GOLD NOTE DS‑10 STREAMING DAC PREAMP AND PA‑10 POWER AMPLIFIERS REVIEW
December 20, 2020 § Leave a comment
In a way, I’d argue that the DS‑10/stereo PA‑10 combination is more of a stepping-stone to the mono amps than a solution in its own right. In part, this is because for just a few hundred pounds more, Gold Note’s own IS-1000 integrated amplifier offers a lot of the same performance and sound quality standards, line inputs, and a more powerful amplifier stage. This isn’t a trouncing, as the DS‑10’s standalone DAC performance edges past that of the IS‑1000, the IS-1000 lacks a headphone amp and the PA‑10 is a slightly more graceful sounding amplifier than the integrated. Also, if you are performing a ‘bitza’ upgrade from existing equipment, then the DS‑10 is an obvious digital hub add-in to a system, but in the main if you are set on the Gold Note sound and it’s a choice between the DS‑10/stereo PA‑10 (with no future mono upgrade in the pipeline) or the IS-1000, I think most will go for the IS-1000. Adding in the second PA‑10, however, changes things dramatically. That extra dimensionality to the soundstage, the even greater control over the loudspeakers and its concomitant ‘grip’ on the bass, and the fluidity of midrange simply make so much more sense. All those elements are there in the PA‑10 (and, for that matter, the IS-1000), but they are more brightly lit when you go mono. And there’s even a PSU10 power supply for the DAC, so that should improve performance still further.