Audio Note UK M1 Phono preamp & Empress Silver parallel single-ended triode monoblocks Review

April 29, 2022 § Leave a comment

I have fielded e-mails from audiophiles asking me about which power amp to get and I can’t answer that except to say that if you listen to a lot of rock and pop the Empress is more exciting to listen to than comparable Quest 300Bs in my experience. If you want that lusher, softer, valve-like presentation you may want the 300B or even Audio Note Paladin 45 output tube, which I like but is limited to just 2 watts per channel.

With the M1 warmed up and ears now used to the sound of its presentation, I was impressed by the preamp’s low noise floor and its ability to get along with not only the Empress Silver monoblocks but also my KingKo KA101 Pro EL84 integrated (used as a power amp) and, perhaps most surprisingly, my Wyred 4 Sound mAmp monoblocks. This is important because a good preamp gives the listener a choice of power amps. A lot of audiophiles on forums own speakers that are “borderline” in terms of efficiency and sensitivity. Yes, a low-powered SET amp will drive an 87dB sensitive speaker rated at 4 ohms but the amplifier won’t want to play AC/DC or large-scale classical music. When you want to play and be truly beguiled by Eva Cassidy, then the Empress will give you that added bit of magic 

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