Believe it or not, there are reportedly several "audiophiles" out there who still refuse to accept that an extremely expensive amplifier can justify its price. "For them, the very idea of a $20,000 pair of monoblocks must seem absolutely ridiculous," writes Wes Phillips. "All I can say is that they should steer clear of the Mark Levinson No.33H, or else risk having their tidy little hypotheses shattered into tiny little pieces." For the complete review, take a look at the latest equipment report to hit the Archives: Mark Levinson No.33H monoblock power amplifier.
From the March 2004 issue, John Atkinson finally gets to listen to the Sonus Faber Cremona loudspeaker and explains, "it took rather longer than I had expected to set the Cremonas up in my listening room. But, like everything worth experiencing, the wait was worth it."
Brian Damkroger finds that, while struggling unsuccessfully to fit the Conrad-Johnson Premier 17LS line-stage preamplifier into his preconceived notions of the company and its products, a paradigm shift in his thinking occurred. Damkroger explains that "it was only during a marathon session of listening and comparing the C-J to a couple of other preamps that the truth dawned on me . . . I went back and forth between the C-J and the other units several times over the course of the next week, and one evening it hit me." The truth awaits.
Does the SLP in the Cary SLP-98P tube preamplifier's name stand for "sweet little preamplifier"? Art Dudley sets out to determine if Cary's latest version in the SLP preamp series lives up to the moniker.
"It costs as much as a car—and not a used jalopy, either," remarks Michael Fremer. "That's what goes through your head as you contemplate this magnificent $20,190 piece of audio jewelry." The jewelry in question is the Jadis RC JP80 MC Mk.II preamplifier, which MF compliments for "breathtaking" workmanship and parts quality. He also listens to the thing and reveals what some might consider the most important part: how it sounds.
While decidedly "niche products," as Martin Colloms describes them, single-ended (SE) tube amplifiers have still found a happy home in many audiophile systems. But a trap awaits those who wish to evaluate the differences between an SE and a solid-state or push-pull tube amplifier, or between two SE amps. In "The Unseen Variable," Colloms digs to the bottom of this complicated matter.
John Atkinson finishes his survey of pricey floor-standing speakers with a review of the Dynaudio Confidence C4 loudspeaker. JA notes that, "despite its $16,000/pair price, the C4 has much in common with its cost-no-object cousins in Dynaudio's Evidence line."
At the start of his review of the Balanced Audio Technology VK-D5 CD player, Jonathan Scull observes, "Man, has Balanced Audio Technology come a long way in a short time." Scull goes in-depth with the VK-D5 to explain just what he's found.
In his review of the Music Reference RM-200 power amplifier, Michael Fremer claims, "Reviewing a vacuum-tube power amplifier is like having your pants pulled down in front of a large crowd of people." MF explains why he reviewed the RM-200 despite the inevitable public humiliation.
Kalman Rubinson didn't expect to complete a full review of the Revel Ultima Studio loudspeaker, planning instead to investigate only the company's F30 (also available in the online archives). But after the Studios ended up spending several months in his home, there was only one honorable option available: 'fess up and submit his true feelings.
Sam Tellig and Lonnie Brownell both provide trenchant analyses of the Bryston B-60R integrated amplifier. Tellig notes, "With Bryston gear, you get solid engineering and impeccable—I was going to say unimpeachable—build quality. This is what you pay for; not bulletproof faceplates, gold-plated name badges, or the like."
Several months back, Stereophile editor John Atkinson asked David Rich to investigate the technical merits of SACD. With Super Audio CD: The Rich Report, DR discovers that there is both more and less than meets the ear to the new format, including why it is being promoted in the first place.
John Atkinson gets his mitts on the PSB Platinum T8 loudspeaker and remarks that "talented loudspeaker engineers do not stand still, and neither do the resources and technology available to them." Does PSB's new flagship design live up to JA's expectations? All is revealed.