Stereophile's 1999 Products of the Year Amplification

Joint Amplification Components of 1999

Linn Klimax 500 Solo monoblock power amplifier (review)
($19,000/pair; reviewed by Jonathan Scull, Vol.22 No.10, October 1999)

Pass Labs X1000 monoblock power amplifier
($24,000/pair; reviewed by Jonathan Scull, Vol.22 No.6, June 1999)

Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):
Adcom GFP-750 preamplifier (review) ($1250; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.22 No.3, March 1999)
AudioPrism Mana Reference monoblock power amplifier ($15,000/pair; reviewed by Jonathan Scull, Vol.22 No.9, September 1999)
Audio Research Reference One preamplifier ($8495; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.21 No.11, November 1998)
Audio Research VT100 Mk.II power amplifier ($4995; reviewed by Robert J. Reina, Vol.21 No.12, December 1998)
Ayre V-1 power amplifier ($7500; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.22 No.9, September 1999)
Classé Omega power amplifier (review) ($15,000; reviewed by Jonathan Scull, Vol.22 No.3, March 1999)
Conrad-Johnson Premier Twelve monoblock power amplifier ($6990/pair; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.22 No.2, February 1999)
Jeff Rowland Design Group Coherence preamplifier ($14,500; reviewed by Shannon Dickson, Vol.22 No.9, September 1999)
Lamm Industries ML2 power amplifier ($29,290; reviewed by Sam Tellig, Vol.22 No.7, July 1999)

The Linn Klimax 500 Solo amplifier is unique, petite, powerful, and punchy, and superbly redefines the genus. Linn's Silent Power Brilliant Switch Mode Power Supply Technology does the trick and makes possible the Klimax's small, satiny, elegant form. Nevertheless, a brawny 500W into 4 ohms clamps the associated speakers to its breast, a tight Tango ensuing. "The amp's iron control and absolute grip, transparent midbass, full palette of blushing tonal color, extension from DC to ultraviolet, great slam and linearity, openness, sweetness...," quoth J-10.

The X1000 monoblock, the joint amplification winner from Pass Labs, sits at the opposite end of the build spectrum. This huge, heavy, and authoritative device weighs 250 lbs and offers 1000W into 8 ohms, 2000VA continuous, 3000VA peak—a real industrial power plant. Given that, its circuitry is simple, its gain stages minimal, and its layout perfectly symmetrical. Per J-10, "Wed a sensitivity for small detail and nuance with Boundless Power to reproduce a fine amalgam of the two"—plus "shattering" dynamics.

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