Luxury audio manufacturer Mark Levinson continues to roll out new and upgraded products all the time. In this case, they have taken a very successful platform in the No585 integrated amplifier and made significant improvements to it. The result is the improved and upgraded No585.5 integrated amp which now features a built-in high fidelity phono stage.
Monitor Audio’s Airstream A100 integrated DAC amplifier combines an AirPlay streaming receiver, DAC, remote-controlled preamp, and high-performance Class AB amplifier in a compact and stylish package.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Emotiva is a U.S. based Internet-direct manufacturer, known primarily for their high-power solid-state amplifiers. However, Emotiva makes other products, including three different lines of speakers, and several subwoofers. In this case, we review the X-Ref subwoofer, which has a 12" driver and 600 watts of amplifier power, all at a very reasonable price.
Well, sooner or later, I figured I would get around to purchasing one of the cymbals forged by specialty cymbal smiths who make them by hand, one at a time. Matt Nolan, of the UK, is a very well known and respected cymbal smith, and I have been browsing various websites to find one of his cymbals that I would like to have. So, I chanced upon this beauty, which is a 22" heavy bronze ride cymbal, weighing 3583 grams (7.9 pounds). I purchased it for $500.
Recently the external DAC has made a bit of a comeback in popularity. While they were once most commonly paired with a digital transport, now you're more likely to see them hooked up as part of a home media server. With disk space now cheap enough that anyone can keep their entire collection archived in a lossless format, and even keep a backup copy of it around, people are using their PC to serve up their audio collection. However, getting the most out of that lossless archive has been a challenge for many as most computer sound cards left much to be desired in the audio quality realm. In this review, we cover the Wyred4Sound DAC-2 and STI-500 Integrated Stereo Amplifier.
The bell of a cymbal contributes much more to the sound than one migh realize. Nowhere is this more illustrated that in a cymbal that has no bell, such as this 20" Meinl Byzance Jazz Club Ride. It has a dry, light ping that is perfect for small club venues. It has four rivets that add a subtle note to the wash which is very intense compared to the ride ping.