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Amplifier Reviews

Mystere ca21 Stereo Tube Preamplifier

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Following on our recent review of the Mystere pa21 stereo tube power amplifier, we now review the matching preamplifier, the ca21. It is a single gain stage design, with only one buffer and one capacitor in the signal path. It is as beautiful as its brother, and sounds great as well. Read on.

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Lamm LL1 Signature Stereo Tube Preamplifier - An Audiophile's Dream

lamm-ll1-preamplifier-teaser-with-flare-backgroundLamm introduces their LL1 Signature preamplifier, which is the partner to their ML3 Signature power amplifier. Both the LL1 and ML3 are cost-no-object products using only the finest parts that can be found anywhere in the world. The design is based on Vladimir Lamm's 50 year career in design of tube components that perform at the extreme limits of sonic perfection. The LL1 is a $43,000 four-chassis, 114 pound, state-of-the-art masterpiece.

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Lamm LL2.1 Stereo Tube Preamplifier

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Lamm Industries has been a venerable brand name in high end audio for decades. They build each product when it is ordered, so you won't see a bunch of any particular model "in stock" anywhere. Their specialty is tube-based preamplifiers and power amplifiers, with their top-of-the-line power amplifier selling at well over $100,000. The current review focuses on the model LL2.1 stereo preamplifier. At $5,995, it is the most affordable preamplifier in the Lamm product line.

The LL2.1 is an updated version of a previous model. Several new features have been added along with modifications of the basic circuit.

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Mystere pa21 Stereo Tube Power Amplifier

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Durob Audio is a company in the Netherlands that markets PrimaLuna tubed audio components, including integrated amplifiers, power amplifiers, and a CD player that has a tube-based clock. It also has a discrete output stage with triodes running in pure Class A. Conventional CD players use op-amps in the output stage. Although the tube output stage and op-amp output stage sound different, one doesn't necessarily sound "better" than the other, although tubeophiles would all opt for the "better". We reviewed the PrimaLuna DiaLogue Two integrated amplifier in December, 2009.

With the introduction of Durob Audio's Mysterè line, we now review the Mysterè pa21, which is a 55 watt per channel stereo tube power amplifier. The Mysterè line goes beyond the PrimaLuna line with larger transformers, more power supply capacitance, and an auto-bias circuit that lets the consumer choose between using KT88's or EL34's as the output tubes.

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Bryston 9B SST2 Multi-channel Amplifier

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Bryston is known for building some of the most sought-after, powerful and dependable amplifiers in the business. For over 40 years, they have provided an incredible 20 year transferable warranty, practically unheard of in this or any industry. If you find one (that is if you can find one) on the used market, chances are it will still be under warranty. Their rare appearance on the used market has as much to do with their sound quality and dependable (high) power delivery as it does with their warranty. Here, we review their 9B SST2, which is a five-channel (5 x 140 watts) power amplifier.

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Bryston 14B SST2 Stereo 600 Watt per Channel Power Amplifier

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Bryston, renown manufacturer of amplifiers with a 20 year warranty, markets products with a full gamut of power output ranges. The 14B SST2 is a stereo power amplifier rated at 600 watts per channel output into 8 ohms. That's a lot of power. Is all that power useful? Is it necessary? Read our review and discover.

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CAVE Prize - Burson Audio PI-100 Integrated Stereo Amplifier

CAVE Prize - Burson Audio PI-100 Integrated Stereo Amplifier

No April Fools.........Winner of the Burson Audio PI-100 Integrated Stereo Amplifier is Tim Patchett.....Congratulations Tim! Thank you ALL for your support of the CAVE.....we will be announcing the next prize shortly!!

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Emotiva UPA-5 Five-Channel Power Amplifier

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Over the past decade, a lot has changed on receivers that we buy for home. We've gone from S-Video to Component to HDMI for video, replaced 6 RCA cables for 5.1 audio with a single digital cable, to having it integrated in the HDMI signal along with video. Receivers have added all sorts of new functions with better on screen menus, room correction, Ethernet ports for streaming media and firmware upgrades, and we have also moved from 5.1 channel audio, to 6.1, then 7.1, and now all the way to 9.1 or greater when using Dolby ProLogic IIz or Audyssey DSX. However, one thing on receivers has barely changed when I look back over the spec sheets: weight.

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PrimaLuna DiaLogue Seven Tube Monoblock Power Amplifier

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PrimaLuna is a Dutch-based company that released its first products, the ProLogue One and ProLogue Two integrated tube amplifiers in 2003. Then, in 2006, they released the ProLogue Three preamplifier, and ProLogue Five, Six, and Seven power amplifiers. Late in that same year, the PrimaLuna DiaLogue series hit the market, which had the DiaLogue's basic features, but with upgraded parts and additional capabilities. Here, we review the DiaLogue Seven, which is a monoblock power amplifier, capable of delivering 40 watts RMS in triode mode, and 70 watts RMS in ultra-linear mode (see review for an explanation of what this means). The bottom line is that the PrimaLuna DiaLogue Seven monoblock is more than capable of delivering a clean, detailed, and lush sound (ah, those tubes are responsible for that).

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EMP Tek VT-40.2 Hybrid Integrated Stereo Tube Amplifier

EMP Tek VT-40.2 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier

Engineered Music Products (EMP) was founded in 2007 by industry professionals with over thirty years experience in designing, engineering and manufacturing high-performance loudspeakers for companies such as ParaSound, McIntosh, JBL, Destination Audio and Fosgate. EMP Tek is a sister company of speaker manufacturer RBH Sound. For years I have heard people talk about tubes ("valves" if you are British) and how warm and wonderful they sound. This is my chance to hear for myself. Can one find analog bliss in a digital world?

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PrimaLuna DiaLogue Two Stereo Integrated Tube Amplifier

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The PrimaLuna brand needs no introduction to the tube-loving community, but I do (did). Though I've heard plenty of good sounding tube gear at shops, at various friends' houses and of course at shows, I generally listen to solid state equipment. So, having the PrimaLuna Dialogue Two here for review was a new, and very pleasant experience.

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