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Monday, 20 September 2010 ,  Written by Andre Marc
McIntosh MA6600 Integrated Amplifier Review
McIntosh Labs was founded in the 1940's by Frank McIntosh and incorporated in 1949. Since then, the company has gone through its ups and downs, but it is still here today producing incredibly built amplifiers, preamplifiers, source components, speakers, and even high end car audio.  Through out the years, McInstosh has been responsible for many innovations in high end audio, and even owns numerous patents.McIntosh tube amplifiers produced in the 1950's and 1960's are legendary. They also produced state of the art tuners that collectors still salivate over.  To this day, the company enjoys a devoted following. McIntosh has been known for so many things over the years, including high prices, stunning aesthetics, and an air of exclusivity. But one thing above all could never be denied, and that is McIntosh products always sounded outstanding, as underneath it all, they ...
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Trends Audio Mini Component Combo Review
Trends Audio is a Hong Kong based high end audio company that is interested in making music lovers and Hi-Fi aficionados in our neck of the woods aware of their product line. They make mini size components which have been positively reviewed across the web. Some of their products feature cutting edge technologies and some even bask in retro coolness. Readers can see my review of the PA-10 tube Preamp & Headphone amplifier combo here (LINK); which I enjoyed immensely. The subject of this review is a complete Trends Audio desktop or tabletop "mini system".This system is comprised of the PA-10, the TA-10 "Class T" integrated/power amp, the UD 10.1 USB DAC, and the PW-10 PSU power supply that supplies current to all three components, except the USB DAC when connected to a PC or laptop. The cost for the ...
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Perreaux Eloquence 150i Integrated Amplifier Review
In years past, I’ve usually rolled with an integrated amplifier. Reasons included less space, fewer cables, tons of inputs, conveniences like headphone jacks, remote controls, and even subwoofer connectivity. But there are integrated amps and there are integrated amps.  I was in the budget component and midfi camp during my college days.  At that point, integrated amps were not known for being state of the art. Things have changed quite a bit since then. Integrated amplifiers have approached, if not crossed into the state of the art. Most exalted high end audio manufacturers are currently offering battleship integrated amps along side their flagship separates. Many designers are even offering built in world class phono stages, Digital Audio Converters and digital inputs.It has been a number of years since I have had any experience with a high grade integrated amp in ...
Monday, 01 February 2010 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Hegel H100 Integrated Amplifier Review
Integrated amplifiers have come a long way in the last three decades. For years, they've had a reputation (deserved or not) as sonically inferior to separate preamp and power amp setups. Naysayers  argue any component containing pre-amp and power amp modules is subject to cross-talk and bound to introduce unwanted noise and distortion into the signal chain. Still, an integrated's advantages – lower cost, space saving and fewer connections – make it a popular choice for music lovers faced with budget and/or room constraints. I believe most audiophiles would prefer stereo separates, but it's tough to go wrong with a well-designed integrated amplifier serving as heart of an audio system. And well-designed describes Hegel Audio's H100 integrated amplifier, a 120-watt  designed to trounce distortion. Hailing from Oslo, Norway, the H100 is Hegel's entry-level amp. Though its $3,000 asking price may ...
Wednesday, 23 December 2009 ,  Written by Todd Whitesel
Electrocompaniet PI-2 Prelude Integrated Amplifier Review
The southwest of Norway is a region best known for its rugged coastal scenery. Consult any travel guide of the region and you'll be lavished with descriptions of towering fjords and images of landscapes almost indescribably beautiful. It's unlikely you'll read anything about transient intermodulation distortion (TIM), why it's bad for audio and how one company operating in the little village of Tau, Norway, has been on a mission for more than 35 years to make sure you don't have to hear about TIM, in the most literal sense. That company is Electrocompaniet, an early leader in research and developing solid-state gear that addressed the problems of distortion unique to that design, when previously the audio world was ruled by tubes. Electrocompaniet managing director and CEO Mikal Dreggevik relates, “Electrocompaniet introduced their first amplifier more than 30 years ago. That ...
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