Integrated Amplifiers

Pioneer PD-D6MK2 SACD Player and SX-A9MK2 Integrated Amplifier

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

Now let me explain right up front that I still prefer multi-channel sound. However, with that said, I have now developed a greater appreciation for stereo again after a few weeks of auditioning this combo. An appreciation that I had lost over the last few years from listening to music in the round. With Direct mode selected, my Revel F12s sounded fantastic.

I was so used to letting a sub carry the low end that I had forgotten how wonderful a set of full range speakers can sound on their own. In fact, the first thing I noticed was how tight the bass sounded. Low and clean. Yes, perhaps not as low as when supplemented with my Velodyne sub, but still, low, tight and life-like. Remember, speakers can only sound their best when fed from a good source.

Of the many discs I played, a few are noteworthy for specific sound quality. Most of the Telarc discs are mastered with superior sound, whether in CD and SACD formats.

Pioneer PD-D6MK2 SACD player and SX-A9MK2 integrated amplifier

The Planets by Holst, provides a broad spectrum of sounds from full orchestral crescendos (Mars: The Bringer of War) to the pianissimo tinkling of the harp and bells (Uranus: The Magician), all of which were reproduced with beauty, warmth and good dynamics. The soundstage was expansive, albeit in the front of the room and not all around me.

Pioneer PD-D6MK2 SACD player and SX-A9MK2 integrated amplifier

Spiral by Hiromi, was a SACD that offered aggressive surround mixing with drums, bass, piano and synthesizer that still came across musically even in two channel mode. The soundstage was well placed across the front of my room. Small details were still easily distinguishable. My impression of the G-Clef combo was that it favored the midrange and had good heft in the low end. There was no evidence of harshness or over the top sizzle. Vocals were portrayed smoothly and naturally. In general, I was very pleased with "plain old" stereo sound.

Pioneer PD-D6MK2 SACD player and SX-A9MK2 integrated amplifier

Jacques Lousier Trio's Best of Play Bach, which transcribes Bach gems in a jazz arraignments, also sounded very good. The plucked doublebass had weight and definition while the piano flourishes had a sparkling sound with nice resonance and decay. Overall, the G-Clef combo sounded great and cast a solid sound stage. This Bach swings! I know I was enjoying the music as much as the performers. (Thank you Pioneer for reminding me of what I have been neglecting lately).

In summation, I was quite pleased with this SACD Player/Integrated Stereo Amplifier combination. Clean, articulate sound, with deep bass.