D'Agostino Momentum HD Preamplifier Page 2

Now it starts to makes sense, especially if you believe that music is, above all, a function of timing. Not just the correct time-aligned delivery of the signals in the manner of angled-baffle speakers, but of rhythm, of all the elements in a band or orchestra working in perfect concert. Blow me down, does this unit take control of the entire proceeding, neither adding nor removing anything. It is so revealing that it smacks of laboratory hardware.

With 'Muskrat Ramble' from The Best Of The Dukes Of Dixieland [Audio Fidelity AF 1962 7½ips open-reel tape], the clarinet had a gorgeous woodiness and richness so mellifluous that I did more than one double-take – you know, those momentary flashes of being fooled by the system. The piano stage left had a wonderful honky-tonk roundness, the percussion – especially the woodblock – was as crisp as a Frito and the audience sounded so genuine that I had to reassess my list of Top 10 tapes. Then again, it did this to everything I played…

Ready To Dazzle
Soundstage recreation was so glorious, so open and so spatially convincing that I found the Wilson Sasha DAWs [HFN Mar '19] to be even more dazzling than I had previously realised. The HD is like a makeover – that feeling when you've had your car serviced to perfection and you just want to head out on the open road.


Take, for example, Buffalo Springfield's 'For What It's Worth'. I've heard this song more than any other in my entire library, even Beatles tracks. I played the best version in my possession, from the Atco compilation Smash Sounds Vol 2 [ALC8188]. It was like hearing it for the first time. Which I can actually remember.

Reviewers often speak of being able to 'listen into' a performance. The HD accomplishes this by applying to the sound of a speaker-based system the sort of focused, almost forensic experience of using headphones. Cans achieve this by isolating the listener from external distractions. The HD? I'm struggling to comprehend how it demonstrates a grip that redefines the old name for the product genre of which it is a part: 'control units'.

What A Blast!
Every instrument, every placement of each sound possessed body, location and scale. That's a verbose way of saying '3D' but I do need to convey how thorough is the overall experience. It is almost impossible to criticise it, let alone dissect it. If anything, I could muster only one tiny concern, and that was down to the power amplifiers… or, to be more precise, tubes-vs-transistors, a feud I'd rather not re-ignite.

There is a point where a hint of coldness manifested itself when using the Momentum Stereo. I detected it with the acoustic guitars in Three Dog Night's magnificent take of 'It Ain't Easy' from the album of the same name [Dunhill X5078; 3¾ips open reel tape].

Was it disturbing, a deal-breaker, a point-lowering phenomenon? Not at all: it was no more of a 'thing' than the difference between two top cables. But the absurdity of this is that I am criticising what is actually a strength, a virtue. What it gets down to is personal preference, and I always opt for a slightly softer sonic experience. I like a bit of warmth, even if it is inaccurate.


That's by-the-by. This preamplifier has, to my ears, no rivals in dynamics nor in the bass. The tubas on the various Dukes Of Dixieland tracks blasted from the speakers with all of the force of the Salvation Army Band that performs in Canterbury on most Saturdays. I hear brass bands all the time – the HD put them in my listening room, with the mass, the power and above all the extension of the actual instruments in reality.

There is danger in using the word 'best'. But I can tell you this much: the Momentum HD is one the greatest preamps I have ever experienced. If you own a TechDAS Zero turntable, Wilson Audio WAMM Master Chronosonics, or other components of that elevated calibre, you have to hear the D'Agostino Momentum HD. It's that simple.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
There's nothing one can say about gear at this level that isn't a superlative. The D'Agostino Momentum HD is a true crème-de-la-crème component, rich with that quality which defines cost-no-object designs: a sense of no limitations, characterised by no compromises, no intrusions. It will challenge everything you own, as it demands sources and speakers in the same league. It is unabashedly magnificent.

D'Agostino LLC
Connecticut, USA
Supplied by: Absolute Sounds Ltd
0208 971 3909