POWER AMPLIFIER REVIEWS

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Michael Trei  |  Jun 25, 2000  |  First Published: Jun 26, 2000  |  0 comments
The B&K Reference 7260 six-channel amplifier proves to be a solid all-around performer.

Like many people, I often dream of what it would be like to have unlimited funds to buy the very best. You know, a Mercedes S500 and a Ferrari F50, along with a Hummer for those off-road adventures (not to mention a ski lodge in Aspen and, of course, a 250-foot yacht in the Bahamas). These are nice to fantasize about; however, when the reality of our lives takes over, most of us would probably buy a more-sensible vehicle like a Honda. While much of the glamour and notoriety in magazines tends to revolve around the most exotic stuff, there are companies that can give you most of that performance for a fraction of the price.

Fred Manteghian  |  Mar 19, 2002  |  0 comments

If you became seriously interested in high-end 2-channel sound in the 1990s, then Balanced Audio Technology is a name already familiar to you. The first review of BAT products I ever read was Robert Deutsch's, of the VK-5 tube preamplifier and VK-60 tube power amp, in the December 1995 issue of our sister publication, <I>Stereophile</I>. At that time, the buzz was about BAT's "balanced" designs, unique zero-feedback circuitry, and, of course, their products' exemplary sound.

Steven Stone  |  Oct 15, 2004  |  0 comments

Most power amplifiers are primarily differentiated by their size and color. Eventually, even an amplifier fetishist grows weary of digging for the minute variations that make each amplifier special. Perhaps that's why it's so refreshing to discover an amp that embraces some truly unique new technology. Bel Canto, a small company located in darkest Minnesota, has managed to find a way to manufacture a digital amplifier, dubbed the eVo2, whose performance rivals that of more conventional analog designs.

Steven Stone  |  Apr 24, 2005  |  0 comments

Once upon a time, audiophiles used to get very excited about power amplifiers. They would obsess about the minutiae of an amp's sonic character and its ability to successfully drive 2ohm loads. Times change. Now amplifiers are among the least sexy components in a home theater. Most videophiles would concur with the concept that amplifiers should be heard, but not seen. Within the new world order of home theaters, amplifiers have been relegated to a supporting role.

Fred Manteghian  |  Jan 06, 2013  |  1 comments

SP3 Surround Processor
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
 
9B SST² Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $17,595 At A Glance: No-compromise musicality in a home theater • Clean and powerful • No-frills design

If you’ve ever spent an afternoon at a big-box store courting eye strain and knee pain comparing the lineup of AVRs, then you’ve doubtless discovered that, superficially at least, the offerings have more in common than not. Sure, the more you spend, the more buzzwords are silk-screened across the front panel, the more HDMI connections you find around back, and, when it comes to power, the more exaggeration you get. One thing about Bryston and power—it’s not within theirs to lie. My first audiophile speakers, Magnepan MG-IIIa speakers, didn’t turn amazing until they met a Bryston 4B amp. If current is what your speakers crave, a Bryston amp could be their best friend.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 12, 2010  |  0 comments

Cinema 11a Surround Processor
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
 
Model 7.125 Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $8,000 At A Glance: Minimal video-switching capabilities • Maximum sound quality • Amplifier made in America

Core Audiophile Values

During the last decade or so, specialty audio manufacturers have seen the marriage of home theater and high-performance audio become contentious at best and life threatening at worst. These days, companies have fewer financial resources and longer R&D lead times. Relatively small audiophile-oriented companies that sought the A/V path have been overwhelmed. Sometimes, fast-moving, shelf-life-shortening developments­—such as the adaptation of new audio and video formats—have burned these companies outright.

Chris Lewis  |  Sep 18, 2004  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2004  |  0 comments
High-end home theater for the rest of us.

Home theater in 2004 is like America in the 1950s, with a middle class that has steadily been building momentum and now finds itself in the midst of a major breakout. The same philosophy of the good life at a better price that spawned a culture of suburbs and credit-card debt in the '50s is spawning an unprecedented emergence of high-end home theater components at mid-level prices in the '00s.

Fred Manteghian  |  Jan 27, 2012  |  2 comments

Cinema 12 Surround Processor
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
 
Model 7.125 Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $8,990 At A Glance: Excellent detail and resolution • Music jumps alive • No video processing

Over a decade ago, while writing for a now-defunct audio magazine, my editor shipped me a pair of monoblock Cary tube amps he’d never gotten around to reviewing. Something must have shook loose during transit, because instead of music, all I got when I powered them up was a wisp of smoke as one monoblock sadly committed hara-kiri! The Cary Cinema 12 and Model 7.125 are an eternity of light years away from those fragile forays into bottle socketry. They exude an air of quality and reliability that physically and musically justify their significant price.

Call me weird, but I get excited when I see XLR connectors on my audio gear. Time spent in my fledgling home studio has taught me why pros prefer them. The Cinema 12 offers both single-ended RCA and true, differentially balanced XLR outputs, an arrangement and circuit design mirrored on the Model 7.125 amplifier. The Cinema 12 even offers a pair of stereo analog XLR inputs and a single balanced digital input beyond the roster of seven single-ended analog input pairs. Audio purists will appreciate the fact that you can bypass all digital conversions for your analog sources, including the 7.1 analog input you might use with an SACD player.

Ultimate AV Staff  |  Jul 10, 2006  |  0 comments

<UL CLASS="square">
<LI>Price: $2,299/pr.</LI>
<LI>Channels/Power: Monoblock; 200-Watts per channel into 8 ohms/325-Watts into 4 ohms </LI>
<LI>Inputs: Single-ended or balanced</LI>
</UL>
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/706ciaD200.jpg" WIDTH=450 HEIGHT=241 BORDER=0>

Mike McGann  |  Sep 30, 2001  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2001  |  0 comments
Truth be told, we could all watch TV on 19-inch screens and derive some enjoyment from it. We could all drive tiny-bodied, tiny-engined commuter cars and get to and from work. We could get little, tiny cups of soda at 7-Eleven and quench our thirst. But this is America, where we haul our 65-inch widescreen HDTVs home in our block-long Ford Expedition SUVs, stopping on the way home for a 64-ounce Big Gulp. We do things big. The bigger and badder-looking, the better.
Steve Guttenberg  |  Jul 14, 2006  |  0 comments
Classy Classés.

Even before you hear Classé's new Delta series of electronics, you'll probably want to do what I did—feel them up. This is not just because their curved aluminum-and-steel chassis are exquisite works of industrial art—your fingertips wield extraordinary control over the SSP-300 surround processor. The matching CA-5100 five-channel power amplifier will supply the muscle to make your home theater roar.

Fred Manteghian  |  Sep 21, 2010  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $18,000 At A Glance: Audio is smooth yet highly detailed • Amp has power to drive cattle • Great ergonomics • Spartan video

HT editor Shane Buettner laughed at me when I told him I spent two months strength training before the Revel Salon2 speakers arrived at my home last year.

Ultimate AV Staff  |  Jul 10, 2006  |  0 comments

<UL CLASS="square">
<LI>Price: $8,000</LI>
<LI>Channels/Power: Five channels; 200-Watts per channel into 8 ohms/370-Watts into 4 ohms </LI>
<LI>Inputs: Single-ended and balanced</LI>
</UL>
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/706classe5200.jpg" WIDTH=450 HEIGHT=250 BORDER=0>

uavKim Wilson  |  Feb 05, 2009  |  0 comments

Like any job, once in a while a project comes along to remind us why we chose our profession in the first place, something that really gets us excited and enthusiastic again. So, it was with great pleasure and even a sense of honor that I accepted the assignment to review the Denon AVP-A1HDCI surround preamp/processor and POA-A1HDCI 10-channel power amplifier for <I>UAV</I>.

Kris Deering  |  Jul 27, 2009  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $15,000 At A Glance: State-of-the-art video and audio performance • Customizable amplifier • Sets the bar for connectivity • Tedious GUI and remote

Both Guns Blazing

The separates market has long been the pinnacle of audio performance for high-end home theater setups. But you’ve always had to pay a price for that performance: the lack of bleeding-edge features. While standalone processors typically set the bar for pure audio performance, many of them lack the latest features that A/V receivers offer. I’ve been guilty of envious glances at the latest high-end receiver designs, wishing that those cutting-edge features would find their way into a reference-level surround processor. But unfortunately that hasn’t been the reality—until now, that is.

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