Boulder Amplifiers 508 Phonostage $5000 Review

March 18, 2021 § Leave a comment

Nonetheless, the linearity of the Boulder and its prowess in the bass region should not be underestimated. This came home to me in listening to the 45-rpm reissue of the South African musician Hugh Masekela’s “Stimela,” which is probably one of the most overplayed cuts at audio shows, but, heck, I like it. And it reveals a lot. What it revealed to me in this instance was the profound bass definition that the 508 delivers. The drum crescendos in “Stimela” were cleanly defined and propulsively powerful. I also noticed how clearly the 508 captured not only the huskiness of Masekela’s voice, but also how beautifully it rendered his enunciation of the song’s lyrics. It was as though they were etched in stone. Ditto for his playing on the flugelhorn. The way Masekela soared into the treble region, then issued plaintive wails was profoundly moving to listen to on my system. Boulder often gets knocked for delivering a sterile sound, but it’s a bum rap. This went right to the emotional essence of the music. Ditto for a Sackville label recording that I recently acquired called Three Is Company that features the jazz soprano saxophonist Jim Galloway, a remarkable musician who teamed up with the pianist Dick Wellstood for this album. This is traditional straight-ahead jazz and on lively numbers like “Minor Drag,” the 508 viscerally delivered the fast-paced excitement of the music. The 508 nailed the sometimes nasally and keening quality of Galloway’s soprano sax, while Pete Magadini serenely mans the drums, gently accompanying his peers.

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