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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 ...
Saturday, 01 July 2000 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Audio Research VT100 Mk II Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction The Audio Research VT100 Mk II is a 100 watt all tube, balanced stereo power amplifier which retails for $4995. It uses two matched pairs of 6550 output tubes per channel, and four 6922 twin triode tubes per channel. It also incorporates a fully regulated, 540-joule power supply, distributed between two separate, isolated output circuit boards, thus creating short signal paths and true "dual mono" operation back to the main power transformer. The VT100 Mk II is a fully balanced amplifier, which offers both balanced and single ended connections. When using single ended inputs, shorting pins are inserted into the XLR connectors. There is a choice of 4 and 8 ohm speaker connections. I was first taken by the overall look of the amp. I confess that I have had a fetish for the look of Audio Research gear for years. I just think AR gear looks cool. It has always looked rugged yet glamorously simple. Setup ...
Monday, 01 May 2000 ,  Written by Kim Wilson
Sharp SM-SX100 Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction A fact of life in the high-end world is that amplifiers are heavy, obtrusive square chassis with massive heat sinks. However, that is about to change with the release of Sharp’s SM-SX100 1-bit amplifier. The stylish silver chassis with colored accents looks more like an executive shelf component than the 100-watt 2 channel, $15,000 amplifier that delivers clean, unaltered sound, bringing digital technology to what was once a purely analog product. The SM-SX100 is rated with an amazing frequency response of 5 – 100 kHz. Okay, we mere humans can’t hear much above 18 kHz (if we’re lucky), but the extended range ensures a flat response throughout the audible range and a reproduction range commonly associated with analog signals. It is capable of driving a speaker with an 18-inch woofer, yielding devastating subsonic frequencies, while driving the tweeter and midrange effortlessly. Dynamic range is measured at 105 dB, though the theoretical dynamic range associated with ...
Friday, 01 May 1998 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Sunfire Signature Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction He actually signs the amp. Yes, Bob Carver with golden ink, hence the name `Signature Amp.' This means he touched it, tested it, and each limited edition Sunfire Signature Amp ($3000 USD) meets Bob Carver's personal specifications for performance. And that's pretty cool. In an industry of pushing boxes, from "amp of the month," magazines it is refreshing to see a few companies still care to obsess over every detail. The Sunfire Signature Amp is a monstrous 600 watt stereo amp that has the ability to drive practically any load, from any speaker or speaker/subwoofer combo on the market. The Signature Amps' reported specs are impressive...way down at one ohm, Sunfire claims and almost unbelievable output of 4000 watts. This, I had to hear to believe, because in all of my years in high end audio I still can't hear graphs or stats. I can only hear music. I started my listening test with ...
Sunday, 01 June 1997 ,  Written by Michael Fuschi
Magnum Audio MF 160 Stereo Power Amplifier
Introduction Magnum, a small British audio component manufacturer, was started several years ago by the one of the founding fathers of the REGA Planar turntable. Today, Magnum is making their line of mosfet integrated, pre and power amplifiers, CD players and loudspeakers available to audiophiles and music lovers throughout the U.S. I was fortunate enough to procure the MP 160 ($750 USD) preamplifier and the MF 160 ($750 USD) power amplifier and have had the two pieces in and out of my audio system over the last few months. The MP 160 preamplifier is a slim-line unit featuring all single ended inputs and outputs and boasts an internal power supply. The front panel features an on/off switch, three buttons each (tape monitor, mute and mono functions), an input selector along side balance and volume controls. Also, to add even more value, the MP 160 comes not only with a phono section but a user selectable ...
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