Sound-Lab A-1 electrostatic loudspeaker Review System

Sidebar 5: Review System

The Sound-Labs require a high-powered amplifier. Not to worry: the A-1s can soak up several hundred watts of music program without any concern for their physical safety. Because of the requirement for large voltage swings, a tube amplifier makes much more sense than a solid-state design's fairly low voltage rails. Despite JGH's current love affair with the Boulder 500, I would think that a 200Wpc tube amp would make a more optimal partner. I've experimented with a variety of amps over the past six months. The rising impedance characteristic of the A-1 in the bass makes a Futterman-type OTL a very attractive proposition. A circuit like Futterman's H-3a (or its derivative, New York Audio Laboratories' OTL-3) actually increases in output into a climbing load impedance. The Fourier Components Sans Pareil, a souped-up copy of the NYAL OTL-3 which I reviewed last June, could really satisfy the A-1's appetite. The imaging of this combination was simply astounding, to the point of actually redefining what the illusion of live music in the home is all about.—Dick Olsher

Sound-Lab Corporation
153 N 400 W Street
Gunnison, UT 84634
(453) 528-7218

remlab's picture

...issue I ever bought. I never forgot about the Mylar thickness issue. I remember saying to myself, "what if John hadn't tested the speaker?" There would have been a whole bunch of screwed up A-1's out there, probably to this day. That's what made me realize how important the testing of all equipment is. How often has equipment malfunctioned or been out of spec  during Absolute Sound reviews without them even knowing. Obviously, having measured A-1's previously did help in this case.