier”, and “my best amplifier design ever. I’ve spent over twenty years developing it, and cannot imagine how I could make it any better, or refine it any further.” Does that mean that the Cinema Grand Signature is the last amplifier we’ll see from Bob the man? Somehow, I doubt it. In fact, I’ve seen and heard prototypes of a tiny 12-volt amplifier driving a small cube subwoofer…..

Bryston 9B Home Theater Power Amplifier

Bryston 9B ST -- Click For Review

“Until now, this Canadian company has relied on its several stereo models, its 4-channel (8B/$3500), and 3-channel (5B/$3050) amplifiers to feed the growing home theatre market. But with the powered subwoofer now a fixture, and discrete 5-channel surround sound coming on fast, Bryston decided it had to provide a matching power amplifier…”

Monarchy Audio SE 100, KAB Souvenir TCA and Bryston Power Pac 120 power amps

Monarchy SE 100 Delux

“Many single-ended amplifier fans don’t really want to know that the phrase “harmonic richness” is just a euphemism for harmonic distortion. And if you think that prejudices my thinking about the amplifiers here reviewed, read on. Too many reviewers confuse this over-articulated harmonic structure with increased detail, when, in fact, the truth lies in the opposite direction: the increased harmonics actually cover up real detail…”

ATI 1504 Multichannel Power Amplifier

ATI 1504 Power Amplifier

“ATI (Amplifier Technology Inc.) is a California company that is said to have been in the amplifier business for 30 years, perhaps like Canada’s Bryston in the U.S. until recently, a well kept secret for much of that period. The ATI principals, designer Morris Kessler and partner Mike Pontelle, both come from SAE, Pontelle a former partner at that company, too. Well, now they have distribution up here, with a very specific product line: amplifiers, all identical except for the number of channels. The 1502 is a stereo amp, while the 1504 reviewed here is 4 channels…”

Blue Circle Audio BC3 Preamplifier and BC3 Power Amplifiers

Blue Circle Audio BC3 Preamp

“There is no question that high end audio is usually a labour of love for the designer, this being a given where technology and art meet. What kind of love is another question altogether: sometimes love is blind, sometimes it’s tough, and as often as not, simply perverse. I guess that’s what makes for the remarkable diversity we find in components with such an emotional content. It is perhaps useful to view this pair from Blue Circle Audio in this light…”


  Outside the Speakers

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    Audiophile Grade Mics?
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