Constellation Audio Inspiration Integrated 1.0 amplifier Review

April 12, 2022 § Leave a comment

If it excels at the big and complex, then it is equally impressive on the seemingly simple. ‘Wayfaring Stranger’, the classic American folk tune from Grateful Dawg [Acoustic Disc] by David Grisman and the late Gerry Garcia is a simply arranged live recording with a couple of gloriously out of tune vocals that is so compelling because of its sheer reality and straightforward instrumentation. It could hardly be more different from Bill Laswell’s Divine Light but it is no less compelling. The Constellation shows what a charmingly intimate amplifier it can be. It even makes a banjo sound good and that will do for me. The song is from Grateful Dawg which is not an offering that has undergone much in the way of studio mastery or post-production enhancement, I would think. But it’s the straight-up charm and, of course, the quality of the playing from the guys and their bluegrass sidekicks which make it so real and so interesting. The Inspiration Integrated 1.0 just lets it all through. Atmosphere all the way but very different indeed from another largely acoustic album that has charmed me. Julian Lage is, I believe, one of the finest guitarists on the planet at the moment, electric or acoustic, and I am particularly fond of his collaborations with Chris Eldridge. On Avalon from 2014 [Modern Lore] they use a simply recorded, dry acoustic space to demonstrate some stellar musicianship and show just how expressive, versatile and real this classic format can be. The Constellation showcases the wealth of tonal shading, stunning clarity and texture that these two embellish through thicker, wound strings to breathe life and touch-ability to the music. The speed and eloquent note control plays right into the amplifier’s considerable strengths and illustrates exactly how to tell a story through an instrument. I’ve never heard it sound better.

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