John Atkinson wrestles with the fabled YBA 2 HC power amplifier to uncover its very essence. Can this meticulous design, engineered (some might say over-engineered) by Yves-Bernard André deliver the audio goods?
In his review of the Cary Audio Design CAD-300SEI integrated amplifier, Robert Harley admits up front that he's been "biased against single-ended tube amplifiers because of their quirky measured performances." Can the Cary redeem itself and the SET approach with a single hearing? Harley reports, with a "Follow-Up" from Jonathan Scull.
Madrigal Audio Labs designed the original Mark Levinson No.30 nearly 10 years ago with the idea that, as a Reference Series product, it would never be made obsolete. John Atkinson reviews the No.30's latest upgrade, the Mark Levinson No.30.6 Reference D/A processor, after sending his personal unit from 1992 back to the factory for the required work. What he got back included new D/A converters in the unit's twin towers. Was it worth the effort, and does this processor still define the state of the art? You'll want to read his report to find out.
With their simple circuits and low, even zero, levels of loop negative feedback, the sound quality of single-ended triode amplifiers is very dependent on the specific output tubes used. In "In Search of the Perfect 300B Tube," Peter van Willenswaard finds that not all tubes are created equal. Measured and auditioned in his survey of 300B power tubes are samples from Golden Dragon, JJ Electronics, KR Enterprise, Sovtek, Svetlana, Valve Art, and Western Electric. "If you want the best," sums up Mr. W, "there's only the . . . "—well, you'll have to read the article to find out!
Incorporating the company's new "black box" crossover design, the Acarian Alón Li'l Rascal Mk.II loudspeaker captured Robert J. Reina's attention. "I fired up the Li'l Rascals, wondering if I'd catch a glimpse of the dynamic performance I'd heard from the Exotica Grand References at HE2001," explains BJR.
"I wouldn't characterize my life as 'a search for bigger and better toys,' but I am intrigued by interesting things—like the Impact Airfoil 5.2 loudspeaker system," says Brian Damkroger as he steels himself for another review. BD goes in search of an answer to the Airfoil dilemma: "big toy, new toy, neat toy, better toy?"
Back in 1996, Martin Colloms reviewed the Krell KAV-300i integrated amplifier, asking, "Is Krell risking its reputation?" He needn't have worried, as the 300i has gone on to become a popular audiophile classic.
Beginning in November 1996, Sam Tellig, Muse Kastanovich, and John Atkinson took turns with the Musical Fidelity X-10D line-level preamplifier. "I'll reveal the true identity of X-10D in a moment," Tellig writes. "But I'll say straight off that for those of you with such CD players as the Marantz CD 63, RadioShack Optimus CD-3400, etc, this may be the most cost-effective CD upgrade ever to come down the pike."
Controversy may sell magazines, but it can also cause all sorts of editorial and letter-writing ruckus. In "Where's the Real Magazine," John Atkinson follows the heated trail that began when he decided to put a PC soundcard on the cover of Stereophile back in September, followed by a Denon surround receiver (horrors!) that graced the December issue. Included as a bonus is the hot-off-the-presses March 2001 "As We See It" in response.
"Does the modern audiophile want a sleek, compact, powerful, remote-controlled, microprocessor-driven, two-channel integrated amplifier?" Michael Fremer seeks the answer as he reviews the Perreaux R200i integrated amplifier. It may be small, but as MF finds, it also packs a punch.