equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Merrill Audio THOR Mono Block Amplifiers Review
Plinius Hautonga Integrated Amplifier Review
KEF R700 Loudspeaker Review
Marantz SA-14S1 SACD Player & DSD DAC Review
Genesis G7c Loudspeakers
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Categories in section: Home Theater Preamplifiers
AV Preamps (48) Stereo Preamps (35)

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Monday, 28 September 2009 ,  Written by Andre Marc
Manley Neo-Classic 300B Preamplifier Review
In the high end audio world, tubed Hi-Fi components almost became extinct in the late 70’s, with issues of reliability, neutrality, and the very future of tube production being of major concern. There were a few manufacturers still plugging away, such as Audio Research and Quad, but at the same time some of the iconic producers of tube equipment started bringing solid state products to market.  But early solid state products had many detractors. Harsh sounding transistors in early designs were tough for tube proponents to take.  But low maintenance, well built, excellent sounding transistor designs eventually gained major acceptance.  Yet the “TuboPhile’ kept fighting the good fight. Companies like Conrad Johnson, Audio Research, Cary, and a host of others continued to design tube amplifiers, preamplifiers, and even cd players despite being out of favor. Thankfully, what is old is ...
Tuesday, 07 April 2009 ,  Written by Robert Mead
Rotel RSP-1570 7.1 Processor/Preamplifier
The multi-functionality of any decent a/v receiver on the market today must be the most prominent and fundamental element when a consumer considers purchasing an a/v receiver for their living room or bedroom. Some consumers want a great 7.1 surround processor that will replicate the exact and precise DTS theater sound found at the local multiplex. But some others might want to purchase an a/v receiver that replicates the delicate nuances of pure stereo sound only, not wanting to listen to any surround mode whatsoever that would corrupt the pure audio that the original studio engineer that worked on the CD wanted to capture for prosperity. That kind of “audio purist” that puts 2-channel clear stereo sound ahead of the latest DTS surround mode when looking for a new a/v receiver is what Rotel’s sound engineers are always striving to ...
Monday, 02 February 2009 ,  Written by Julianne Stilson
Plinius Tautoro Preamplifier
The Basics:Preamplifiers are essential elements in the audio chain for sound systems and home theaters. The Plinius Tautoro is on the top tier of high-end preamplifiers in with high –quality manufacturing and design. However, it is also on the top tier of price tags at an MSRP of $8,395.The Plinius Tautoro’s exceptional construction and design features simple front / side panels which are ergonomically sound. The source selection buttons are adequately lit and appropriately sized. The front panel also features a volume control wheel that is both big and tactile. You will also find a ¼” headphone jack that is, despite being traditionally standard, very rare in many of today’s models. Moreover, turning the Plinius Tautoro around, the rear panel has well-organized, high-quality WBT socketry.As a multi-source, superior system, the Plinius Tautoro features generous input and output options for easy, ...
Monday, 02 February 2009 ,  Written by Julianne Stilson
Audio Research Reference 3 Preamplifier
The Basics:Coming from audio equipment designer and manufacturer Audio Research, the Reference 3 Preamplifier is high-end, high-performance equipment whose internal components were designed from the ground up. This new design is characterized by an innovative, unique circuitry that features a tube-regulated power supply and uses four 6H30 twin triode tubes. This means the Reference 3 provides twice the energy storage than older models. As a result, this valve-powered, line-level preamplifier can offer some truly powerful capabilities.Its standout design includes a large, green vacuum-fluorescent display with enhanced functionally that surpasses LED readings in older models. A combination of text, numbers, and graphical scales deliver alerts like channel balance, tube life, volume, and more. In addition, the front panel is laid out cleanly with spring-loaded switches for input selection and volume on either side of the generous display. Below the display is ...
Saturday, 01 November 2008 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Marantz AV8003 AV Preamplifier
The Basics The AV8003 signals Marantz’s re-emergence into the ultra-competitive AV separates market.  At $2,599, the AV8003 is one of the less expensive surround sound processors, positioned to attract those on the verge of buying separates or considering one of today’s uber-receivers, but who prioritize sound quality over bells and whistles.  Utilizing a separate processor and amplifier allows the user to improve the quality of equipment over that offered by most receivers.  An added benefit is that when the processing technologies change so much that a new processor is needed, you can still keep your amplifier.  This theoretically reduces the cost and waste associated with upgrading your equipment. The AV8003 is housed in an aesthetically pleasing chassis, with rounded corners and a clean front panel that features a large display window above a drop-down door.  The window is flanked by a pair ...
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