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Saturday, 01 December 2001 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Adcom GFA-5802 Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction The GFA-5802 is Adcom’s most powerful amplifier at 300 watts per channel and, at $1,750, is also their most expensive. This 48-pound giant is cosmetically similar, with Its black matte finish and horizontal grooves, to other Adcom amplifiers of late. The distinguishing aesthetic mark on the GFA-5802, which is shared by other high-end Adcom products, is the small gold plate centered on the lower front of the amplifier. This plate has a toggle switch for the power, flanked by LEDs to indicate thermal overload or high distortion levels. The amplifier’s finish, while utilitarian, is well done, with no obvious tool marks. The finish features a baked-on matte black enamel, which should hold up well. Both sides of the amplifier feature large heatsinks, which eliminate the need for a cooling fan. The rear panel features balanced and single-ended inputs, as well as a switch to choose between the two. There are two sets of five-way ...
Monday, 01 October 2001 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
McIntosh MC602 Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction Pride of ownership. That was the first thought that came to mind as I unboxed the first of the three McIntosh Laboratories MC602 power amplifiers. This massive amplifier, at $8,000 is not McIntosh’s most expensive amp, but it is the most powerful in this manufacturer’s long history. The MC602 is a solid-state stereo amplifier rated at 600 watts per channel. This large amplifier weighs 155 pounds and measures 17.75 inches wide, 11 inches high and 19.6 inches deep. The front panel is dominated by two large, lighted blue meters, which are flanked by sturdy handles. Below the meters is an illuminated McIntosh logo and two knobs. The left knob controls the meters, and can be set to normal operation where the meter displays the current output in watts for that channel. The left knob also has a hold position in which the meter pauses to display peak output and a lights-off position. The right ...
Sunday, 01 April 2001 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Conrad Johnson MF2500 Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction Bill Conrad and Lew Johnson joined forces in the early 1970's to form Conrad-Johnson Design, Inc. with the goal of building high quality tubed audio preamplifiers. From the beginning Conrad Johnson was all about the sound and stayed far from the hype and flash of the high end audio industry’s hey days of that era. Conrad Johnson’s first amplifier, the MV-75 was introduced in 1978. The MV-75's success opened the doors for Conrad Johnson to become a serious contender in amplifiers as well as preamplifiers. Conrad Johnson produced its first solid state electronics in a new line called Motif. The Motif line was soon after joined by the Sonographe line to form a respectable product offering of solid state gear, from mid-level high end and up. The company continued to develop both tube and solid state gear and has used its two and a half decades of experience to bring us its latest products, ...
Friday, 01 September 2000 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Jeff Rowland Model 112 Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction Jeff Rowland Design Group makes the sexiest audio products in the world. There is no other way to put it. Milled from a solid billet of aluminum and etched with the most stunning brushed aluminum wavy pattern directly onto the amplifier, the Jeff Rowland Model 112 makes as much of a statement about your sense of design as it does your lust for accurate reproduction of sound. The Model 112 is a completely new look from Jeff Rowland Design Group, demonstrating increased value and a smaller physical size, as well as a departure from the battery design of some of their older products. The Model 112 features a unique two-tier design that isolates the amplifier section from the power supply. This serves to keep the sensitive amplifier circuitry shielded from the electrically noisy power supply. Unlike other "audiophile" amplifiers, the Rowland Model 112 avoids the temptation of breaking the amplifier into two (or four, ...
Tuesday, 01 August 2000 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Pass Laboratories X350 Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction I received a call from my wife a few months back while I was traveling on business. She said that there was a box on the porch that she couldn’t possibly budge. I soon realized that it was the awaited Pass X350 that I was to receive for review. Knowing that it was heavy, I asked her to get a neighbor to help her drag it into the house. She later called and said that it was a huge job, even with a strong male helping. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized how massive and dense this box really was. From unpacking to positioning it onto my amp stand, this was a project. It weighs about 150 lbs., but that doesn’t tell the whole story. At 19 inches wide, 22 inches deep and 10.5 inches tall, the X350 is not a small amp, but it is not the ...
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