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POWER AMPLIFIER REVIEWS

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Clint Walker Posted: Jun 25, 2000 Published: Jun 26, 2000 0 comments
A new value-driven benchmark in high-performance theater.

I've been sitting here at my computer for over an hour without typing a word. I'm showing signs of terminal writer's block, but I wish I were that lucky. In truth, I'm just speechless, and the Cinénova Grande amplifier from Earthquake Sound Corporation is the reason why. Several weeks ago, a massive wooden crate stamped "heavy" arrived at our sound lab in Woodland Hills. I had seen crates like this during my stint in the military—they usually contained Patriot missile warheads. We gathered around it like cavemen observing fire, poking at it and wondering what it might be. Finally, I worked up the nerve to open it up.

Steven Stone Posted: Aug 08, 2005 0 comments

Throughout his career, Mark Schifter has created affordable, high-fidelity products that compete with price-is-no-object high-end gear. His resumé includes stints with Audio Alchemy and Genesis Speakers.

Jerry Kindela Posted: Feb 14, 2006 Published: Feb 15, 2006 0 comments
A combination that hits all the right notes (and sounds).

There's a compelling magic that has kept my butt on the sofa— it's the enthralling And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself. It was for no small reason that this HBO film earned an Emmy for sound editing. The width and depth of the soundscape, the detailed sound bits, the way the dialogue comes through, and the score's ability to underscore the power and poignancy of scene after scene are remarkable. Each of these turns a made-for-TV movie into a film that transcends the limitations of the home venue for which it was created. And the system I've been using—an Epos M Series 5.1 speaker setup powered by the Butler Audio TDB 5150 vacuum-tube power amplifier—reveals such wonderful nuances in Pancho Villa that I have been completely glued to the couch.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 09, 2006 1 comments
Trendy yet rebellious.

The audio industry seems about to leap off a cliff. Permit me to suggest that this may be a rash decision. True, component audio sales have diminished, but that's no excuse for the industry to abandon its principles and give up on sound quality. What consumers are rebelling against is not good sound but bad design. They've had enough of big, dumb, room-hogging speakers. "It doesn't suit the room, but it sounds good" doesn't cut it anymore. "It looks as good as it sounds" is the winning combination.

Ultimate AV Staff Posted: Jul 10, 2006 0 comments

<UL CLASS="square">
<LI>Price: $5,990</LI>
<LI>Channels/Power: Five channels; 350-Watts per channel into 4 ohms </LI>
<LI>Inputs: Single-ended and balanced</LI>
</UL>
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/706halcromca50.jpg" WIDTH=450 HEIGHT=243 BORDER=0>

Kris Deering Posted: Dec 29, 2011 4 comments

DHC-80.3 Surround Processor
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
 
DTA-70.1 Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $4,400 At A Glance: 4K scaling • Reference-quality video processing • Audyssey MultEQ XT32 ups the ante for room EQ • Nine channels of THX Ultra2 amplification

I don’t know what’s more impressive, the fact that Integra can produce a new state-of-the-art surround processor each year, or that the company can find new audio/video processing modes to add to its already ridiculous list of features. The Integra DHC-80.3 is the latest home run from Integra, with some of the most future-proofing features the company’s delivered yet. I can’t imagine adding much more to a surround processor, but I’m sure Integra will pull some new surprises out of the bag next year.

I’ve reviewed several of the past incarnations of Integra’s A/V processor, but this time up, Integra also sent out its nine-channel THX Ultra2–certified amp, the DTA-70.1. This monster delivers 150 watts per channel and sports balanced inputs and a gorgeous solid-aluminum front panel that matches the DHC-80.3 perfectly.

Ultimate AV Staff Posted: Jul 10, 2006 0 comments

<UL CLASS="square">
<LI>Price: $5,000</LI>
<LI>Channels/Power: Seven channels; 150-Watts per channel into 8 ohms/300-Watts into 4 ohms</LI>
<LI>Inputs: Single-ended and balanced</LI>
</UL>
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/706integrarda71.jpg" WIDTH=450 HEIGHT=185 BORDER=0>

Chris Lewis Posted: Dec 12, 2005 0 comments
This time, it's all English.

After the parade of international system mates that we've had in every other installment of this column recently, we finally settle into a system whose parts share their nation of origin. Don't be too quick to assume that it is the United States or Japan I speak of—this month's system hails entirely from merry old England. This isn't terribly surprising, but it does give me an opportunity to say a few things to our friends across the pond that I've been meaning to say for a while, such as: Sorry about that whole revolution thing (although I don't really mean that sincerely), and thanks for the Rolling Stones, Lord Stanley (who gave us the Stanley Cup), and Elizabeth Hurley—in no particular order, of course.

Fred Manteghian Posted: Jan 10, 2002 0 comments

<B>On the Kouch</B> <BR> Actually, Dr. Melfi has a chair and a couch. Her expression is noncommittal as I choose between them&mdash;the psychoanalysis has already begun. Right away, she suggests a word game: she'll say something, I'll respond with the first thing that pops into my head. I've used the technique myself to out disloyal employees in the, uh, refuse recycling business. I guess that semester and a half of college was money well spent.

Michael Trei Posted: Jan 25, 2000 Published: Jan 26, 2000 0 comments
Hard-core gear maker Krell makes a poweful argument with KAV-250a and KAV-250a/3.

Since their inception some 20 years ago, Krell has remained about as hard-core of an audiophile company as you're likely to find. Back in 1980, Krell shocked the hi-fi world with their enormous KSA-100. Since then, they have remained on the cutting edge of solid-state electronics. Just when you thought they couldn't push things any further, they would obliterate the competition with some unimaginably huge and powerful beast. The most recent example of this is the Master Reference series that they describe as being "mini-sized," but I think they must have been comparing the amps with a British car.

Ultimate AV Staff Posted: Jul 10, 2006 0 comments

<UL CLASS="square">
<LI>Price: $5,000, $5,500 and $6,000, respectively for five, six and seven channels</LI>
<LI>Channels/Power: 5/6/7 channels; 125-Watts per channel into 8 ohms/250-Watts into 4 ohms</LI>
<LI>Inputs: Single-ended and balanced</LI>
</UL>
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/706krellshowamp.jpg" WIDTH=450 HEIGHT=205 BORDER=0>

Chris Lewis Posted: Nov 04, 2002 Published: Nov 05, 2002 0 comments
With the Showcase pre/pro-and-amp combo, Krell hits a new low—price point, that is.

Much is made of the intense competition that goes on in the receiver game, and understandably so. For the most part, these are companies that have piles of money to spend on advertising, have the resources and inclination to bring out new models every year, and have hordes of accountants and marketing types to keep watch on things likemarket placement, pricing, competitor activity, and so on. But what about the healthy (and growing) competition in the separates arena, especially at the lower (all things being relative) price points? It may not draw the receiver war's headlines, involve a fraction of the corporate expenditure and model turnover, or feature dueling laser shows from multilevel booths at industry trade shows. But, make no mistake, the competition here is no less intense, no less important to the industry as a whole, and no less beneficial to its particular crop of potential buyers.

Chris Lewis Posted: Apr 01, 2004 0 comments
Lexicon's CX-7 is ready for its due.

No matter the dollar amount involved, it happens to everyone: You get locked on to something new, you watch the glowing reviews and awards pile up, and you consider pulling the trigger when either financial reality or conservatism kicks in. You ultimately think, "If only it were a few hundred (or thousand, or hundred thousand) dollars less." Patience usually pays off, though. That's as clear in the A/V world as it is anywhere, especially in the high end. It's only natural that, when a manufacturer rolls out a new design or line, they start with their best foot forward, which usually ends up being the more-expensive foot. However, most manufacturers will eventually give those of you who are limited to lower price brackets—either by choice or necessity—a taste with lower-priced models. With the legitimate companies, the gap in price between models is almost always significantly greater than the gap in performance.

Chris Lewis Posted: Dec 19, 2002 Published: Dec 20, 2002 0 comments
Lexicon's MC-12 pre/pro gets a high-powered playmate.

I suppose that I'm starting to sound like a broken record when I talk about the concept of matching in home theater, but how else can I call attention to one of the most important aspects of creating a successful system? After all, matching audio/video equipment is not unlike matching in other areas of our lives. The proper combination of amps, speakers, room characteristics, and, well, everything else can create an exciting, dynamic, and highly satisfying experience for all involved. The wrong combination is usually mundane, lifeless, and, if you will, impotent. Sparks in the listening room come about in a similar way as sparks in other rooms of the house—they require experience and effort. A little bit of passion never hurts, either.

Jerry Kindela Posted: Jul 23, 2007 0 comments
Pushing the technology envelope.

Founded in early 1972 by Ivor Tiefenbrun, Scottish manufacturer Linn Products has consistently been on the cutting edge of audio development and delivered products that have enamored many audiophiles. Just think of the Linn Sondek LP12 turntable, the Sondek CD12 compact-disc player, or even the Komponent speaker system that Michael Trei reviewed in these pages (in the March 2006 issue). Linn has routinely pushed the boundaries and treaded ahead of the manufacturing pack. Case in point: the Chakra range of amplifiers, which rely on switch-mode power supplies, plus other proprietary developments on the audio-circuit side.

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