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Friday, 01 June 2007 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
McIntosh C220 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction Ask someone who was into audio in the early days of high end for the names of their favorite high-end audio brands and McIntosh is bound to be mentioned in their first breath. McIntosh has been an icon in the high-end audio world for over 50 years. McIntosh components have long been recognizable by their elegant black glass faceplates, silver trimmed knobs and blue back-lighting. McIntosh’s newest and least expensive preamplifier, the C220, combines the Old World luxury McIntosh is so well known for with modern performance features, all without breaking the bank. The C220 is a full-featured, tube-based stereo preamplifier that retails for a reasonable $3,300. Some may categorize the C220 as a purist design, as it makes no accommodations for multi-channel or home theater integration as most $3,000 preamps do. However, to consider the C220 a simple stereo preamplifier would be to severely underestimate it. As you will see below, the C220 is ...
Thursday, 01 January 2004 ,  Written by Augie Bettencourt
Krell KCT Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction Krell built its reputation on building big, powerful amplifiers with massive amounts of power reserves, tremendous transient response and bullet-proof build quality. Although the Krell name is best known for its amplifiers, Krell has also built preamplifiers since its beginnings in 1980. The Krell KCT preamplifier is the finest preamplifier Krell has to offer and is the result of the development of Krell’s best amplifier, the Krell Master Reference Amplifier. The question for many well-heeled audio enthusiasts is, does a well-engineered amplifier design translate into equally well-engineered preamplifier design? As I unboxed the Krell KCT preamplifier, the cliché “built like a tank” was the first thought that came to mind. The Krell KCT is a visually striking piece of equipment, with a great sense of industrial design and ergonomics. At $8,500, this preamp is immensely expensive although priced comparably or less than other “statement” preamplifier offerings such as Mark Levinson No. 32 (about $12,000) or ...
Friday, 01 August 2003 ,  Written by Brian Kahn
Anthem TLP 1 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction It was only a short while ago that specialty audio retailers were filled with high-performance two-channel stereo gear and very little (if any) space was devoted to multi-channel surround products. Today is just the opposite, with the overwhelming amount of available new gear encompassing the multi-channel music and movie arena. Even though these new multi-channel setups can play everything from movies to the newest digital music formats, and even your older CD collection, there are still consumers who are disinterested in surround media, looking for a traditionally simple stereo sound system. Anthem Electronics is a company that has long prided itself in delivering value and performance to cost conscience consumers and may have just the ticket for multi-channel holdouts. The TLP 1 Preamplifier is a full-featured, solid state, remote-controlled stereo preamplifier with a host of features, including an AM/FM tuner and tone controls, attributes that are rarely found in stereo preamps. The Anthem TLP 1 ...
Sunday, 01 June 2003 ,  Written by Ed Masterson
Linn Klimax Kontrol Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction The Klimax Kontrol preamplifier is the newest in Linn’s series of no-compromise audio products. Included in this series, you will find the Linn CD12 CD player, a product that transcends previously known levels of perfection, as well as the ultra-slick Klimax Twin stereo amplifier, both previously reviewed in Audio Revolution. The Linn Klimax Kontrol is a remote-controlled line-level stereo preamplifier that sells for the major league price of $10,000. The Kontrol measures 2.36 inches in height, 13.78 inches wide, 13.98 inches deep, and weighs 24 pounds. For such a diminutive package, the Kontrol packs a wallop when it comes to features. For I/O, the Kontrol accepts up to five inputs. Input One accepts balanced or single-ended connectors. Inputs Two through Four accept single-ended connections only. The fifth input is available via Linn’s proprietary Knekt connection. Output is available though either single-ended or balanced connections. The Kontrol features a unity gain function that is available on any input ...
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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