June 8, 2023 § Leave a comment

Having owned a McIntosh MA6900 integrated amp for 20 years, I already had a good feel for how timeless a McIntosh amp is. I have beaten on the MA6900 in countless speaker tests, and could never get it to do anything bad. The MC303 takes this to a new level with even better dynamics and more powerful bass. At $4,167 for each of its 300-watt channels, it isn’t inexpensive. It does offer a lot of value in the ultra-high-end world of audio. Part of the allure of products from companies like McIntosh is the pedigree. People recognize a Rolex, a Mercedes, and a McIntosh amp. Rolex and Mercedes wish they had as bulletproof a design as does a McIntosh product. In my reference system, I currently have a Cambridge Audio Edge W power amp, a Michi S-5 power amp, a Rogers Fidelity KW-88 integrated tube amp, a NAD M33 integrated amp, and the previously mentioned McIntosh MA6900 integrated amp.


World Exclusive First Listen: Moon 761 and 791 Review

June 8, 2023 § Leave a comment

Mastersound 845 Compact integrated amplifier $10,495 Review

June 7, 2023 § Leave a comment

The Mastersound Compact 845 hits all my sonic sweet spots: gorgeous, burnished tube tone, palpable instrumental texture, unerring naturalism, lush, rich, transparent midrange, solid bass, open treble, black background, precise layering of instruments and vocals—and the deepest, punchiest soundstage I’ve heard. It was also eerily quiet. Like the Audio Note Meishu Tonmeister integrated amplifier, I would be happy to live with this amplifier for the rest of my days. With the Compact 845, Mastersound moves to the front row in the hallowed hall of master tube-amplifier manufacturers, alongside Shindo, Audio Note, Air Tight, Line Magnetic, Luxman, and PrimaLuna.

Dan D’Agostino S350 Stereo Power Amplifier $27,250 Review

June 2, 2023 § Leave a comment

As an audio reviewer, I feel as if I should have some negative criticisms, as no audio component is “perfect. I do not want to paint myself into a corner and say this is the best power amplifier on the market. At this level, there are going to be nuances between amplifiers that some audiophiles will prefer over others. And to be honest, I’ve auditioned nowhere near every solid-state power amplifier on the market. It would be interesting to compare the D’Agostino Progression S350 to an amplifier that costs double or triple its price. But one of those might not match my system as well as the D’Agostino Progression S350. One would be correct if they argued that I liked this amplifier so much only because it was such a good fit with the rest of my system. So be it.

The Dan D’Agostino Integrated Amplifier Review

May 29, 2023 § Leave a comment

My review sample of the Progression integrated amplifier included the DAC module only—not the phono stage module. I compared the Progression DAC module to my standalone dCS Bartok DAC for streaming and my collection of both high resolution and ripped CD files. The source for both was provided by my Aurender N-10 music server. I also compared these configurations to a direct Ethernet network connection to the Progression and its DAC module while streaming, and when using the Progression iOC App. Qobuz was my primary streaming service for all of these evaluations

Aavik P-580 Amplifier & C-580 Preamplifier Review

May 29, 2023 § Leave a comment

The Aaavik P-580 amplifier and C-580 capability of decoding even the smallest fragment of music and format it with the correct harmonic order to avoid the trap of music sounding univocal were further cemented with “Crossroads”  by Memphissippi Sounds from Welcome to the Land.

By achieving the density of higher-level acoustic focal points, Aavik P-580 and C-580 initiated a musical framework without impediment vicinity but allowed the proximity of notes to expand and breathe in space thus forming an objective acoustic space that was not subjected to the angulated holosphere sound effect.

Peachtree Amplifier Review

May 29, 2023 § Leave a comment

NAD M23 Review

May 25, 2023 Comments Off on NAD M23 Review

McIntosh MI502 Class D Power Amp Review

May 22, 2023 Comments Off on McIntosh MI502 Class D Power Amp Review

I partnered the amp with sources including a Primare PRE35 [HFN Dec ’19] for a balanced connection and Oppo UDP-205 CD/SACD player [HFN Jul ’17]. Via both the result was a largely neutral sound, especially in the bass and lower-mid, and with the transparency to reveal the limitations of the source when given a CD rip of the title track of Prince’s Purple Rain [Warner Bros/NPG 9362-49132-0]. Pairing the McIntosh amp and Oppo disc-spinner created an easy-to-use two-box set-up that yielded a fine performance with Barb Jungr’s cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Sara’ on SACD [Linn Super Audio Collection: Volume 5; Linn Records AKP 389], where the delicate handling of her haunting vocal was countered by the weight and body of the piano that accompanied her.

Audio Research Corporation i50 Integrated Tube Amplifier Review

May 20, 2023 Comments Off on Audio Research Corporation i50 Integrated Tube Amplifier Review

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