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AV Preamps (48) Stereo Preamps (37)

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Sunday, 01 June 2003 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Mark Levinson No. 40 AV Preamplifier
Introduction Since the glory days of high-end audio in the late 1970s, the Mark Levinson brand has been associated with the world’s finest and most expensive preamps. Back in the day, the Mark Levinson brand was established on stereo preamps like the Mark Levinson JC1, which cost easily three times more than its closest competitor and yet sold like hotcakes. In today’s market, Harman International’s Madrigal, the parent company of the Mark Levinson brand, resisted releasing a high-end AV preamp to the market until years after other competitors had launched their products. Until now, Madrigal AV preamps were pretty much limited to the Proceed AVP, which was a very effective component but didn’t have the all-out high-end approach of a Mark Levinson product. Today there is the Mark Levinson No. 40, which is a $30,000, dual-chassis AV preamp with a no-compromises design approach that takes the best Madrigal knows about stereo preamps, DACs, video switching ...
Thursday, 01 May 2003 ,  Written by Ed Masterson
Conrad Johnson Premier 18LS AV Preamplifier
Introduction Over the last 25 years, Conrad-Johnson has earned a reputation for its mastery of the art of tube-based amplifier design. Many of their amplifiers and preamplifiers have received considerable praise from music lovers and AV industry professionals alike. As a statement piece, Conrad-Johnson’s ultra-expensive ART preamplifier has earned its way into some of the world’s absolute finest music playback systems. Until now, if you wanted a reference quality preamplifier from CJ, you had no choice but to deal with the maintenance and cost associated with tubes. Conrad-Johnson has released a new solid-state preamplifier, the Premier 18LS, in an attempt to satisfy those in love with CJ’s sound who simply are not willing and/or able to deal with the unavoidable hassles associated with owning a high-performance tube component. At $3,495, the Premier 18LS is the least expensive preamplifier in the Premier series. Even so, CJ spared no expense. As with all of the Premier preamplifiers, CJ ...
Tuesday, 01 April 2003 ,  Written by Ed Masterson
Classé SSP 30 MKII AV Preamplifier/Processor
Introduction Classé Audio has been producing high-performance audio/video electronics for more than 20 years. From their factory in Quebec, Canada, they have produced gear that has arguably performed among the absolute best of its kind, oftentimes at a much-reduced price when compared directly to its competition. For many years, I used the Classe’ CA-150 amplifier in my reference system and have long respected Classé for both value, performance and their simple yet tasteful aesthetics and exceptional build quality. The SSP 30 MKII A/V preamp represents the entry level in preamplification and theater processing from Classé. The original SSP 30 had all of the latest features in theater processing at the time of its release. Since then, several new formats have been developed, so the SSP 30 needed a major update to stay competitive in this quickly evolving market. The SSP 30 MKII is currently available at a price of $3,000. With the MKII, in addition to ...
Wednesday, 01 January 2003 ,  Written by Ed Masterson
Aragon Stage One AV Preamplifier
Introduction Aragon has a long and well-respected reputation for producing high-value, high-end two-channel music preamplifiers and, more specifically, power amplifiers. Today, under the ownership of Klipsch, they are expanding into the highly competitive market of multi-channel music reproduction and home theater. Aragon is not attempting to compete with the inexpensive mass-market products but instead going head-to-head with the best in the mid- to high-performance class, such as Sunfire and Anthem. The Stage One is a full-featured theater/multi-channel music processor, AM/FM tuner, two-channel analog preamplifier and video switcher, built into a single chassis. The Stage One measures 17 inches wide, five-and-one-half inches tall and 15 inches deep and retails for $4,000. It has seven inputs for A/V sources, all of which accommodate composite video, s-video, analog audio, and digital audio. Component video inputs are available on three of the inputs. Three toslink digital inputs are available, as well as a toslink output for high-quality digital recording. The analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog ...
Sunday, 01 December 2002 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Parasound HALO P 3 Stereo Preamplifier
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 ...
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