Integrated Amplifiers

Manley Stingray iTube Stereo Integrated Amplifier

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In Use

I tested the Stingray iTube with an OPPO BDP-83SE/NuForce universal Blu-ray player and a pair of Krix Equinox bookshelf speakers that have a nominal impedance of 6 ohms. Cables were Emotiva, Nordost, and Legenburg.

Switching back and forth between triode and ultralinear mode, I was unable to discern any audible differences, so I settled in to just using the ultralinear mode because it delivers more power. Needless to say, even in ultralinear mode, 32 watts output is not a lot of juice compared to most solid state amplifiers, but it is plenty for easy listening, and assuming your speakers are reasonably efficient, it is enough.

Chamber music was the relaxation du jour for me with this amplifier, and there is plenty of it out there.

This SACD has Telemann sonatas and other quiet (relatively) works that I particularly enjoy when I am reading. Pauline Oostenrijk plays the oboe as sweet as Belgian chocolate, and frankly, at my age, I like feeling my heart rate decrease along with my blood pressure. This kind of music, played through a terrrific little tube amplifier like the Stingray, is a joy. Soft, delicate, intricate, without edginess. That's tubes for ya'.

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Piano sonatas are another kind of soft easy music that I love. This recording of Mozart's Piano Sonatas Nos. 310, 331, and 333 are beautifully rendered with the Stingray. Sometimes I wonder if reviewing such products is really considered a job. Sometimes, yes. But in this case, no. Too much pleasure to be considered work.

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