Integrated Amp Reviews

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 02, 2021  |  14 comments
"I want to redo that painting," the spouse declared. "It's too dark."

"What's wrong with dark?" I responded. "Rembrandt's portraits are often dark. So are the paintings of Courbet and Hobbema. Your color palette represents how you were feeling at the moment. If it's true to you and speaks strongly, why change it?"

Julie Mullins  |  Mar 25, 2021  |  20 comments
All my earliest hi-fi memories involve tube amplification: as a young girl, staring at the tubes' glowing filaments and listening to music with my audiophile father. I was mesmerized by the glow of those tubes, too hot to touch, but even more so by the music, which often was classical or opera. How those tubes worked was a mystery to me, but I knew they played a big part in the magic coming from the speakers.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 28, 2021  |  15 comments
Joy. It's all about the joy.

Joy manifests during those moments when the critical mind suspends, the lens clears, and only union between you and your experience exists. When joy arises, time stands still, all sense of separation vanishes, and only wonder remains.

Many of us live for those moments. Moments of understanding that transcend verbiage and mental chatter and affirm what is real and eternal about the human condition.

Larry Greenhill  |  Dec 30, 2020  |  38 comments
Recently, I received an email from Editor Jim Austin. "Larry, do you still use your Day Sequerra FM Reference tuner1 to listen to FM radio?" he asked.

"Jim, yes, I still listen to FM classical music in the Bay area. Why?"

Ken Micallef  |  Dec 24, 2020  |  13 comments
During my tenure as a Stereophile writer, I've reviewed a lot of integrated amplifiers. The mostly moderately priced integrated machines I've reviewed have included the Heed Audio Elixir ($1195), Luxman SQ-N150 ($2795) and L-509X ($9495), NAD C 328 Hybrid Digital ($549), Octave Audio V 80 SE ($10,500), Rega Brio ($995), and Schiit Ragnarok 2 ($1799 as equipped). Regardless of price, all these integrated amplifiers engaged my senses and made engaging, dynamic, colorful music from LP grooves and ones and zeros.
Herb Reichert  |  Dec 18, 2020  |  13 comments
DeKalb, Illinois, 1971: When I was in college, my anthropology professor would invite me and a few of his other favored students to his house for fondue parties. We sat on shag carpet around a glass-topped coffee table, drank wine, and dipped vegetables in molten cheese. The stated purpose of this rite was to discuss Margaret Mead or Franz Boas, but that was obviously a ruse. The gathering was really about excessive pot smoking accompanied by coughing fits and the telling of ridiculous stories, all while playing LPs on his top-of-the-line Dual turntable/record-changer.
Ken Micallef  |  Dec 02, 2020  |  29 comments
The story behind European Audio Team (E.A.T.) is that of one woman, company owner and CEO Jozefína Lichtenegger.

While studying for her MBA at the University of Economics in Bratislava, Slovakia, Lichtenegger (née Krahulkova) sold vacuum tubes for her brother-in-law, Alesa Vaic, then owner of Czech Republic–based tube brand VAIC. After VAIC shuttered in 2003, Lichtenegger founded her own retail business and engaged 100-year-old tube manufacturer Tesla Vršovice to supply 300B and KT88 tubes made to her specifications. When the owner of Tesla retired, she bought the company. She christened her new endeavor E.A.T. (The original Tesla continues as TESLA ElectronTubes, s.r.o.)

Robert Schryer  |  Oct 16, 2020  |  15 comments
I was doing my press beat for Stereophile in the hallway of Montreal's 2019 Audiofest when I glimpsed something that stopped me in my tracks. It was a marketing slogan, across the room on importer/exhibitor Goerner Audio's floorstanding banner: "Tubes or semiconductors? Magneto-solid technology amplifies emotions."
John Atkinson  |  Oct 12, 2020  |  0 comments
Two of the followup reviews that were published in the November 2020 issue of Stereophile have been posted to the magazine's website: Herb Reichert on the Yamaha A-S3200 integrated amplifier and the measurements of the Denafrips Ares II and Terminator D/A processors.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 09, 2020  |  15 comments
Once upon a time, reviews of Musical Fidelity components frequently filled pages in Stereophile. But in all my years covering audio shows, I can't recall blogging about any of the company's products, not even once. So, when my editor offered a review of the new M8xi ($6490), a hefty 101lb dual-mono integrated amplifier that includes a DAC, I seized the opportunity to fill a black hole in my consciousness. (Kindly cast aside thoughts that it would take more than a hunk of audio equipment to fill the black hole in my brain.) As long as I didn't break my back lifting the M8xi, solo, to the top shelf of my rack—for this I humbly beg assistance from spouses, neighbors, and friends—new vistas were in store.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Sep 28, 2020  |  17 comments
On the cold and sunny morning of February 19, 2020, a dozen or so audio critics and writers gathered at Gilmore's Sound Advice on New York's far West Side to see some new NAD and DALI products that had been unveiled the prior month at CES. It was a friendly group, and we kibitzed over coffee before clustering in the arranged seats for presentations and auditions. I doubt any of us realized that it would be the last time for the foreseeable future that we would experience this familiar rite.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 27, 2020  |  130 comments
Yamaha: The name evokes memories of my youth when those much-coveted receivers were out of financial reach, leading me to rely upon entry-level Kenwoods and Pioneers and others that sounded worse. Everyone who ever had a cheap receiver blow up—that's what caused me to move from Kenwood to Pioneer—or heard an old Akai that made LPs sound like 128kbps MP3s, please raise your hands.
Herb Reichert  |  Jul 22, 2020  |  43 comments
I am proud of the fact that my first review for Stereophile was of a modestly priced integrated amplifier called the Rogue Audio Sphinx. Specified at 100Wpc into 8 ohms, 200Wpc into 4 ohms (footnote 1), it played the KEF LS50s like it was made for them. It was simple and handsome and cost only $1295, phono stage included.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 19, 2020  |  116 comments
Finally—a way to get a handle on the sound of Aavik Acoustics electronics. I'd heard the Danish-made components many times at shows, but always in the context of Ansuz Acoustics cables and Børresen Acoustics loudspeakers. As much as the threesome was inevitable—all three companies are owned by Michael Børresen, Lars Kristensen, and a third shareholder—there was no way to determine the unique sound of each component in the mix.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 29, 2020  |  5 comments
I hope you can tell how grateful I am to be writing a column every month. A column makes me feel like a reporter or raconteur, both of which I aspire to become. In a column, I can be more me. I can evolve, think out loud, and speculate, right in front of you. I can pass on crazy stories from a lifetime of audio. When I write about products in a Dream, I try not to form it as a review, per se, but rather as an informal chronicle of discovery.

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