Conrad-Johnson • Classic Sixty-Two SE Stereo Amplifier $5750 Review

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“Concerned that I should try a conventional speaker with the Classic Sixty-Two SE, I packed up the amp and took it to Kent Johnson’s house. Kent recently retired from reviewing at Positive Feedback and has a nice listening space featuring Revel F208 speakers driven by Primare electronics fed by an Esoteric universal player. At 250Wpc, the Primare amp has no trouble controlling the Revel’s dual 8″ woofers, but could the Classic Sixty-Two SE keep up? After a brief listening session to acclimate our ears to the sound, we swapped out the Primare for the C-J amp. I knew we wouldn’t have as much ultimate volume moving from 250 watts to 60, but neither of us listen too loudly, so my fears weren’t warranted. I was pleased that the Classic Sixty-Two SE sound was instantly recognizable and similar to my initial reactions after break-in.”

Margules Group U-280sc “Black” Amplifier $10,800 Review

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“As much as I like the “Black” in triode mode one of the amp’s strengths is how good it sounded in the ultra-linear mode. This gives one the opportunity to own a Class A amp that can drive rather inefficient speakers. I should also mention this amp brought out the best of a very good digital source. Some might say that means it is a forgiving amp, but I’d rather say that somehow it lets you hear the best of the source as long as it is a good musical source.”

MARTINLOGAN FORTE AMP $599 REVIEW

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” The MartinLogan Forte amp is quite a package. I was impressed by this unassuming little box of an amp. The Forte is created for those seeking the best in wireless playback at an affordable price. For a pittance, you get a powerful class D amp that utilizes DTS Play-Fi to deliver high end sound. Add the Anthem Room Correction technology and what you get is a genuine bargain. I hope this amp gets exposure to as many folks as possible. The MartinLogan Forte in combination with the MartinLogan Motion 40 speakers will deliver sonic bliss. At less than $2600 for the system, that is a super deal.”

Moon by Simaudio Evolution 860A Stereo Amplifier $15,000 Review

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” Looking back, I think that maybe I’ve been a bit too effusive in my praise of Simaudio’s Moon Evolution 860A. But I’ve listened to more music in the last few months than I have in maybe the last year. The last few additions to my system have been fortuitous: JE Audio’s HP10 phono stage, the Moon 860A, and now Pro-Ject’s RPM 10 Carbon turntable (review forthcoming) are working together so very well that, down here in my basement, I’m experiencing a bit of an audio renaissance.”

Margules Group U-280sc “Black” Amplifier $6,000 Review

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” As much as I like the “Black” in triode mode one of the amp’s strengths is how good it sounded in the ultra-linear mode. This gives one the opportunity to own a Class A amp that can drive rather inefficient speakers. I should also mention this amp brought out the best of a very good digital source. Some might say that means it is a forgiving amp, but I’d rather say that somehow it lets you hear the best of the source as long as it is a good musical source.”

Emotiva XPA Gen3 two-channel power amplifier $999 Review

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” The Gen3’s front panel is simple and attractive, in an anthropomorphic way. The halo ring-light of its standby/on button, surmounted by two status LEDs, makes it look like a “wow” emoji. All three front-panel lights are activated by the rear-panel on/off rocker switch next to the IEC power-cord socket; above which is an oversize circuit-breaker button and a tiny switch, labeled Status LEDs, for turning off the front-panel eyes/status indicators. Each of the Gen3’s amplifier modules (two for stereo) has switch-selectable unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR inputs, and a pair of five-way speaker binding posts.

Cary Audio AiOS INTEGRATED AMP/DAC $2,995 REVIEWS

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“If you spend more money than the Cary AiOS, and you spend that money on separate pieces of hi-fi and the cables you’ll need to connect everything (not to mention any connectivity and power supply upgrades and tweaks), you can get better sound. If you want one box that is truly all-in-one, meaning all one need do is connect it to your network and your speakers and serve and/or stream away, the Cary AiOS checks off all of the boxes.”

Audio Research GSi75 Integrated Amplifier $16,000 Review

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“The $16,000 price tag may stun a few at first, but when you realize what the team at ARC has packed inside the GSi75, and the fact that you don’t have to buy three sets of interconnects and power cords, it’s an amazing bargain – for the right customer. Because everything is inside and there is no preamp out, this is either a piece you will live with forever, or the upgrade bug will sour you. A cursory survey of a few friends with mega ARC systems reveals more than one have bought a GSi75 as the core of their second system, or vacation home system and are thrilled.”

Ampsandsound Agartha Vacuum Tube Stereo Amplifier And Headamp $3600 Review

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“The only real knock on the headphone output is the relatively high amount of background noise. There was a distinct transformer buzz that was quite audible when music wasn’t playing. It was easily drowned out by music, but still faintly noticeable if you were really, really zoned-in on it. If you don’t need the world’s blackest background this should be just fine, and I think the amplifier’s many positive traits definitely outweigh this negative, but some people demand absolute silence from their amplifier, and those folks would likely be a bit annoyed by this hum,”

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