Two Preamplifier FollowUp Reviews

Two high-performance preamplifiers were subjected to further listening in recent issues. Jason Victor Serinus wrote about Rotel's Michi P5 in September 2022; Jim Austin auditioned the Audio Research Reference 6SE in October 2022.

For his FollowUp, Jim Austin compared the tubed Audio Research Reference 6SE ($18,000) with the solid state Pass Labs XP-32 ($18,375). "I wanted to experience the differences in the short term and then take note of how those differences panned out over time," he wrote. His conclusion? "These two preamps are zeroing in on the same sound from opposite directions. I have very much enjoyed the Pass Labs XP-32 preamplifier, and I expect to continue to, but I could live quite happily with the Audio Research Reference 6SE."

When Rotel shipped the Michi S5 stereo amplifier to Jason Victor Serinus for his July 2022 review, they sent along a sample of its companion preamplifier, the Michi P5 ($4299.99), which Ken Micaleff had reviewed in November 2020. They felt JVS should experience the complete Michi pairing.

John Atkinson found that the P5's USB input offered the best jitter rejection of the P5's three digital input types, so JVS stuck with USB, feeding it audio data with his Roon Nucleus+ music server/streamer powered with a Nordost QSource linear power supply. "The P5 delivered a good representation of depth, texture, and detail, but the space between notes was gray rather than black. Regardless, I found myself deeply engaged with the music," he wrote.

Nevertheless, JVS summed up his time with the P5 by writing "Where the P5 equaled the dCS Rossini DAC/Clock and D'Agostino Momentum HD was in its ability to capture my attention and move me. Even lacking the level of detail, refinement, and natural-sounding top-to-bottom coherence, the Michi P5's presentation touched me to the core. It filled me with the gift of music and moved me as much if not more than at some live performances."