Electrocompaniet AW 800 M stereo/monoblock power amplifier

The finest soup I ever tasted was served in Kamakura City, Japan, in 1992. After climbing a mountain to a shrine that held a lock of Buddha's hair, I descended to Kamakura and walked to its Great Bronze Buddha. By the time I had taken my fill of the image's 730-year-old wonders and the countless picture-taking tourists at its base—a mild precursor to "the world is a backdrop for my ego" snappers of the smartphone age—I noticed that my stomach was growling.

Exhausted, I walked back into town and descended stairs into a conveniently located corner restaurant. I had to eat fast because my train back was departing soon. Looking for something quick, I ordered miso soup and eel over rice. Imagine my surprise when I found myself gazing into the most wondrous bowl of soup I'd ever seen. Floating on top of its clear, brown broth were various vegetables and herbs, each perfectly positioned in relationship to the other, as in a handcrafted textile. I felt as though I'd been granted private access to a great work of art.

And the taste. Oh, the taste. It was as perfectly proportioned, complex, and multilayered as the soup's surface. If I had not been forced to eat fast in order to make the train—trains in Japan are never late—I would have spent 15 or 20 minutes eating slowly, savoring each mouthful and contemplating the myriad tastes and sensations.

What does all this have to do with the Electrocompaniet AW 800 M Reference power amplifier ($22,500/each) that is the subject of this review? You'll have to read on to find out.

Before the soup, there was Electrocompaniet
Fifty years ago—eight years before Krell issued its first solid state amplifier—Nils Bjarne Kvam founded Electrocompaniet in Norway. After attending a symposium at which a famed professor, Dr. Matti Otala, presented a paper on how to avoid the transient intermodulation distortion that prevented transistor-based amplifiers from delivering credible high-fidelity sound, Kvam returned to Norway, joined up with PA systems manufacturer Per Abrahamsen, and proceeded to build some amplifier prototypes. Three years later, in 1976, Electrocompaniet released its first power amplifier, a two-channel, 25Wpc model. The Audio Critic soon hailed it as the best-sounding transistor amplifier in the world.

In its 50th anniversary year, Electrocompaniet now consists of six employees who focus mainly on sales and development. Manufacturing takes place next door in a huge electronics production facility run by Electrocompaniet's sister company, Westcontrol, which manufactures audio products for only one company, Electrocompaniet.

"We had good distribution in the US back in the day," Lasse Danielsen, Electrocompaniet's sales and marketing director, told me near the start of a chat during AXPONA 2023. When I sat down with Danielsen, Electrocompaniet CEO Björn Kindingstad, and Antal Distribution National Sales Manager Frank Gazzo, I had not yet heard the Electrocompaniet AW 800 M Reference monoblocks. "Then, when things weren't going great, we started to manage our own distribution for a while. That didn't turn out very well either, so we've teamed up with Antal to reinvigorate distribution in the United States." At the time of our discussion, Electrocompaniet had 12 US dealers. Two months later, the number had grown to 15. Fifteen dealers for 15 Electrocompaniet models.

As I started learning then and continued to learn from a series of follow-up emails, the design of the Electrocompaniet AW 800 M Reference is new "from the ground up." The amplifier first reached the market in January 2023, after three years of development. Danielsen described it as a fully discrete, true-balanced, class-AB design with approximately 10W in pure class-A. All the amp's pre-stages—everything before the output stage—runs in pure class-A. Output is a sizable 800W into 8 ohms, 1500W into 4 ohms, and a mighty 2200W into 2 ohms.

"Every parameter inside the amp is way ahead of anything we've ever produced before," Danielsen said. "It's a dual-monoblock configuration with two amplifiers inside that are bridged. There's a switch on the back to use it as two individual amplifiers in stereo mode, or with another in biamping mode. With everything redesigned, based on the same topology we've used before, it contains better components, a better transformer, and better mechanical and electrical isolation. The noisefloor is extremely low; it's the blackest-sounding amplifier we've ever made. It's pitch black when you listen to the quiet parts of the music.

"The amp includes an RF filter intended to remove common mode and differential high-frequency noise from the line. The transformers include an electrostatic shield that blocks noise from coupling as it moves between the primary and secondary wirings. An internal DC filter reduces asymmetric main AC voltage and prevents DC voltage from saturating the transformers and causing mechanical noise." For these reasons, Danielsen said, Electrocompaniet had achieved the best results with the amplifier plugged directly into the wall rather than into a power conditioner. I decided to follow their lead.

Danielsen sent information from Electrocompaniet's engineer and augmented it by email over time. In edited form, it reads: "The AW 800 M utilizes Electrocompaniet's direct-coupled high open-loop bandwidth topology, further enhanced by a high slew-rate and very high-bandwidth amplifier stages. Our topology has always been called 'Ampliwire,' aka 'AW.' In this new amplifier, AW technology is further enhanced to a level we call 'Ampliwire 2.' The idea behind the term is that the amplifier 'amplifies the wire' from the source without altering or coloring its sound in any way. So the sound remains as close to the original as possible.

"In addition, a brand-new output stage with 32 high-bandwidth, high-current bipolar output transistors heavily shields the input and driver stages from the load and makes the output extremely stiff, unaffected by the connected load. This has the added benefit of significantly simplifying the workload of the feedback system, which is already working gently, thereby providing vanishingly low distortion figures.

"To feed the output stage, the greatly updated power supply now has a total of 210,000µF supply filtering. The mains power input is DC- and RF-filtered. The upgraded twin toroidal, wire gauge transformers are magnetically and electrostatically shielded to prevent any noise intrusion. The internal ground reference has been vastly enlarged and kept fully free of rectifying and output currents. The result is a very clean, noise-free output signal regardless of output power, providing a very stable soundstage with the blackest background possible at any sound level.

"The AW 800 M also features design upgrades including a new front plate design with a 3D logo and a new power button design. The chassis has been re-engineered from the ground up. Its new modular design construction has been enhanced by two black, brushed-aluminum rods over the top that make the chassis much more rigid and contribute to its aesthetic appeal."

The Electrocompaniet signature sound
Kindingstad said that the new design wasn't motivated by unhappiness with the performance of previous amplifiers; "We just knew we could do it better." The portal to "better" was opened by the arrival of a new engineer who had fallen in love with Electrocompaniet's sound and had studied its engineering since he was a young kid.

"Soundwise, we think there's a warmth to our sound," Kindingstad continued. "That doesn't mean that it's wrong or colored in any way. Just like one singer has one voice and the other singer has a different voice, different amplifiers have different voices. That doesn't mean that one is out of tune; they just sound different.

"We want people to focus on and enjoy music. We think you can listen to the warm, natural, and organic sound of our amplifiers for a long time without ever getting fatigued. You won't get tired, especially when it gets loud. And there's no noisefloor that you can hear." As I wondered what words I might eventually use to describe the sound of an amplifier I would encounter for the first time later that day at AXPONA, Kindingstad characterized the sonic signature of Electrocompaniet components as "the Nordic Tone" or "Nordic Sound." "Our sound is a little bit soft, but it is also crisp, very nice, and very detailed. I think of it as something organic and light—like going into the woods and listening to a creek." I've spent time along the Olympic Peninsula's Quilcene River, listening intently to the sound of the water with a dB meter in my hand. I was intrigued.

"It's like a nature sound," Danielsen offered. "One of the most famous Norwegian landmarks is a few miles from our office. It's a very wild landscape over a fjord, and you can see the sunset over the fjord and the big mountains beyond. It's quite soft, but it's also a little deep as you experience the depth of the fjords and the height of the mountains. And, as much as we love the light, smooth aspects of nature, we also embrace the ruggedness of the rough mountain terrain and the dramatic nature of our part of the world. We try to re-create this entire atmosphere."

Classical music lovers may not be surprised to learn that when asked if there was music that exemplifies the Nordic Tone, Danielsen cited "Morning Mood" from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt. "It starts with the sun rising," he said. "There's a bit of dew on the grass, and you can hear the small birds and insects waking up. Then you have this glorious music when the sun breaks out in full. You should listen to it, because it captures that very nice, smooth Norwegian atmosphere with the darkness of the trolls in the ground and the glories of the sun coming up."

As I thought to myself how different the sunrise in Richard Strauss's Alpine Symphony is compared to Grieg's depiction, I asked if Danielsen had favorite recordings of Peer Gynt. I received several recommendations by email and resolved to listen to at least one of them.

Electrocompaniet AS
Teknologiveien 2
4120 Tau
47 51 74 10 33

Auditor's picture

This is totally unrelated to audio...

I love the phrase "the world is a backdrop for my ego".

I don't know if Jason came up with this, but it's brilliant.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Jim Austin occasionally adds some pithy phrases to my reviews, but that one is all mine.


Ortofan's picture

... a blind, level-matched protocol for their amplifier comparisons and, thus, came to the conclusion that one of the higher-end Yamaha integrated amps could provide as much amplifier performance as anyone needed. If you wanted an even higher level of construction, then there was Accuphase.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

all amplifiers sound alike? Glad to hear that Julian Hirsch is alive and well, even though he was dead wrong.

My review of the Accuphase monoblocks is coming soon.

John Atkinson's picture
Jason Victor Serinus wrote:
Glad to hear that Julian Hirsch is alive and well, even though he was dead wrong.

The poster was actually referring to Peter Aczel, though he, like Julian Hirsch, is no longer with us.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

teched58's picture

..that John Atkinson is this era's answer to Julian Hirsch. JA1 has proudly carried forward the tradition of measurement, which Hirsch pioneered in the 1960s and '70s.

Of course, I mean the comparison as a compliment to JA1 and his assiduous work over the years.

As for JVS's uninformed (the most polite way I could put it) and gratuitous slam of Hirsch, all I can say is that I am embarrassed for you. It is not even factually correct.

JohnnyThunder2.0's picture

Mr. Hirsch reviewed everything solely based on measurements and everything sounded alike to him. Occasionally he described the build quality nicely. I'm not sure I ever read a bad review of any component he was ever assigned to evaluate. His legacy is of being a tester. His skills as a writer - especially when compared to masters of the language suchg as JVS, Herb, JA 1 and 2, Alex, "Sam T", - the less said the better.

beave's picture

Have you ever read a bad review here? Stereophile says they review products they like. Maybe it was the same for Mr. Hirsch?

JohnnyThunder2.0's picture

First off, Stereophile and other magazines are not Consumer Reports. Most if not all magazines, do not give bad reviews to products/places etc. They are not news organizations doing investigative reports. This holds true for Motor Trend, Wine Spectator, Conde Nast Traveler etc. They may like some products more than others but Stereophile will probably choose to NOT review something rather than alienate an advertiser. Not sure if you know this, but print journalism is fragile business these days. PS - And I think the reviewers like some products more than others - they just say it politely - and JA 1 HAS pointed out flaws in measurements etc. He will not say this product is a piece of shit but he has said there are flaws etc. and raise an eyebrow about the engineerings etc. Mr. Hirsch on the other hand, did not go into great detail about "the sound" of equipment. He wrote about features, new technology, the size and shape and he was obsessed like the rest of the audio industry w THD as the yardstick for everything.

teched58's picture

I would trade a little less purple prose from JVS for a scintilla of understanding of electronics.

I often wonder if JVS could tell you what Ohm's law is. He certainly can't explain Nyquist to you. He seems to think it's optional.

JohnnyThunder2.0's picture

I don't know what Ohm's Law and I don't effing care. I know some basics. I know what certain topologies mean. I listen to music for how it makes me feel. I listen to equipment that I think sounds good. JA is the Ohm's law expert. He knows measurements and the tech. Do you think most film critics went to film school? Do all food critics have degrees from the Culinary Institute? Do automobile reviewers have degrees in mechanical engineering or automotive design? All probably not. THEY ARE. WRITERS FOR ENTERTAINMENT CONSUMER MAGAZINES. THEY WRITE. THEY DON"T WRITE WHITE PAPERS. Jeez some of you really just don't get it and are so naive and uninformed about the role of magazines.

teched58's picture

Johnny, I always liked your guitar playing.

You claim you know basics, but if you don't know Ohm's law, you don't know basics.

How was New Orleans?

Glotz's picture

Julian Hirsch was utterly bereft of any insight or conviction. I read Stereo Review for years on the news stand (without purchasing but my first
copy) and other than specs about mainstream receivers, there was nothing of any value for prospective consumers to compare, contrast or draw conclusions from. Utterly worthless and an insult to the paper it was printed on.

Folks that crap on Stereophile for being 'marketing' for their largely positive reviews are lost in an era where truly crap components made their way at the marketplace in the 1980's. To equate Stereophile and Stereo Review as being similar should get you banned from this (and all) audio websites.

I find it catastrophically offensive that someone one would state those two magazines are similar and yet question the judgment of Johnny for knowing the difference and then claiming he doesn't know anything because he doesn't know or value Ohm's law. Heelarryous.

(Julian also 'reviewed' Ohm speakers positively and they were absolute garbage musically.)

JohnnyThunder2.0's picture

I don't need to know anything about Ohm's Law to get the magic of Haydn string quartets or Johnny Thunder's guitar playing on Personality Crisis. I don't need to be a metallurgist to know that my All Clad frying pan outperforms the $10 one I bought as a college student either. Many of you equate science and engineering knowledge with musical performance and enjoyment. It's a little art, science and magic and you can't quantify it. That piece of equipment that doesn't measure well and costs a lot can't possibly be better than the one that costs less and measures "perfectly." Ha.

Glotz's picture

I would party with you any time.. even if it meant crossdressing to New York Dolls and destroying archaic thought!

You fucking RULE Johnny.

teched58's picture

I'm glad you gentlemen have a publication that caters to your audiophile heuristic -- if it's extremely expensive and measures poorly, it must be the best.

This is what keeps our beloved Stereophile (as well as the far less interesting TAS) in business.

Glotz's picture

Clearly you are insincere.

And no, drawing asinine conclusions is not art nor science. You would actually need to listen to equipment over time to determine its greatness. Listening critically is the key and takes time and experience- And occasionally going to audio shows to compare and contrast with one's own biases and past experiences

What you are essentially saying is you just like trolling this magazine's website to convince subscribers that this magazine isn't worth our time. And the measurements and their limited scope is somehow tantamount to all else.

That is the definition of stupid.

teched58's picture

I am absolutely not being insincere.

Stereophile, though no longer in its salad days, is still the most important publication in the audiophile ecosystem. Even with the emergence of sites like ASR.

And without people like you and the late Mr. Thunders, who sincerely believe the ascientific cant you spout reflexively like a mantra each time a trained engineer comes atcha, Stereophile would disappear.

That said, two things can be true at the same time. A) I believe Stereophile is important and B) I also think, well, you know what I think of JVS and his ilk as well as your nonsense.

I would hope that we all kinda grok that when all of us older guys exit the soundstage, the kind of robust, cranky debating and infighting with which many have been consumed for lo these many years will be no more.

P.S. As far as "the definition of stupid," you appear to be more familiar with that than I.

Glotz's picture

Appear? You couldn't discern bullshit from truth, engineering or subjective listening. You project a ton in trying to foist your own value here. Keep hiding behind whatever supposed superior knowledge you have.

You have none with statements like "expensive and measures poorly.. must be good." What are you bringing forward with statement like that? Zero substance, just the same trite accusations ad nauseum.

I do not need any of your 'observations'. You're a troll, pure and simple, with zero value to audiophiles.

JohnnyThunder2.0's picture

What primordial semi-scientific ooze are they emerging from? It's a bunch of people like you - bitter know-it-alls, relentlessly negative troll types that have to be the audio Taliban and stand up for the audio consumer and protect us from expensive equipment that measures poorly (that reminds me, where is Ortofan and why hasn't he recommended a Parasound or Marantz amp to compare w the amp JVS wrote about)? You both know better than me - me the one w the 4K tube amp that has loads of lovely 2nd harmonic distortion (by the way, there are many many revered audio engineers that designed amps w a shit ton of euphonic warmth as a foundational part of the circuit and sorry if you don't like it. Mr G said it best - why do you read Stereophile then ? To chuckle at all the suckers ?
Do you make fun of people that read Architectural Digest but live in a modest condo ? Magazine content like Stereophile is aspirational. People do not want to read magazines with average shit photographed and written about.

Archimago's picture

I think those (including myself) who place importance in measurements are aiming for "high-fidelity", not "euphonia".

Whether the album sounds good or not is a reflection of the quality of the musician and recording itself... The job of the hardware is just to get out of the way, a characteristic we can measure based on engineering principles, the goal is not inherently to "sound good" which is a subjective judgment that we're all free to hold (2nd harmonics can certainly be pleasant for some).

Audiophiles from both schools of thought can enjoy music.

I think those who are aiming for objectively high-fidelity reproduction also tend to be more sensitive to the price as a reflection of value using the objective measuring stick of low-distortion-low-noise/$100 or something like that. That's not an unfair measuring stick if that's what we want, and consistent with the overall philosophy. As a mature technology, many high-fidelity devices don't have to cost a lot of money for good engineering. For example, excellent DACs can be had for a few hundred bucks so when a $10,000 DAC comes along, it makes sense for "us" to make some comparisons and judge whether things like noise floor and distortion levels are commensurate with the price.

I don't think many objective-leaning audiophiles are jealous of the luxury priced products. It's just that much of what is being sold simply isn't "aspirational" within this view of the hi-fi hobby if the objective results don't reasonably correlate with the price structure.

Yes, perhaps Stereophile and the subjective reviews are not suited for this form of audiophile. Maybe the "high end" with its values and heroes isn't something certain audiophiles will appreciate. Although it's still nice to see the measurements and appreciate (or not) the current newest products. Plus it's nice to read about music recommendations.

JohnnyThunder2.0's picture

the trolling types aren't. Their specific intent is to sh-t on anything else and to be negative contrarians. The audio Taliban again. I don't troll a good review of a lower priced well reviewed component and make fun of it and then respond here and say "but for $5k MORE you can get this AVM amp." or god forbid suggest an amp made in Asia (except for the amps that THEY endorse.). I shouldn't let it get to me but I'm not alone in the dread of reading the comments of these negative noodnicks with low budgets but big egos and opinions. I'm also not advocating that a good system has to cost 6 figures either. My system is quite modest with no component costing over 5k.

Laphr's picture

I think those (including myself) who place importance in measurements are aiming for "high-fidelity", not "euphonia".

High fidelity is not actually well-connected with a few measurements. That's an assumption. And euphonia is a negative projection against the listeners who obviously hear beyond them.


Whether the album sounds good or not is a reflection of the quality of the musician and recording itself...

Incorrect. Great audio identifies itself by how it recaptures everything, warts and all. Once you hear it you get it.


The job of the hardware is just to get out of the way, a characteristic we can measure based on engineering principles

Also incorrect because again there are no measurements for that sound. 'Getting out of the way' is an empty ideal when there's no way to establish it. Especially when it's assumed to be the product of measurements.


...the goal is not inherently to "sound good" which is a subjective judgment that we're all free to hold (2nd harmonics can certainly be pleasant for some).

That's just phoning in your projection, and the 'subjective' part is a tell for your bias. Look what comes next.


I think those who are aiming for objectively high-fidelity reproduction

There it is. The 'objectively' better sound is assumed to exist while the subjective sound is projected to be inferior, all based on assumptions about measurements.


Yes, perhaps Stereophile and the subjective reviews are not suited for this form of audiophile.

That's probably true, just not the objective part. Too many unfounded assumptions.

Ortofan's picture

... best-selling brands of power amplifiers at the major on-line dealers?

One of them is not Electrocompaniet. Rather, it's brands such as Parasound, Marantz, NAD and Rotel.

Perhaps "people" do not want to read magazines with average products photographed and written about, but those average products are what they are buying.

JohnnyThunder2.0's picture

Britney Spears sold more records than Leonard Bernstein but that doesn't mean the NY TIMES is going to write about her. Crosley sells more turntables than Linn. Should we write about them ? This is not an argument about quantity and what sells the best. It's not even an argument about quality because there is absolutely nothing to disparage about Parasound or Marantz. But that doesn't mean it is sexy to write about or in magazine parlance - a story worth writing about. All you are proving is that amps in the $500-$2500 range sell more than pricier models. Duh. Motor Trend writes about the Ford 150 (the same way that Stereophile reviews lots of Parasound) but they also write about the latest Porsche and Mercedes and Lambo...So go publish your own magazine where they only review stuff that sells well to the masses. See how it does. See how long it lasts. See how little advertising you get. See how f-ing boring it is to read about. If your point is to advocate how good a value Parasound is, just say it without pointing out that to spend more for something else is misguided. I could have purchased the Parasound JC3+ phono stage - there were aspects of that stage that really appealed to me but it simply doesn't fit in the space I have and there I own a small UK stage like an EAR 834p. People need choices for their personal preferences that go beyond simply god damn measurements.

Glotz's picture

Whatever the designer has decided for euphonic or accurate is that designers conscious decision, not a failing of accuracy-minded value parameters.

Laphr's picture

"if it's extremely expensive and measures poorly, it must be the best."

Is that really what you meant to write?

"This is what keeps our beloved Stereophile (as well as the far less interesting TAS) in business."

Because it's a conspiracy too?

Laphr's picture

Despite his endless misspelling of Cynic, I enjoyed Aczel. Once he discovered the market for obstreperous people who couldn't appreciate the music made by what they could not afford, he formed something of a balance. At least in his mind. And unlike today's version of the same journalistic affectation, he could write.

I can't think of a illustrative corollary but then I haven't spent a lot of time on it either.

Ortofan's picture

... if an amplifier has flat frequency response, vanishingly small static and dynamic linearity errors, high enough input impedance and low enough output impedance, noise level below audibility, and high enough channel separation, then it will not have a detectable sound quality. This assertion, they claimed, was confirmed by their ABX listening tests.

If one needed more power (100W @ 8 ohms/200W @ 4 ohms) than the Yamaha integrated amp could supply, then they recommended power amps from Boulder, Bryston or Rotel.

Their impression was that the Boulder was overbuilt (and priced accordingly), while the (non-Michi) Rotel was quite acceptable, and the Bryston was worth the added cost (over the Rotel) given its 20-year warranty.

Their technical editor was a degreed EE with a Ph.D., who provided an analysis of the circuit design for the amplifiers under review.

beave's picture

...vanishingly small NON-linearities, not vanishingly small linearities.

Ortofan's picture

... either non-linearities or linearity errors.

Laphr's picture

Seems they made a categorical statement that would speak for all listeners. Did they speak for all samples and phenomena too?

Archimago's picture

And this too can be measured.

The question is how different the amps are from each other and whether the speaker match results in audible changes like frequency response.

But yeah. Within reasonable technical parameters, most good quality amps I think will sound very similar if we were to A/B compare; more so than some might want to admit especially with huge price differences! ;-)

Laphr's picture

The effort that goes into measurement crystal ball gazing while denying expert reports of what it actually sounds like must be exhausting.

beave's picture

Technical knowledge? Listening experience? Have they passed some test and received a certificate? Have they even had their hearing checked? Do they bother to account for the inevitable unconscious biases that can affect listening perceptions?

Let me rephrase it thusly: Which would better inform me what a product sounds like? A suite of measurements, or the musings of an "expert" listener who listens to a piece of gear in a different room than mine, with a different set of ears than mine, with a different brain than mine, with different connecting gear than mine, and with different music preferences than mine?

Laphr's picture

You roll up on the fine downtown restaurant and bellow at the chef, demanding that he's a commercial fraud but he also has to hand you a chemical analysis of a dish you can't afford to order and will never appreciate. You're probably tons of fun around anybody who enjoys normal human experiences. Sommeliers must love you. Enthusiasts of all kinds adore you.

You just actually projected that better sound is on tap for people who can interpret it from tables and images but can't hear it in person.

And that hearing test part is just delicious, because nobody can appreciate the sound of music without perfect ears. Beethoven composed nothing but noise.

I don't think you're here for either sound or music. It's more obvious than that. You audio wedding crashers are widely know. JohnnyThunder already said it


What primordial semi-scientific ooze are they emerging from? It's a bunch of people like you - bitter know-it-alls, relentlessly negative troll types that have to be the audio Taliban and stand up for the audio consumer and protect us from expensive equipment that measures poorly

the trolling types aren't logical. Their specific intent is to sh-t on anything else and to be negative contrarians. The audio Taliban again.

I shouldn't let it get to me but I'm not alone in the dread of reading the comments of these negative noodnicks with low budgets but big egos and opinions.

Mr G said it best - why do you read Stereophile then ? To chuckle at all the suckers ?
Do you make fun of people that read Architectural Digest but live in a modest condo ?

So why are you here? We know you can't identify what you admit you can't hear. So you are here instead to elevate yourself by being obnoxious. Pointless and wrong came along for the free ride.

MatthewT's picture

Slow day measuring junk over at ASR?

Ortofan's picture

... be amazed by this quote from one of his reviews of a particular power amplifier:

"Its listening quality is superb, and not easily described in terms of laboratory measurements. Listening is the ultimate test and a required one for full appreciation of the [amplifier]."

georgehifi's picture

With this word Victor "unique", are you saying it's "colored", or do you think it's more "real" than say all the Class-D's you've been listen to? (forget about tubes they're all colored in some way)

Second thing JA about these "bridged" (stereo) monoblocks amps coming from "big BJT solid state" background where are the transformers?? the only place could be in the very shallow gap under the power supply caps, and that doesn't seem enough room for 2 x decent sized toroidal trannies + electrostatic shielding?.

BTW love the unmolested (with any filtering) near perfect 10khz square wave!
I would have loved to see the 2ohm wattage "bridged", probably wouldn't even get to the 8ohm wattage figure, unstable/blow/fuse.

Cheers George

Ortofan's picture

... between the front panel and the banks of filter capacitors.


While Hi-Fi News did not perform continuous power tests below 4 ohms, according to their dynamic/peak output tests at 2/1 ohm loads in stereo mode the AW800M was capable of 1352W/1854W.


Glotz's picture

Have you heard them recently? I mean, you haven't and "The world is just a backdrop for your ego.. " Just kidding, George.

georgehifi's picture

Ooooops! correct, I was looking at this, thinking just the front panel was missing. DUH!!! Thanks for that.

Cheers George

Mikke's picture

Although eloquently written this review is very difficult to fathom. Am I supposed to understand - behind the lyrical descriptions of miso soup - that this amplifier has terrific bass but embodies the music in a veil thus obstructing transparency?

georgehifi's picture

"lyrical descriptions"
Gotta read between the lines there Mikee

Well the Miso has seaweed, so it's gunna sound/smell a "bit fishy"?

Cheers George

Anton's picture

Basically, it’s two incomplete parts of the hobby thinking they each have it all figured out.

Tribal cults at either extremes.

Archimago's picture


David Harper's picture

Could anything be less important than the audiophile concerns being discussed on these pages? The sound quality of home audio amplifiers?
Really? Is no one here watching the news?

The above was an admittedly dumb post on my part. When I made it I had just finished watching a documentary about the war in Israel.

MatthewT's picture

What good comes from watching endless news about barbarians?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Decades ago I read the testimony of one German woman—someone who was anything but a Nazi sympathizer—who said that during the darkest hours of WWII, she kept her hope alive by listening to a specific Beethoven string quartet over and over. Music plays a vital part in our mental and spiritual health; it helps connect us with something far greater than ourselves.

Admittedly, one does not need a $50,000 set of monoblocks to feel the power of music. But for those of us who find affirmation and support in music, and to whom nuance and fine differences matter, sound quality is an important consideration. When a given piece of equipment brings me closer to the source of creation, I value it highly. In this respect, for many people other than myself, audiophile pursuits are more than a "hobby;' they are about connecting us with something far greater than ourselves.

hiendmmoe's picture

I agree with Mr. Serinus completely!