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Jan Vigne
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Filarmonia SE

Two questions. The cover of the issue suggests the Filarmonia is an "Artful Italian Amp". The copy of the review indicates the parent company is Spanish. Surely this is not a case of "they all look alike" when Mediterranean designers are concerned. Ars-Sonum's "genial factotum", Ricardo Hernandez, might take exception to that generality.

In the text of the article, John Marks suggests the ST-70's performance was good enough to make it known as "the poor man's McIntosh." I was under the impression that sobriquet was applied to and inferrred by Citation and had never been used by Dynaco nor any of its retailers or users.

smejias
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Re: Filarmonia SE


Quote:
The cover of the issue suggests the Filarmonia is an "Artful Italian Amp". The copy of the review indicates the parent company is Spanish.

We made a mistake, and we're very sorry about it. Ars-Sonum is a Spanish company. We'll address this in a future issue.

johnmarks
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Re: Filarmonia SE

Hi-

(1) Yes, I know the amp is made in Spain. I was surprised when I saw the cover. An honest mistake, no harm meant. In all likelihood, with so many Italian audio products praised for their industrial design, it was meant as a compliment.

(2) Poor man's etc. I did not mean to imply that Dynaco or its dealers used such a claim. And I was not even referring to the time when the amp was new, I was referring to the 1970s and early 1980s when both McIntosh and Dynaco tube gear was available on the used market. It's something I heard back then. A bit over the top, perhaps. I am sure that if John Atkinson had read my copy and had the reaction, "No, that was H-K Citation," he would have let me know in no uncertain terms.

Thanks for reading. Do hear the Filarmonia if you can, it is a very sweet amp.

JM

Jan Vigne
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Re: Filarmonia SE

John, I'm going to have to take your word for that. It's not that I wouldn't audition the amplifier had I the chance, but that I can't really tell from your article. I see a page of copy devoted to the Dynaco story. One and a half pages on the physical appearance of the Filarmonia and its connectivity options. The rest of the copy is predominantly about the speakers you used for audition and there is extremely little about the amplifier's sound quality.

I can find a setence that describes the Filarmonia as more robust than your five year old memory recalls the Unison SET amplifier to have been (push-pull more robust than SET? Where's the headline there?). Next, there's a bit on cables and then more on various speakers.

And I'm having a difficult time understanding the time spent on the Dynaco references. The Filarmonia runs fixed bias, unlike the ST70. Fixed bias should make tube matching all but unnecessary, so why the 98% matching of the more expensive product? The circuit board of the Spanish amp is not exposed as the Dynaco's was. There was no option for trying power cables with the 1950's unit and there was no 500 hour break in period of 3 hours on and 1 hour off for the first 100 hours according to my old Dynaco owner's manual. OK, I'll grant you the Filarmonia's transformers hummed like an old Dynaco would. But the ST70 was a straight power amp without input switching and a volume control. And, as you mention, the new amplifier departs from Dynaco's (technical) design in several important ways. How can you compare and amplifier that does not operate in UltraLinear mode to any Dynaco product? If the amplifier is not intended as a misguided homage to the ST70 and there is only a vague physical resemblance to the original Dynaco product (where's the cage for the Filarmonia?), why spend so much time writing about the Dynaco?

John, it would appear you could have written this article without ever having the Ars-Sonum in your home.

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