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Amplifier Reviews

Classe CA-M600 Monoblock Power Amplifier

Classe CA-M600 Monoblock Power Amplifier

Classé updated their Delta power amplifier series in late 2010, including the CA-M400 which is now the CA-M600. The entire amplification signal passes on a single circuit board, and they have introduced a new cooling system called ICTunnel™, which utilizes a fan on the inside front panel of the amplifier that draws aire into the chassis and over some fins that absorb heat fromt the circuit boards. In use, I found the fan to be whisper quiet, with just a gentle breeze coming from the front amplifier port. This kept the entire chassis cool, but also, the temperature of the circuit board is electronically controlled by adjusting the fan speed, to optimize the performance, which turned out to be stellar.

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Mark Levinson No 53 Monoblock Power Amplifier

Mark Levinson No 53 Monoblock Power Amplifier

Mark Levinson is a state-of-the-art brand, whose products are purchased by consumers whose bank accounts are also state-of-the-art. Levinson makes no apologies for their prices, nor do they have to justify them. The axiom is simple: If you want the best, it costs a lot. The latest addition to their power amplifier line takes a huge leap from the previous designs, which were Class AB, and which usually were biased well into Class A operation. The Mark Levinson No 53 is a monoblock power amplifier that is a switching design, i.e., the output stage is operated in switching mode, but it is unique in that it interleaves eight switchers to produce a fully balanced output, at a realized switching frequency of 4 MHz.

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Naim Audio, SUPERNAIT Integrated Stereo Amplifier with DAC

Naim Audio Supernait Integrated Amp with DAC

What's in a Naim? For those not overly familiar with the brand (myself included), that has usually meant DIN connectors, the ubiquitous black casework, green lit circlet buttons and a reputation for an emphasis to PRat. This reputation for Pace Rhythm and Timing and a focus on hand built craftsmanship put Naim in a unique place amongst audio components.

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ADCOM GFA-555se Stereo Power Amplifier

Adcom GFA-555se amplifier

The original ADCOM GFA-555 stereo power amplifier hit the market in 1985. Standby for math calculation. That's 25 years ago. Enough time for a digital music revolution (maybe peaking now). Enough time for the Rolling Stones to release 11 new records (28 for Neil Young). Enough time for most rock bands to burn out, fade away and then stage a comeback. And, enough time for a hifi manufacturer to come and go as well. Here, we review the latest iteration fo this classic, called the GFA-555se.

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Manley Stingray iTube Stereo Integrated Amplifier

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Manley Labs designs and manufactures tube components. With the Stingray iTube, you can now plug your iPod directly into a dock on an integrated tube amplifier.The iTube can be switched between triode mode and ultralinear mode, giving you a choice in how much output the amplifier will deliver. It comes with a very unique remote control that you would only expect from Manley.

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PrimaLuna ProLogue Premium Stereo Tube Preamplifier

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We have been on a roll with reviewing PrimaLuna and Mysterè products, and they have all sounded terrific. The current review is on the PrimaLuna ProLogue Premium Preamplifier, and would you believe it . . . it sounds terrific too. Compared to the standard version of the preamplifier, the Premium has a new front-end design using all 12AU7's in a dual-mono configuration, a larger power transformer, home theater pass-through, a remote control while still using the higher end Alps Blue Velvet potentiometer, larger chassis with DiaLogue class cosmetics, tube rectification, and point to point wiring.

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Earthquake Sound Cinenova Grande Multi-Channel Power Amplifier with Class A Bias

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We reviewed the Earthquake Sound Cinénova Grande multi-channel amplifier several years ago, but it has gone through some changes in the circuitry, including significantly higher output, so we thought it was time to revisit this legendary product. It is available with up to seven amplifier modules, each capable of delivering 360 watts RMS into 8 ohms. Our review unit came with five modules.

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Wyred4Sound SX-1000 Monoblock Power Amplifier

Wyred4Sound SX-1000 Monoblock Amplifier

Wyred4Sound has entered into the high end audio market with plenty of experience behind its doors. Born from the skilled minds and hands of EJ Sarmento and Rick Cullen of Cullen Circuits, these two have been providing high end components for the audio industry for years. Rick used to be the production manager for PS Audio, until in 1990 he started Cullen Circuits- a provider and consultant to companies such as PS Audio, Genesis Technologies, Camelot and more. In this review, we take a test drive with their SX-1000 Class D monoblock power amplifier.

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Bryston 3B SST2 Stereo 150 Watt per Channel Power Amplifier

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Following on our review of the Bryston 14B SST2 stereo power amplifier, we now take a look at its smaller brother, the 3B SST2, which delivers 150 watts rms x 2 into 8 ohms. Although it won't necessarily rattle the wall studs like the 14B can, it provides good solid power at very low distortion.

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Spectron Musician III Mk2 Class D Stereo Power Amplifier

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Spectron has been manufacturing Class D amplifiers since before most people even knew what they were. I remember meeting John Ulrick, Spectron's designing engineer, many years ago at a CES, and seeing his first model. I had no idea how it worked, but what impressed me was that it was extremely powerful, yet relatively small. Class D amplification technology has come a long way since then, but definitely, Spectron was a pioneer. In this review, we take a look at the Spectron Musician III Mk2, which will deliver 600 watts rms per channel into an 8 ohm load, and is rated into 2 ohm loads. The amplifier weighs 52 pounds.

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Pass Labs INT-30A Integrated Stereo Amplifier

Pass Labs INT-30A Integrated Amplifier

For nearly forty years, Nelson Pass has been designing simple, high-performance electronics. In 1991, with twenty years experience under his belt, he founded Pass Laboratories which has since become among the most highly regarded companies for high-end power and integrated amplifiers. His design goals couldn't be more clear: power, simplicity and performance.

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