Stereo

Mark Levinson No585 Integrated Amplifier Review

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.

NewClear Audio NC1000L Class D Stereo Power Amplifier

Class D (i.e., "Switching") amplifiers have been around for quite a while now. What's clear from models produced so far is they all sound different, even when using the same core technology. Like many amplifiers of the type, the NewClear NC1000L uses the Bang and Olufsen ICEPower module. What makes the NC1000L different isn't this module; it's how that module is implemented. NewClear Audio was started by Sean Brady to improve upon the sound of existing switching amplifiers. Sean had heard some very good amps based on ICEPower technology, but thought he could do even better. The question is, does the NC1000L deliver the goods compared to similarly priced, traditional Class A/B amplifiers?

B&W CM10 Floor-Standing Speakers

B&W 601S2s were the first loudspeaker I ever bought for myself. Charged on a credit card in college, and beyond what I should have spent, they wound up saving me hundreds of dollars in the long run. With their intoxicating sound, far beyond anything I'd owned before, I'd spend hours listening to them. With a 300-disc CD changer and a La-Z-Boy recliner, many nights and weekends were spent listening to albums uninterrupted. As soon as the new CM10 tower speaker was introduced, I set out to spend some quality time with it and return to where the audiophile in me was born.

Krell S-550i Integrated Amplifier

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.

Linn Audio Athenaeum Horn Speakers

Horn speakers have been around nearly a century. They were used in movie theaters when the films became "talkies", and their advantage is that they are extremely efficient, which is good, because the power amplifiers in the theaters during the 1930's were very low powered. Linn Audio has built horn speakers for several decades, but most hi-fi enthusiasts may never have heard a horn speaker. They are characterized by wonderful, effortless midrange. The Linn Audio Athenaeum horn speakers are reviewed here.

NAD D 3020 Hybrid Digital Stereo Amplifier

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.

Bryston 28BSST2 Monoblock Power Amplifier

Lately I had been sampling the Bryston Mini T Bookshelf speakers with my reference amp, a modest Marantz Integrated, and though they matched well I wondered how they would fare with some serious Bryston power behind them. So when Bryston offered up some 28BSST2 's for review I had one stipulation: let me try them with the Mini T's.

Pass Labs INT-30A Pure Class A Integrated Stereo 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 INT-150 Integrated Stereo Amplifier

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.

Bryston BP17 Stereo Preamplifier

Bryston is the only high-end audio company I know of that offers a 20 year warranty on its products. They manufacture some very expensive preamps and power amps, but even the least expensive product carries that warranty. Why? Because they have massive build quality. The BP17 stereo preamplifier exemplifies that approach, and it is in the middle of their preamplifier line-up, which includes the BP6 and BP26.

Pass Labs XP-10 Stereo Preamplifier

 In the past, we reviewed the Pass Labs XP-20 and XP-30 stereo preamplifiers. Now, we come full circle with a review of the remaining member of their preamplifier trio, the XP-10, which is the least expensive model. It is fully balanced, and has a slightly different sound character compared to the other two, which also sound different from one another. All three are great products, so you can choose based on price and/or sound characteristics.