Pre/Power Amplifiers

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Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  May 06, 2009
I love the design of Classé’s Delta series products. The beefy build, curved fascias and contrasting silver and dark colours make for an extremely cool look. Add in a colour LCD screen as a display and source monitor, a remote control handset hewn from an aluminium ingot and Classé’s audiophile heritage, and the new SSP-800 processor is one of the most desirable pieces of multichannel lushness available today. I want one, can you tell? Some two years in the making and coming to market with a price tag around the £5000 mark puts this beast up against the Denon AVP-A1HD.
Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Apr 17, 2009
You might be surprised to see Leema launching a massive £20,000-plus amplifier combination now, hard on the heels of its lower-cost Pulse and Stream models. But as with everything this company does, there’s a logical progression. The Pyxis/Altair IV combination forms the heart of Leema’s long-considered reference series. ‘We needed to produce our reference system,’ says Mallory, ‘and from the outset it was always going to be monoblocks.
Ken Kessler & Paul Miller  |  Apr 06, 2009
Back after a hiatus of nearly a decade, Trilogy’s founder Nic Poulson has returned to amp manufacture, having spent the interim producing mains filters and regenerators. Both the promise and the standards of Trilogy ‘Mk I’ have been maintained in the rebirth, but with new twists, including microprocessor control. Poulson has revived Trilogy with three models, continuing the 900-nomenclature of the 1990s units. The 909 preamplifier will most amuse the tweaker because it’s all-valve, using three ECC88/6922s and a 6U4P rectifier, but it boasts features usually found in cutting-edge solid-state products, or valve exotica from the likes of VTL, McIntosh and other American makers.
Ken Kessler & Paul Miller  |  Mar 06, 2009
Americans have this phrase – probably politically incorrect – for those areas you never hear about. They call them the ‘flyover states’, a perfect description for anywhere that isn’t New York, California or Florida. Which is not to say that places like North Dakota, Idaho or Nebraska are totally without charm. They’re just not on everyone’s radar.
Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Feb 06, 2009
There cannot be many words more overworked than ‘classic’. Sometimes it means a previous model, kept in production ‘by popular demand’, perhaps because the new replacement model doesn’t quite cut it. Sometimes it means a new emulation of an old and once successful product, which may bear little real resemblance to a famous forebear. Conrad-johnson’s website straightforwardly lists all its discontinued models as ‘Classic Products’.
Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Feb 06, 2009
Reacquaintance can be a fraught affair, as anyone who has met an old lover after many years will attest. You risk either discovering that you are still in love with them, which is usually bad news, or wondering whatever attracted you in the first place. Neither outcome is good for the ego. It’s much the same when revisiting an audio product.
Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  Jan 17, 2009
There is something about the Italian high-end that gets my juices flowing. It’s the style, the grace, the sheer passion that goes into the design – and the absolute certainty that there will flaws of epic, forehead slapping proportion. Exhibit A – the Audia Flight Pre remote control. Utterly gorgeous, CNC-machined from an aluminium billet and offering an innovative multifunction interface that keeps the button count to a luxurious minimum.
Andy Whittle and Paul Miller  |  Jan 06, 2009
Flying mole – now there’s an interesting name that would appear to fly against the face of convention. In this case, it’s the convention of Class A/B transistor amps and thermionic devices that glow in the dark. I am not even certain that they have moles in Japan. I’ve been to Tokyo a number of times and haven’t seen moles on the menu, so can only assume that they do not.
Review: Ian Harris, Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 22, 2022  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2003
hfnvintageIan Harris and Paul Miller hear the amps that crown MF's 20th anniversary

The kW and kWP are the final models in Musical Fidelity's 20th anniversary Tri-Vista series, and are intended to be the ultimate expression of the company's skills as amplifier builders. In contrast to the nominally 'real world' SACD player and integrated amp, the pre and power amps have been built on a totally cost-no-object basis – to borrow MF's own words, they're 'simply the very best we can do'.

Review: Ken Kessler  |  Apr 15, 2022  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2003
hfnvintageThe British company has unveiled a system with the same stunning livery as its highly successful DAC64. Ken Kessler reaches for the blue yonder

Sometimes manufacturers do listen! After Chord Electronics' DAC64 proved to be such an immediate hit, the company decided to figure out why everyone fell in love with it. Sure, it sounded wonderful. Yes, it had neat features like balanced and single-ended operation and its three-setting, user-adjustable RAM buffering. But that wasn't it.

Ken Kessler  |  Mar 23, 2021  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1997
hfnvintageClassic tubes meet modern tech in the £30,000 Project T-1 monoblocks. Is this Marantz's ultimate amplifier, asks an awestruck Ken Kessler

Contemplating the Project T-1 power amplifiers from Marantz, I realise that nothing in hi-fi should surprise us any more. If, in 1990, someone had told you that, by 1997, the hi-fi community would be clamouring for single-ended triodes and horn systems, that Quad and McIntosh and Marantz would reissue their valve classics, that Mobile Fidelity would open a new LP pressing plant and that Krell and Audio Research would introduce integrated amps, you'd have had that someone committed.

Ken Kessler  |  Feb 24, 2022  |  First Published: Mar 01, 1992
hfnvintageThe irrepressible Antony Michaelson is at it again, with pre and power amps from Michaelson Audio and Musical Fidelity. Ken Kessler listens

Upon my taking delivery of the review samples of Da Vinci, about which I was warned in mid-summer 1991, company founder Antony Michaelson launched into his usual tirade about the high-end, with barrels of venom for American ballbuster amps in particular.

Martin Colloms  |  Jul 30, 2019  |  First Published: Mar 01, 1990
Martin Colloms hears the ultimate amplifier system from one of audio's elite names: the No26/No20.5 pre/power duo and No25 phono stage

Since acquiring the Mark Levinson Audio Systems company five years ago, Madrigal Labs has pursued an evolving research programme, generating improved circuits and product designs. The result is that current MLAS products now have an importance comparable with the original brand's landmark designs.

Ken Kessler  |  Apr 26, 2019  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1989
Few specialist Japanese valve amps ever leave Honshu, so as the Air Tight ATC-1 and ATM-1 finally hit British shores, Ken Kessler is on standby...

For the past four years, I've been waiting impatiently for a stab at the electronics from Air Tight. I admit that the charm of the name, the absolute perfection of that moniker for a brand of valve amplifiers, caught my attention as much as did the obviously exquisite manufacture. The price, too, appealed, considering that these amplifiers promised peerless construction and attention to detail you just don't find this side west of a Jadis. At last there's a UK importer, so my wait is over.

Ken Kessler  |  Apr 24, 2020  |  First Published: Apr 24, 1986
hfnvintageKen Kessler takes delivery of the Audio Research SP-11 preamplifier

The time is early June, and let us imagine that this issue has been on the stands for two weeks. Editorial secretary Jennifer Scotland walks to where I am sitting and dumps a pile of letters on my desk. The angry correspondence has arrived.

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