Paravicini 312 Preamp and M100A Monoblocks The Bigger Picture

The Bigger Picture

It was with some concern that word reached me about the EAR M100A, prior to the amps even arriving. Fair enough, Tim de Paravicini has antagonised the odd individual in the past, but to learn that some were attributing to the mighty M100A an output of only 10W before clipping struck me as particularly bizarre. Tim may be a lot of things, but a purveyor of gutless amps he is not. More to the point, I refuse to believe that any amp that can drive the Apogee Scintilla – in 1ohm mode to some 102dB at 2m with no audible distortion – to be capable of yielding only 10W. And in normal listening with other speakers, the meters on the front of the amp were of little use, as I barely got them into the red, ie, over an indicated 10W, because it was simply too loud for me. Accuse me of lacking faith, but merely driving the 1ohm/82dB Apogee, 6ohm/86dB Wharfedale Diamond 8.1, 8ohm/85dB Spendor S3, plus original Quad ESLs, assorted LS3/5AS and Sonus faber Guarneri to levels which nearly threatened their existence wasn't enough evidence.

Even though a simple calculator and an SPL meter would prove the delivery of more than 10W, still I confronted Tim and had him bring along, when he collected the monsters, a slew of test equipment. Tim arrived with an oscilloscope, signal generators, a 200W/8ohm dummy load, and fistfuls of cables. Arms flailing, a dervish in full flight, he hooked it all up, twiddled with knobs, fed it some signal, cranked the loud button all the way around to Armageddon. The result? Before my very eyes, 107W before any trace of clipping. The lesson? Where there's smoke, there's not necessarily fire.