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Sunday, 01 December 2002 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Parasound HALO A 23 Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction Parasound has been producing high-quality audio components at a reasonable price for over 20 years. The new HALO line represents a dramatic improvement in both appearance and performance for Parasound. The HALO series represents a departure from Parasound’s traditional black box styling and is clad in a silver brushed metal finish. Each component in the series has a groove, forming an accent line across the bottom portion of each unit. The end caps of each front panel are slightly off-color from the panel itself. Each of the HALO components has a red "P" at the top center that lights up when power is present. I give the front panel the utter coolness award for its faint blue light emanating from behind the buttons which forms like its namesake -- a halo effect. The T 3 retails for $600 and is a full-featured tuner, measuring 17" inches, by four-and-one-eighth inches in height, 13" inches ...
Tuesday, 01 October 2002 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Rogue Audio Eighty-Eight Magnum Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction Rogue Audio is a fairly new company in the world of high-end tube audio gear. Formed in 1994 by Mark O’Brien, who remains involved with the company as its president and head designer, Rogue Audio strives to provide reasonably priced, high-quality tube gear. A review of the Rogue Audio components reveals that the company spends its time and resources on items that will improve sound quality and not on gingerbread that is unlikely to be used often by audio enthusiasts. The Rogue Audio Eighty-Eight Magnum power amplifier is a good example of Rogue Audio’s efforts to provide high-quality sound, without frills, at a very fair price. The Eighty-Eight Magnum amplifier retails for $1,995, only $400 more than the non-Magnum version. The Rogue products can all be purchased in their regular versions, or for a small increase in price, the Magnum version with upgraded parts reminiscent of a "The Parts Connection" upgrade kit. Rogue Audio ...
Sunday, 01 September 2002 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Linn Klimax Twin Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction Linn has been designing and manufacturing ultra-high performance electronic components for over 30 years. Historically, it was the venerable Linn Sondek LP12, a turntable that revolutionized the high-end vinyl market forever. In 1998, Linn introduced the Sondek CD12, a lofty $20,000 CD player that I reviewed in October 2001. I concluded at the time that it was the best-sounding player that I had heard. To date, even with SACD and DVD-Audio fighting for high-resolution audio prominence, the Linn CD12 is still king of the hill. In 1998, Linn introduced their Klimax Solo amplifiers, a touted component that paved the way for a more affordable reference amplifier, the Linn Klimax Twin. The Linn Klimax Twin is a stereo power amplifier that produces 125 watts of power into eight ohms, and 230 Watts into four ohms. Its ultra-compact size measures 13-3/4 inches in width, 14 inches in depth and a slim two-and-one-quarter-inches in height, weighing a ...
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 ...
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