I tested the No 433 and No 436 amplifiers with a Mark Levinson No 326S
preamplifier and Carver Mark IV ribbon speakers. Cables were Nordost
Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances
is one of Jason Serinus' favorite pieces for auditioning equipment,
so I decided to listen for myself (Profil PH05027).
The No 436 provided not only more slam,
but more detail. Nevertheless, the No 433 was still excellent. The
difference in detail was slight, but noticeable.
Bottom line on these two products: If I
were putting together a home theater/audio setup, I would use the No
433 for the center and two rear channels, and two No
436s for the front left/right (for stereo music listening).
Mozart is always a fine choice to listen with first rate components.
This EMI two disc set (0-94635-09222-6) has several of his
symphonies recorded in the late 1960s with the English Chamber
With Symphony 41 ("Jupiter") on disc 2, the opening salvo is about
as thunderous as any symphony could be.
All of the instruments maintained distinctness, including violins,
oboe, and clarinets, against brass.
A Motet was originally Catholic church
music, with Latin text from the bible sung in two parts. After 1400,
it was simply a multiple part choral composition, sometimes without
instrumental accompaniment, but obviously, in the case of Bach's
Motets on this CD (EMI Classics 0-94634-14102-4), with an ensemble.
What I was looking for here, and got,
was a clear delineation between the bass instruments and the bass
Christopher Parkening is one of our
finest classical guitarists. On this album (EMI CLassics
0-946-3-56418-2), the attack of each note was accompanied by the
sound of his fingernails against the strings.
This may sound like a simple thing, but
it is this kind of detail that distinguishes the superb from the
good audio component.
Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an
Exhibition" (EMI Classics 0-94635-08242-5): this Orchestral Works recording is an excellent piece
to demonstrate an amplifier's (or speaker's) power capability.
The Levinsons just plain sounded great
here. I didn't analyze anything in particular, I simply sat back and
Every instrument is on this 2-CD set.
In "Scheherazade", the thunderous opening, the air of the flutes,
the rosin of the solo violin . . . all were breathtaking.
With the Schumann String Quartets
(EMI Classics 0-94635-08192-3), every instrument - violin, viola,
cello, bass - were distinctly placed across the soundstage, along
with the musicians' breathing. Detail is critical to this accurate
soundstage placement, and the Levinson gear has plenty of detail.
One of the most important
characteristics of the No 433 and No 436 is their neutrality. This goes
far in making the musical instruments sound "real".
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