- Written by Piero Gabucci
- Published on 08 November 2007
<--On the Bench: The H6550 delivered 18.97 volts into 8 ohms (each channel) at 1% THD+N (defined as clipping), which is 45 watts. At 5 volts into 8 ohms, and 1 kHz, THD+N was 0.32%. The measured frequency response was 20 Hz - 30 kHz ± 1 dB.-->
The H6550 is so quiet (no audible hum or hiss), I was astonished. It was dead silent when the volume was completely turned up (without a CD playing, of course).
Andrew Manze and The English Concert's Mozart 3 Violin Concertos is a wonderful recording, and I was very interested in the performance of the lighter strings. This disc is superbly emotional; the Melody sound grabs your senses and thoroughly engages the music. Track 5 "Andante cantabile" is sufficiently soft when the solo violin plays, yet robust with the full ensemble. Spatially, the H6550 holds the solo violin in its prominent position, center forward.
What the ONIX offers is a very controlled and neutral sound in the sense that it might appeal to a vast number of listeners. Don't expect extreme detail in the upper midrange. Do expect smoothness and effortless playback however.
Although cliché is to refer to a tube amplifier sound as "warm", the concern is warm turns into dark – this is not so with the H6550. I enjoy René Marie's voice, and her Serene Renegade is a reference CD for me. This recording is very live-sounding in that her voice seems unexpurgated by the digital process. Her lips puckering, her lungs filling with air before she bellows a note – the ONIX truly delivers her voice. Tonal quality is dead on and once again absolutely engaging.
I don't need much of an excuse to pull out the CD Miles Davis Kind of Blue. John Coltrane's tenor saxophone is so wonderfully isolated, the impression is he's playing in the room with the CD - breath and soundstage from the H6550 is chilling.
I was curious about Sting's new CD Songs from the Labyrinth – an interpretation of Elizabethan songwriter John Dowland, a 16th Century English composer. Although I don't quite understand Sting's need to express himself in this music, I did find some of the tracks extremely pleasant. The CD's centerpiece is the use of an Archlute – an Italian renaissance instrument with up to 14 strings, a second pegbox for additional bass strings. Track 7, "The Battle of Galliard", is an instrumental, and if you're a fan of stringed instruments, regardless of its Renaissance flavor, the music is purely magical. The ONIX reveals a deep richness to this instrument, and I was mesmerized by the warm wood resonance.