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Amplifier Reviews

Primare A30.7 Seven-Channel Class D Power Amplifier

Primare A30.7 7-Channel Class D Amplifier

This new seven-channel Class D power amplifier comes to us from the Swedish high fidelity brand, Primare. The engineers at Primare designed this amplifier from the ground up with some fresh ideas on how to optimize this burgeoning amplifier topology. Will this compact multi-channel amp be able to muster the chutzpah to power your home theater? Will it be able to deliver this power with the grace that is missing from so many other Class D amps?

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Pass Labs XA-100.5 Pure Class A Monoblock Power Amplifier

Pass Labs XA-100.5 Pure Class A Monoblock Power Amplifier

Most amplifier manufacturers produce power amplifiers that are biased as Class AB, meaning that they run a few watts in Class A and the rest in AB. This is usually a push-pull configuration, and the AB moniker refers to a slight overlap in the + portion of the waveform that is delivered by one section of the amplifier with the - portion handled by the other amplifier section.

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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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Emotiva XPA-3 Three-Channel Power Amplifier

Emotiva XPA-3 Power Amplifier

The term "separates" was once reserved for the upper crust of the home theater world. Only those with the most discerning ears (and fattest wallets) considered purchasing a separate preamp/processor and multi-channel power amplifier. That time has long gone, thanks in part to the rise of Internet-direct firms such as Emotiva. They manufacture monoblocks (single-channel amplifiers) and multi-channel amplifiers, up to the XPA-5 which has five channels. The current review explores their three-channel amplifier, called the XPA-3.

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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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Simaudio Moon 700i Integrated Amplifier

Simaudio Moon 700i integrated amplifier

As a Quebec, Canada based company that has spent the last 30 years manufacturing some pretty outstanding gear, Simaudio has (like some other Canadian companies) made its name via its products' performance levels rather than hype and huge marketing spending. The unit reviewed here, the Simaudio Moon 700i Integrated Amplifier maintains that standing.

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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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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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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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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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