October 6, 2021 § Leave a comment
The unit that I received was already run in but Alvin of Vinshine Audio did warn me to make sure to give the DAC enough time to warm up. Of course, I did so, but that did not stop me from doing a comparison from a cold start. Well, it wasn’t straight out of the box as I did let it acclimatize for a day after delivery but I did listen to it right after switching it on. Well, I must say that I couldn’t fault its reproduction. Maybe it was a little lean and perhaps a little cold, but if this was the unit sounding “bad”, then there must be something in store for later! While listening to the unit for several days, honestly, I can’t say that its sound changed very much. Perhaps it got a little warmer overall and maybe a little bit fuller down below but we’re really talking nuances here.
September 8, 2021 § Leave a comment
I often said to myself that I was impressed by this integrated amplifier, that for a Class D amplifier, it sounded excellent. However, as I got further into the review period, I stopped thinking that it was an outstanding Class D integrated amplifier, but simply an outstanding integrated amplifier, especially at its price. I thought this true even after reinstalling it into my system after listening to my reference. Of course, I have heard better, but these amps had much less power and far fewer features than this very good-looking integrated amplifier.
The I-180’s front-panel covering red LED display was easy to read even from across the room, and the intangibles of this amplifier, as many settings can be changed by the user. I would have liked a subwoofer output, but other than that, there wasn’t much more than I would have liked.
August 20, 2021 § Leave a comment
Then you put on something you know really well. I’m at once proud and not proud to say that first disc was Back In Blackby AC/DC [Atlantic]. This is one of those albums I had on LP, cassette and CD (the LP got destroyed by playing on cheap equipment and was stolen by a junkie friend of an ex-girlfriend, the tape got mangled in a car cassette player and the CD has led a comparatively sheltered life by way of comparison). From the opening peel of ‘Hells Bells’ through to the title track, Ethos played these early 1980s arena rock tracks with the sort of force and intensity that makes you reach for the volume control and wish you were young enough to headbang without all the crepitus. The guitars on this disc can often sound ‘toppy’ and compressed, but here although you can still hear the compression, you realise its both deliberate and a pedal effect before the amp’s own distortion rather than laid on afterwards. As a consequence, it causes an equalisation of plectrum strike and makes for those intense power chords the Young brothers used to such good effect.