Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity

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Home Power Amplifiers

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Power Amplifiers

Mystere pa21 Stereo Tube Power Amplifier

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Durob Audio is a company in the Netherlands that markets PrimaLuna tubed audio components, including integrated amplifiers, power amplifiers, and a CD player that has a tube-based clock. It also has a discrete output stage with triodes running in pure Class A. Conventional CD players use op-amps in the output stage. Although the tube output stage and op-amp output stage sound different, one doesn't necessarily sound "better" than the other, although tubeophiles would all opt for the "better". We reviewed the PrimaLuna DiaLogue Two integrated amplifier in December, 2009.

With the introduction of Durob Audio's Mysterè line, we now review the Mysterè pa21, which is a 55 watt per channel stereo tube power amplifier. The Mysterè line goes beyond the PrimaLuna line with larger transformers, more power supply capacitance, and an auto-bias circuit that lets the consumer choose between using KT88's or EL34's as the output tubes.

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Bryston 14B SST2 Stereo 600 Watt per Channel Power Amplifier

bryston-14b-sst2-power-amplifier-teaser

Bryston, renown manufacturer of amplifiers with a 20 year warranty, markets products with a full gamut of power output ranges. The 14B SST2 is a stereo power amplifier rated at 600 watts per channel output into 8 ohms. That's a lot of power. Is all that power useful? Is it necessary? Read our review and discover.

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Bryston 4B SST2 Stereo Power Amplifier

Bryston 4B SST2 C-SERIES

Bryston Ltd. is a Canadian company which has been designing and manufacturing audio equipment for over 35 Years. While there are many companies competing in their market, Bryston's gear is coveted by enthusiasts and professionals alike. They have earned the reputation of providing bullet-proof reliability, high performance and value. Byston's value is not due to a bargain basement price. It's the sound and their 20 year guarantee of high performance that can make a Bryston purchase a value. This remarkable warranty speaks to Bryston's confidence in their own quality standards, and it is definitely the exception versus the rule in the A/V industry.

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Emotiva UPA-5 Five-Channel Power Amplifier

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Over the past decade, a lot has changed on receivers that we buy for home. We've gone from S-Video to Component to HDMI for video, replaced 6 RCA cables for 5.1 audio with a single digital cable, to having it integrated in the HDMI signal along with video. Receivers have added all sorts of new functions with better on screen menus, room correction, Ethernet ports for streaming media and firmware upgrades, and we have also moved from 5.1 channel audio, to 6.1, then 7.1, and now all the way to 9.1 or greater when using Dolby ProLogic IIz or Audyssey DSX. However, one thing on receivers has barely changed when I look back over the spec sheets: weight.

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Pass Labs XA30.5 Stereo Power Amplifier

Pass Labs XA30.5 Stereo Power Amplifier

What do a 30 watt stereo solid-state amplifier and a 500 watt solid-state monoblock have in common? A lot, it turns out. The seemingly diminutive Pass Labs XA30.5 weighs 75 pounds, has an enormous toroidal power transformer, and uses 20 output transistors to deliver 30 watts of pure class A power. It turns out these specs are similar, or in some cases, better than my recently reviewed Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks. The XA30.5 proves that rated power is by no means everything. In fact, if you have speakers of even moderately high sensitivity, the XA30.5 renders any discussion of power output irrelevant. When paired with the right speakers, this may be one of the best amplifiers there is, regardless of price.

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Bryston 9B SST2 Multi-channel Amplifier

bryston-9b-sst2-power-amplifier-teaser

Bryston is known for building some of the most sought-after, powerful and dependable amplifiers in the business. For over 40 years, they have provided an incredible 20 year transferable warranty, practically unheard of in this or any industry. If you find one (that is if you can find one) on the used market, chances are it will still be under warranty. Their rare appearance on the used market has as much to do with their sound quality and dependable (high) power delivery as it does with their warranty. Here, we review their 9B SST2, which is a five-channel (5 x 140 watts) power amplifier.

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Bel Canto S500 Stereo Power Amplifier

Bel Canto S500 Power Amplifier

Let me first state "I like this amp, I really do." What does "Class A, A/B, D, ICEpower" mean to the average audiophile? Will there be an audible benefit by upgrading to the newer technology? If I am making an initial purchase will this technology satisfy me? Does the amp du jour really make a difference in the listening experience for the average listener?

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PrimaLuna DiaLogue Seven Tube Monoblock Power Amplifier

primaluna-dialogue-seven-amplifier-teaser

PrimaLuna is a Dutch-based company that released its first products, the ProLogue One and ProLogue Two integrated tube amplifiers in 2003. Then, in 2006, they released the ProLogue Three preamplifier, and ProLogue Five, Six, and Seven power amplifiers. Late in that same year, the PrimaLuna DiaLogue series hit the market, which had the DiaLogue's basic features, but with upgraded parts and additional capabilities. Here, we review the DiaLogue Seven, which is a monoblock power amplifier, capable of delivering 40 watts RMS in triode mode, and 70 watts RMS in ultra-linear mode (see review for an explanation of what this means). The bottom line is that the PrimaLuna DiaLogue Seven monoblock is more than capable of delivering a clean, detailed, and lush sound (ah, those tubes are responsible for that).

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Emotiva XPA-1 Monoblock Power Amplifier

Emotiva XPA-1 Monoblock Power Amplifier

ADDENDUM - 4/1/09 I (JEJ) was so impressed with Chris' review of the XPA-1 (published in January, 2009), I asked Emotiva to send me one so I could run some of my own tests. I borrowed a different power amplifier from a friend that cost more than 6 times the price of the XPA-1, which I will call Amplifier "X" here. I ran the same tests on both amplifiers. Click on the photo to see the results (go to Page 4: Emotiva XPA-1 On the Bench, and my results are down near the bottom of the page).

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Rotel RMB-1575 Five-Channel Class D Power Amplifier

Rotel RMB-1575

Class D switching amplifiers are more and more common. Manufactures have made great strides in overcoming the high-frequency shortcomings found in the early models. Rotel in particular has been involved with this technology for a few years, with a significant portion of their line-up now using this.

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Emotiva XPA-2 Stereo Power Amplifier

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Everyone would like a "good deal" in the world of audio, but there's usually a lot of skepticism involved because of the tendency for such products to be made with cheaper components and outsourced labor.

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