Grandinote Shinai integrated amplifier $15,000 Review

December 18, 2020 § Leave a comment

It has the spirit of a revealer. It speaks the truth—not ruthlessly, but honestly. It showed me, with conspicuous clarity, the sonic differences among music formats, speaker models, song-to-song recording quality, that section on an LP where, on my rig, the sound seemed to have spontaneously gotten much better, and the Shinai’s own conspicuous improvement after 45 minutes of playing music. More importantly, it revealed myriad strains of musical information I’d not known were there.

It also forced me to face up to the fact that my tubed electronics were sweetening and homogenizing the sound.

Does the Shinai’s tube-based circuitry make it sound like a tube amp? Not exactly. The Shinai sounds like its own thing, worthy in its own right. It’s rich but not in the voluptuous, warm way of my combo of Audible Illusions preamp and vintage ASL monos. The Shinai is more neutral sounding. The Shinai did some things better than my tube gear—definition, detail, space, scale, touch—at a price I think fair considering that, for the money, one gets a line stage and two powerful-sounding (even if rated at just 37Wpc), class-A monoblocks, designed and hand-built in Italy.

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