2013 Recommended Components Preamplifiers

Two-Channel Preamplifiers

Editor's Note: Apart from the AudioValve, CAT, Fi, Shindo, and Placette, all the Class A preamplifiers offer balanced inputs and outputs. And unless noted, the preamplifiers listed do not have phono stages.

Class A

Aesthetix Saturn Calypso Signature: $6999
Aesthetix Saturn Calypso: $4999 ✩
A beautifully built, smartly designed, crisply functioning, versatile, and sonically brilliant preamplifier," the Saturn Calypso is a single-box, tubed unit that borrows technology from the more expensive, two-box Jupiter Callisto to offer "an attractive combination of couch-potato convenience without compromising its tweaky audiophilic performance potential," thought MF. It lacked the last bit of expansive air and resolution found in more expensive preamps but never sounded bright, hard, or artificial, and provided "one of the best-balanced sounds of any audio component I've come across at any price." Nearly identical to the stock version, the Signature replaces that model's polypropylene coupling capacitors with custom-made interstage Teflon-hybrid caps, and switches out the polypropylene caps between the main and output stages. In addition, the stock Calypso's five rubber feet are replaced in the Signature with Harmonic Resolution Systems Nimbus Couplers specially made for Aesthetix. Compared to the original, the Signature version created a wider soundstage and offered more low-level resolution, longer decays, and richer bass, found WP. (Vol.28 No.7; Vol.33 No.7, Signature Read Review Online)
Audio Research Reference 5SE: $13,000
The Ref 5 SE is a tubed, remote-controlled line preamp with six sets of balanced and unbalanced inputs, three sets of balanced and unbalanced outputs, and a unity-gain Processor input. It uses 6550C and 6H30P tubes for power-supply regulation, and four 6H30P dual-triodes in the analog stage. Improvements over the original Ref 5 include new Teflon and hybrid coupling and bypass capacitors, new internal wiring, and a vertically mounted circuit board that nearly doubles the earlier version's energy storage. The Ref 5 SE exhibited incredible detail retrieval, bold and nuanced tonal color, outstanding dynamic range, and large soundstages with a slightly forward perspective, said BD. "The Reference 5 SE gets my highest recommendation," he concluded. JA noted superb measured performance. Compared to BJR's reference Audio Valve Eclipse, the ARC offered longer decays and resolved more inner detail but lacked some low-end impact. (Vol.35 No.11, Vol.36 No.2 Read Review Online)
Ayre Acoustics KX-R: $18,500 ✩
Milled from a 75-lb billet of aluminum to match Ayre's MX-R monoblock amplifier, the KX-R is a zero-feedback, fully balanced design with four single-ended inputs and four balanced XLR inputs. It uses Ayre's Variable Gain Transconductance topology to maintain a constant signal/noise ratio independent of volume setting. "Far more silent than the tomb," the "astonishingly transparent" KX-R made music seem "especially alive," and took Wes deep into the soundstage. "If it's not the eighth wonder of the modern world," he concluded, "I say demand a recount." JA called it a "superbly well-engineered preamplifier." Price is for silver finish; add $250 for black. (Vol.31 No.11 Read Review Online)
Ayre Acoustics K-5xeMP: $3500 ✩
Like all of Ayre's 5-series products, the K-5xe uses the Ayre Conditioner, a built-in RFI filter that works in parallel with the AC line to reduce background noise, grain, and hash. The original K-5xe added nothing to the original signal and had no sonic signature of its own. ST: "It just got out of the way" subsequently adding that this "superb solid state line-stage preamp is everything you could ask for: neutral, detailed, dynamic, exceptionally low noise, fun to use." JA felt high Class B was a fair rating for the original version; the Maximum Performance (MP) version incorporates rare, low-noise Toshiba J-FETs for the output buffer stage. The K-5xeMP had dynamics equal to that of the original K-5xe, but produced quieter backgrounds and had a friendlier, more accurate overall balance, with better delineation of images within a wide, deep soundstage. Though it lacked the top-end air of the Parasound Halo JC 2, the Ayre sounded warmer overall, with a fleshier lower midrange. Its measured performance was "about as good as it gets for a solid-state preamplifier," said JA. Black finish adds $250. (Vol.29 No.5 original version; Vol.34 No.6 MP version Read Review Online)
Classé CP-800: $5000
A new breed of audio component, the versatile CP-800 is a remote-controlled, solid-state preamplifier with a touchscreen display, DSP-implemented tone and equalizer controls, 10 digital inputs (AES/EBU, three S/PDIF on coax, four S/PDIF on TosLink, asynchronous USB, front-panel USB host connector), five analog inputs (two pairs balanced, three pairs unbalanced), and seven analog outputs (three pairs balanced, three pairs unbalanced, and a front-panel headphone jack). One of the first products to come from Classé's Chinese manufacturing plant, the attractive, solidly built CP-800 shares the curved aluminum front panel of earlier Classé Delta-series products. Though it lacked some flesh and warmth, the Classé produced a clean, clear, and detailed overall sound, with an especially delicate treble, said JA. On the test bench, the Classé's digital input showed about two bits" worth less resolution than the current state of the art, but its analog performance was beyond reproach. (Vol.35 No.9 Read Review Online)
Conrad-Johnson ET3 SE: $4000
With its simple sheet-metal chassis and gold-toned faceplate, the ET3 Special Edition looks identical to the standard version ($2500), but adds high-quality parts throughout, including Teflon capacitors, Vishay resistors, silver-plated RCA jacks, and Cardas wire. It uses a tubed input stage, a FET buffer output stage, and offers four line-level inputs, a tape loop, an external processor loop, and a Home Theater output. The C-J had a sense of ease that benefited good recordings while minimizing the sonic shortcomings of poor ones, said ST. "It is easily the finest Conrad-Johnson preamplifier I've heard in my listening room," he concluded. (Vol.34 No.10)
Convergent Audio Technology SL1 Renaissance: $7995
The latest iteration of the heralded SL1 boasts a new circuit-board layout and improved power supply. It also includes an A/V bypass, user-selectable gain, and a switch-selectable, moving-coil transformer for the phono stage. Compared to the SL1 Ultimate, the Renaissance offered greater transparency, resolution, and dynamics, said RD. JA noted "superb measured performance and an equally superbly linear circuit topology." Phono stage adds $2000. (Vol.32 No.11 Read Review Online)
darTZeel NHB-18NS: 31,700 CHF ✩
The "stunningly transparent" darTZeel offered spectacular transient speed, resolution, and decay, while providing an overall coherence that "made recorded music, analog or digital, sound much closer to live," said MF. Bass lacked some authority, and the sound sometimes had "a slight velvety finish." With its warm, vivid combination of red chassis and dark gold front and rear panels, the NHB-18NS "looks like it sounds." Its fully dual-mono design, lack of global negative feedback, and ultrawide bandwidths are meant to eliminate phase shifts at the frequency extremes. JA was "puzzled" by some aspects of the darTZeel's measured performance, particularly the much poorer performance through the balanced inputs and outputs, but was overall impressed by the level of audio engineering. Compared to the harmonically rich Musical Fidelity AMS Primo, the darTZeel offered a more clinical sound: tighter bass, greater transparency, more precisely defined images, shorter sustain, and a diminished sense of musical flow. Compared to Einstein Audio's The Tube Mk.II, the NHB-18NS sacrificed bass weight for greater top-end air, transient speed, and bass extension, said MF. The darTZeel matched the resolution and transparency of the mbl 6010 D while managing to sound less mechanical, said MF about his reference preamp as of summer 2008. (He bought one!) US price will depend on the exchange rate from Swiss francs. (Vol.30 No.6, Vol.31 No.10, Vol.33 Nos.5 & 10 Read Review Online)
Fi 2b: $8200, as reviewed
The long-awaited successor to Don Garber's simply named Fi Preamplifier, the 2b retains much of its predecessor's physical appearance and gain-stage design, but uses Electro-Harmonix 6922 dual-triode tubes in place of the original's 6DJ8s, has three top-panel brass control knobs, and measures a little over 10" square. Premium parts include nude Vishay resistors, VH Audio Teflon and tin-foil V-Caps, and a pair of onboard, split-primary HM-3 step-up transformers from Hashimoto Electric. AD: "The sound of the Fi 2b preamp was like a Schubert piano trio: logical, perfect, well balanced, apparently immortal, and glowing with beauty of the truthful sort." MM-only version without step-ups costs $7600; line-only version costs $7000. (Vol.33 No.7 Read Review Online)
Lamm Industries LL2.1 Deluxe: $6190 $$$ ✩
Line-level preamp with one 6X4, two 12AU7A, and two 6DJ8 tubes. AD was most impressed by the original version of the Lamm's ability to remain free from overhang and distortion while remaining true to the color, texture, and body of recorded material. He explained that, because of the LL2's speed—"the thing's ability to respond to a signal, amplify it with great faithfulness, then get the hell out of the way"—it gave music "more body, more feel, and especially more movement." It seemed as if performances were actually taking place in the listening room rather than simply being retold. AD: "Judged for its musicality, the quality of its parts and construction, and its sheer design ingenuity, the Lamm LL2 is worth every penny." In response to requests for a lower-gain version of the LL2, Vladimir Lamm redesigned the preamplifier's circuit to incorporate 15dB of switchable attenuation. Compared to AD's reference Shindo Masseto, the LL2.1 sounded cleaner and more open, with a tendency to pull voices farther out from the mix and a better ability to unravel dense musical passages. (Vol.28 No.9, Vol.32 No.9 Read Review Online)
Luxman C-600f: $9000
The solid-state C-600f has five single-ended and two balanced inputs, two single-ended and two balanced outputs, and a tape-processor loop, but no phono stage. Its bass and treble controls, as well as phase inversion and channel balance, are operable from the supplied remote control. Partnered with Luxman's MQ-88 power amplifier, the C-600f has an open, transparent sound with "a wonderful balance of detail and warmth," said JM. (Vol.35 No.4 Read Review Online)
mbl 6010 D Reference: $26,500 ✩
The 77-lb 6010 D is an impressive-looking, superbly finished preamp with a black-lacquered façade, gold-plated volume and input knobs, and top-mounted input-level trim pots and tape-monitoring buttons. The MBL sounded "very quiet, transparent, and dynamic," with a slightly lean bottom end and "slightly aggressive but airy, clean, and well extended" top end, said Mikey. Though the 6010 D"s reproduction of space was good, it could not match the image dimensionality or soundstage width and depth of the darTZeel NHB-18NS. Its measured performance, however, was "beyond reproach," determined JA. Used in an all-MBL system with Reference 9011 monoblocks driving Radialstrahler 101E Mk.II loudspeakers, the 6010 D worked to create clean, extended top octaves, fast transients, and a taut, muscular low end, said MF. Price includes remote and balanced input. (Vol.31 No.10, Vol.35 No.3 Read Review Online)
Music First Audio Baby Reference: $7780
Slightly larger than Music First's less expensive Classic v2, the Baby Reference passive preamp measures 9.75" W by 3.4" H by 10.1" D and is available with a black, blue, red, or clear anodized faceplate. Standard connections include two balanced XLR inputs, four unbalanced XLR inputs, and one pair each of balanced and unbalanced outputs. Like the Classic, the Baby Reference provides 24 discrete volume steps, including mute, but forgoes the Classic's +6dB gain switch and uses a larger, more complex transformer. The sound was smooth, sweet, and extended, with exceptional transient speed and surprisingly deep bass, said ST. "[The Baby Reference] is the best preamp I've had in my system," he concluded, "probably because it's not a preamp at all." (Vol.35 No.10)
Music First Audio Classic Magnetic Mk.II: $4185
The Classic Magnetic Mk.II transformer volume control (identified as the V2 when reviewed) has two balanced and four single-ended inputs and one pair each of balanced and single-ended outputs. For improved low-frequency response and power handling, it uses transformers with mu-metal cores 25% larger than those found in the original Classic Magnetic. The sound was clean, smooth, and transparent, with surprisingly taut bass, said ST. (Vol.35 No.6)
Musical Fidelity AMS Primo: $10,999
Built in the UK, the attractive AMS Primo is a fully balanced, class-A design with 14 dual-triode ECC81/12AT7 tubes. Each of its five inputs has both high-quality single-ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs, selectable via a slider switch. Power-supply rectification is dual-mono and solid-state, while each channel has its own fully regulated high-voltage and heater circuits. The Primo lacked the transparency and precisely defined images of the darTZeel NHB-18NS, but had a harmonically rich overall sound with lightning-fast transients, generous sustain, expansive soundstaging, and impressive bottom-end control and extension. "A pleasure to live with, look at, and use," concluded MF, though he felt the Primo lacked the transparency and more appropriately compact, solid, and densely populated soundstage of Einstein Audio's The Tube Mk.II. Should be used with a power amplifier having an input impedance of at least 20k ohms, advised JA. (Vol.33 Nos.5 & 10 Read Review Online)
Nagra Jazz: $12,250
See BJR's review in the April 2013 issue (Vol.36 No.4 Read Review Online).
Parasound Halo JC 2: $4000 $$$ ✩
Styled to match the JC 1 power amplifier and finished in the same brushed, natural aluminum, the JC 2 exhibits a high standard of construction. Each channel of the fully balanced JC 2 is on a separate PCB, with the audio and control power supplies on separate circuits, isolated from each other by 3/8"-thick aluminum partitions. ST was impressed by the JC 2's noiseless operation and excellent reproduction of space, which allowed music "to emerge intact—with body, bloom, and dynamics, with definition and detail—from an utterly silent background." JA agreed, but decided the JC 2 sounded best with warmer-sounding amplifiers and speakers, when it excelled in the areas of images and dynamics. "Perhaps the finest solid-state line stage I have heard," sums up ST. "This is what a great line stage does: lets all the other components perform at their best. The Halo JC 2 matched the Ayre KX-R in terms of openness and sparkle, but sounded leaner and could not reach the Ayre's level of deep musicality, said WP. Compared to the Simaudio Moon Evolution P-7, the JC 2 sacrificed body for leading-edge definition, felt JA. One of Stereophile's "Joint Amplification Components" for 2008. Configured for home-theater bypass, the BP version of Parasound's excellent JC 2 preamplifier has a revised circuit board and front-panel control board that make possible the hybridization of a traditional analog two-channel system with a modern digital multichannel system. The Halo JC 2 BP looks almost identical to the Halo JC 2, with only the Bypass LED on the front panel and the letters "BP" added to the labeling front and rear. It offers both balanced RCA and unbalanced XLR inputs and outputs. KR heard no difference between a direct connection from pre-pro to power amp and a connection via the JC 2 BP's bypass function. Owners of existing JC 2s can have their units upgraded to BP status for $500. (Vol.30 No.12, Vol.31 Nos.3 & 11, Vol.32 No.3, Vol.34 No.6 Read Review Online; "BP version Vol.34 No.3 Read Review Online)
Pass Labs XP-30: $16,500
See JA's review the April 2013 issue (Vol.36 No.4 Read Review Online .
Placette Audio Active Line Stage: $6995 ✩
The Active Linestage is intended to combine the transparency of Placette's purist Remote Volume Control with a usable level of functionality, providing five sets of unbalanced inputs, two sets of outputs, and a tape loop. Its absolute clarity, focus, solidity, and transparency were unrivaled in BD's experience. "Highly recommended." Sold direct, with a lifetime warranty and 30-day refund policy. (Vol.30 No.11 Read Review Online)
Shindo Vosne-Romanee: $19,900
The gorgeous Vosne-Romanee is packed with rare and vintage parts, including a pair of unidentified, hand-wound, 70-year-old output transformers; custom-wound Lundahl moving-coil step-up transformers; Telefunken EF800, Siemens C3m, General Electric 6072, and Philips 6189 and 6X4 vacuum tubes; and Sprague Black Cat and Vitamin Q capacitors. Compared to Shindo's Masseto, the V-R was more detailed and had a darker tonal balance, with deeper textures and richer colors, said AD. "The Shindo Vosne-Romanee is simply the most musically insightful, emotionally captivating, intoxicatingly beautiful, and thoroughly pleasant-to-use preamplifier I've had in my home," he concluded. Reconfiguring the V-R for true dual-mono operation resulted in "an entirely new level of playback quality." (Vol.33 Nos.10 & 11 Read Review Online)
Shindo Masseto: $13,500 ✩
Like the less-expensive Aurieges, the Masseto is a full-function preamplifier, but adds a selectable choice between moving-magnet and moving-coil phono inputs. The dual-mono power supply is based on a pair of Philips 6X4WA rectifier tubes, the phono stage uses one Philips 6189W and one Philips 12AT7 per channel, and its line stage uses a single LCP86 triode/pentode per channel. With a 'stunningly low noise floor," the Masseto consistently conveyed music in a way that allowed Art to become fully immersed in the performance. "Time after time," he said, "I found myself responding to my hi-fi the way I respond to real music." The Masseto's stock input MC transformer was "quiet in every way," and worked especially well with Art's Miyabi cartridge, providing "loads of texture, and enough drama to keep me happy indefinitely," he said. (Vol.30 Nos.7 & 10 Read Review Online)
Ypsilon PST-100 MK2: $37,000
Made in Greece, the PST-100 is a handsome tubed preamplifier housed in a thick, satin-finished aluminum chassis. It features transformer-based attenuation, 6CA4 tube rectification, choke supply filtering, a switchable passive mode, and a zero-feedback active stage based on a carefully selected Siemens C3m pentode tube. Though differences between the PST-100's active and passive stages were small, MF preferred the passive stage for its purer, more transparent sound. Compared to the darTZeel NHB-18NS, the Ypsilon produced more vivid tonal colors and greater physicality. "For now," MF concluded, "the Ypsilon PST-100 is the most transparent and, therefore, the most perfect audio component I have ever heard—or not heard." Though XLR input and output jacks are provided, the circuitry is unbalanced only. Without a line stage, the completely passive PST-100 TA costs $26,000. (Vol.34 No.7 Read Review Online)

Class B

Amtrans Passive Controller APCG-01S: $2960
Housed in a small (6.6" W by 3.5" H by 5.9" D) sheet-metal chassis, the Amtrans APCG-01S passive controller uses a Lundahl transformer to provide 6dB of voltage gain. It has an input selector, volume control, Stereo/Mono switch, and four sets of line-level RCA inputs. Though it lacked the tonal color of Conrad-Johnson's ET3 SE line stage and couldn’t match the transparency of George Hi-Fi's Lightspeed Attenuator, the Amtrans produced a big, dynamic sound with a wide soundstage and "deep, tight, beautifully articulated bass," said ST. "There's nothing "passive" about the Amtrans sound," he quipped. (Vol.34 No.11)
AudioValve Eclipse: $5699 ✩
The Eclipse's clear acrylic top plate is machined to include two rounded ventilation slots for its four Electro-Harmonix 12AU7A tubes. Its neutral tonal balance, clear and forward sound, and wide dynamic range created a musical presentation that matched drama with good senses of size and scale. It lacked, however, the Shindo Masseto's ability to closely follow melodic lines. "A lovely product, and a decent value for the money," concluded AD. BJR agrees, describing the Eclipse as a "liquid, dynamic, and colorless tube preamplifier whose strengths are many and flaws nonexistent . . . While more money can buy a deeper soundstage, greater resolution of detail, and more ambience, the Eclipse offered a neutral, coherent sound with "kick-ass, slammin’, solid-state-like bass," said BJR, who feels the preamp deserves a Class A rating. "I don’t understand why every tube-loving audiophile doesn’t own one." Though cut from the same sonic cloth as the AudioValve Conductor, the Eclipse couldn’t match the more expensive model's outstanding dynamic range, expansive soundstage, or overall effortless reproduction of music. Compared to the NAT Symmetrical, the Eclipse had a more forward sound, with less clearly defined images and truncated dynamic expression, said BJR. Though he was unimpressed by this preamp's implementation of different input sensitivities, JA decided the Eclipse measured "well for a tube design." For best results, the Eclipse should be used with a power amp having an input impedance of at least 30k ohms, he cautioned. (Vol.30 No.8, Vol.31 No.6, Vol.32 No.7, Vol.33 No.8 Read Review Online)
Lightspeed Attenuator: $490 (Australian) $$$
Plain but superbly finished, the Lightspeed Attenuator from Australia is an optically operated passive preamp with one set each of RCA inputs and outputs. A wall-wart power supply or lithium-ion battery supply must be purchased separately. With the Lightspeed Attenuator in his system, ST heard greater transparency, openness, and transient articulation. "Puts your old active preamplifiers" feet to the fire," he snorts. "Can work if your interconnects are short, your power amp has enough gain, and your speakers are sufficiently sensitive. Worth having on hand!" Price includes international registered post. $35 Australian extra for dual L/R volume controls. (Vol.33 No.2)
Parasound Halo P 7: $2000
Full-featured analog stereo preamp with six stereo inputs, balanced and unbalanced outputs, front-panel headphone and MP3 jacks, and an MM/MC phono preamp—See "Multichannel Components." Delightful sound but "falls asymptotically short of the delicacy of the Nagra and Simaudio preamps I have used," says KR. (Vol.32 No.1 Read Review Online)
PrimaLuna DiaLogue Three: $2699
PrimaLuna's new top-of-the-line preamplifier weighs 53 lbs, has point-to-point wiring and dual-mono construction, uses two rectifier and four dual-triode tubes, and is housed in an attractive steel chassis painted with five coats of hand-rubbed blue-gray lacquer. Its clean rear panel provides five line-level inputs, two system outputs, one tape-monitor output, and pass-through jacks. Though it lacked the Shindo Vosne-Romanee's physicality and touch, the DiaLogue Three offered timbral clarity, richness, and an excellent sense of scale. "For the person with a taste for tubed electronics, the PrimaLuna DiaLogue Three is a shoo-in, a must-hear, and a potential hand-me-down," AD concluded. Taking into consideration its low-feedback tubed circuitry, JA gave the DiaLogue Three a clean bill of health. (Vol.34 No.8 Read Review Online)

Editor’s Note: There are currently no Class C or D preamplifiers listed.

Class K

TAD V-C600, NHT PVC, Simaudio Moon 850P.

Class Deletions

Wadax PRE1 replaced by new version not yet auditioned; Conrad-Johnson Classic, Tempo Electric Arthur Loesch Preamplifier, McIntosh C220, Simaudio Moon Evolution P-8 not auditioned in a long time.

guitarist9273's picture

The Beats Solo HD is now a Stereophile reccomended component... That sounds like a (funny) joke. They're certainly attractive looking & very stylish, but they sound very...well, bad. They're Class D...but I'm genuinely curious as to why they'd be included at all.

There are a lot of decent choices when it comes to headphones in the portable/sealed-on-ear-headphones-under-$300 category, now, that it's hard to see the B&W P3 and the Beats Solo HD making it onto the list. (Anyone interested in heaphones should check out Stereophile' sister online publication on personal-audio/headphones---InnerFidelity.)

Thanks for this awesome compilation, by the way! I sincerely enjoyed reading through such a wide sampling of great loudspeakers, amps & such. The balanced objectivity is always refreshing, considering other publication's purely subjective approach.

RobertSlavin's picture

Being able to see the photos of the components next to their descriptions, as found in this online version of recommended components, is nice.

However, Stereophile used to charge for this section online. Why is it giving it away for free now?

There's not a tremendous amount of money in magazine publishing. I'd prefer that the magazine make a reasonable amount of money from this section.

John Atkinson's picture

RobertSlavin wrote:
Stereophile used to charge for this section online. Why is it giving it away for free now?

Unless I am having a senior moment, we never used to charge for on-line access to Recommended Components. In fact, we have only been making it available in its entirety on-line since 2012, which is when we launched our free iPad app.

And regarding charging for it, my bottom-line policy is that the magazine's content should be available free on-line.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

Poor Audiophile's picture

Thanks for that JA!

EU-USA Stereophile Fan's picture

Maybe some other EU makers could have been included such as Phonar (Germany) or PMC (UK)

John Atkinson's picture

Maybe some other EU makers could have been included such as Phonar (Germany) or PMC (UK)

"Recommended Components" exclusively concerns products that have been reviewed in the magazine. In turn, to be reviewed in Stereophile, a product needs to be available in the US; see  www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/307awsi/index.html.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Glotz's picture

WOW, I love it!  

I think I have memorized the entire RC over the years, and seeing each component again (some for the first time) is wonderful!  

I wonder who went through the trouble of procuring all of those photos for RC online.  

I won't even pretend there will be photos (for the next RC) in the magazine.  I imagine it would be 500 pages long... 

Ariel Bitran's picture

photos were gathered by myself and reformatted by Jon Iverson.

Downforce's picture

Has the excellent Emotiva ERC-2 been discontinued?  And for JA, the link you posted isn't working.  Thanks for the lists.

John Atkinson's picture

Downforce wrote:
Has the excellent Emotiva ERC-2 been discontinued?

Not according to Emotiva. It's there in Class C of Disc Players.

Downforce wrote:
And for JA, the link you posted isn't working.

Fixed. Thanks.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

stereomag's picture

Wow! Here they (Stereophile) go again. Still no review of any Accuphase preamps. Why is that, Stereophile?

weitn's picture

M30.1 got impressive reviews from Stereophile and Absolute Sound and recommended by both. I have auditioned it and ordered a pair the other day. Out of curiosity, what happened to the M40.1? It was listed in the 2012 recommended list.

destroysall76's picture

Great recommendations, but I'm curious in the LS50 from KEF. Is it really that much better of a speaker to be a part of the Class A (Restricted LF) over the Harbeth P3ESR and the Proac Tablette?

Also, is the Rega RP1 the better table buy this year over the Project Debut Carbon?

mkrzych's picture

I've read here that Dali Zensor 1 are in class C (Exteme Restricted LF), so according to your judge those are considered not entry level speakers, am I right?
If so, do you have any suggestions for the speaker cable matching or positioning for these little babies to sound the best? Currently I have Marantz CD5004/PM6004 connected to them over the QED Strand 79 speaker cable. They are on Soundstage Z22 stands.
Is it anything I can do to improve this gear in your opinion?

Thanks for any suggestions.

MykhailoM's picture

Good audio cables are surely essential part to any serous audiophile as they deliver a very sensitive signal between your audio gear as it has been said in this page. I have listened to quite a few well known brands such as Russ Andrews cables QED Signature etc. and more often than not the price reflects its qualities. As anything else in audio gear, cables need auditioning on your system. If possible grub 4 or 5 pares from your local dealer in a price range £300 to £600 from different brands and at your own comfort have them checked, I'm pretty sure you will get different results and the better components you have the more evident it will be. In my auditioning experience I prefer small exotic brands, to me they deliver a very good sonic result. I can change components etc. but cable will stay as they are so revealing. Keep your options open and DO audition on your system or at your local Hi-Fi dealer.

MykhailoM's picture

Everything must be auditioned either interconnects cables or audio components, your ears will be your best judge.