Mark Levinson is beginning to roll out new products that are being developed at their new state of the art R & D facility located in Shelton, Conn. The No585 integrated amplifier is among the first of those products. It is a large and quite powerful integrated amplifier with a built-in DAC capable of decoding LPCM signals up to 32-bit/192 kHz or DSD signals up to 5.6 MHz. It is also compatible with asynchronous USB data from your Mac or PC.
Raven Audio is a relatively new company that makes high-end tube preamps, integrated amps, and power amps. They sell them direct, through their website. In this review, we take a look at the Nighthawk MK2, which is an integrated amplifier. It comes in a silver colored baked enamel. With solid aluminum handles, a folded carbon steel chassis and solid aluminum remote, the overall solid feel of quality construction was undeniable. The sound was a tubeophile’s dream.
With their new, fully-digital integrated amplifier, the TDAI-2170, Lyngdorf Audio squarely targets the "iPod Generation" by taking the familiarity and ease of use oft associated with the ubiquitous portable player and combining it with true audiophile sound; all beautifully executed in a clean, sleek package.
The S-550i is the larger of two new integrated amps from Krell. Both of these amps feature circuit boards that utilize surface mount components. This means they can pack more power into smaller chassis than ever before. The S-550i is rated at 275 watts per channel into 8 ohms, and that doubles to 550 wpc into a 4 ohm load. This being from a box that is less than 6 inches tall. So now you can get tons of Krell goodness in a small package and at a very affordable price.
1983. The compact disc is introduced and record companies everywhere rejoice at the prospect of selling everyone worse sounding versions of music they already own. The universe, however, seeks a balance. The same year, Naim unleashes the first Nait integrated amplifier and the product category is never the same. The runtish, low-powered amplifier was controversial on many fronts, but its astonishing degree of musicality was never in dispute. The Naim Supernait 2 integrated amplifier does not deviate from their unique path that began more than three decades ago.
Marantz is one of the legendary names in audio and has remained a brand noted for high quality audio devices from power amplifiers to CD/SACD players, integrated amplifiers, home theater receivers and processors. The PM6005 integrated amp and CD6005 CD player are part of Marantz' Slim Line components and are updated versions of the PM 6004 integrated amplifier and CD 6004 CD player reviewed by Secrets' writer Jared Rachwalski in May, 2012.
When I left home for college in 1984, I brought my stereo system along. It consisted of a Kenwood receiver, Technics turntable, and a pair of Fisher 3-way speakers. After discovering a few high-end stereo shops in Boston, and having my turntable set up properly; I started shopping for a better amp. My meager funding ruled out separates but the proprietor of a small hi-fi shop pointed me to that now-familiar brown box. I returned to my dorm room clutching a brand-new NAD 3020, for which I believe I paid around $220. My reward was the cleanest sound I'd ever heard, bar none. I used that amp all through college and probably for another 10 years after. Today, NAD has recreated this amazing product for the digital age. Where we once relied on vinyl and ferrous tape, now it's all about bits and bytes. The timeless philosophy of clean high-quality sound, versatile operation, and a low price has now given birth to the all-new D 3020 Hybrid Digital Amplifier.
Recently, we reviewed the Pass Labs INT-150 integrated amplifier, which is biased into Class A at about 5 watts, and leaves Class A into Class AB at 10 watts peak. It is a superb integrated amplifier. The INT-150's brother, the INT-30A integrated amplifier, is Pure Class A throughout its 30 watt output (into 8 ohms) specification. Chris Eberle originally reviewed the INT-30A in 2012, and in this review, I compare the INT-30A with the INT-150, and add bench tests which were not in Chris' review.
Pass Labs is renown for their high end preamplifiers and power amplifiers, but they also have integrated amplifiers as well, which include the INT-30A and the INT-150. Here, we review the INT-150, which, as you can imagine from the model number, outputs 150 watts x 2 (into 8 ohms). It has the same massive build quality as the other Pass components I have reviewed, and also, its own distinctive sound, as I have found with the others.
NAD launched its first direct digital amplifier, the M2, almost three years ago. As we have come to expect in audio and technology generally, however, it is never long before the state of the art trickles down to more modestly-priced products.
If you look at the specs of most stereo integrated amplifiers, the rated RMS power output is between 60 watts and 120 watts per channel. This is lower than the power output of outboard power amplifiers, which typically are about 125 watts to 300 watts per channel. Monoblocks go all the way up to 2,000 watts output. One of the main reasons for this is that in an integrated power amplifier, the preamplifier circuit is situated very close to the power amplifier. Keeping the high voltage, high current power amplifier signal from inducting noise into the preamplifier circuit is difficult. NAD apparently has solved this problem with the introduction of their M3 Integrated Amplifier, which has a rated output of 180 watts per channel, at 0.004% THD+N, and clipping (1% THD+N) at 220 watts.
Ming Da is company based in China that exports tube preamplifiers, power amplifiers, and integrated amplifiers in various price ranges, including some very high end models. They sell direct, through Pacific Valve, rather than through dealers, so you really get a good bang for the buck. In this review, my first of a Pacific Valve product, is on the MD-75, which is a stereo integrated amplifier. It has a detached power supply for low noise and interference, a remote for the motorized volume control, and you can switch between triode mode (40 watts/channel output) and ultra-linear mode (75 watts/channel output). You can "tube roll" if you wish, and the review unit came with optional Black Treasure CV-181 driver tubes and Black Treasure KT88 output tubes.
One very nice feature of this product is that, when you turn it on, the volume control rotates to the lowest volume setting, so you don't accidentally start playing music at a volume that might startle you.
Harman Kardon HK 990 Stereo Integrated Amplifier with Digital Room Correction and Dual Subwoofer Bass Management – Part III
Circuit design and the tape recorder section are the focus of the final section of my HK 990 review. The topics are addressed to different groups. Those interested in the tape recorder section will find information on Page 9. The tape recorder interface section outlines matters of connectivity and usage.
Harman Kardon HK 990 Stereo Integrated Amplifier with Digital Room Correction and Dual Subwoofer Bass Management – Part II
This second part of the HK 990 review examines the signal flows in the HK 990 dual-domain integrated amplifier. This analysis is relevant to all units, including modem AVRs, with a DSP signal processing unit in the main signal path. The signal flow is more transparent in this stereo unit than a 7.1 multichannel unit; so, if you are interested in AVR, please stay tuned in to Part II.
Harman Kardon HK 990 Stereo Integrated Amplifier with Digital Room Correction and Dual Subwoofer Bass Management – Part I
The HK 990 is a truly unique stereo component. It is a dual domain device capable of accepting analog or digital inputs, converting domains as required, and sending the results to the speaker.