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Tuesday, 08 April 2008 ,  Written by AVRev.com
Conrad Johnson CT6 Composite Triode Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction Conrad Johnson is one of most well-known and respected names in the world of tubed audio gear. The CT6 preamplifier reviewed here is the result of trickle-down technology from the company’s famous ACT preamplifier, which itself descends from the legendary ART preamplifier. At $5,000, it is roughly a third of the price of the current ACT II preamplifier that shares its composite triode circuit design. For those of you interested in a technical description of this circuit, I recommend a look at the Conrad Johnson website, which provides more information on this circuit design. The Upside Turning on the CT6, I was surprised by the long wait for the unit to warm up, during which no control input is accepted.  I quickly learned to simply leave the unit on and muted in between a day’s listening sessions.
Friday, 01 June 2007 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Krell Evolution 202 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction I have owned various Krell amplifiers in my reference systems over the years, each providing hours upon hours of listening joy. Recently, Krell has released a new top-of-the-line lineup of gear under the Evolution moniker that speaks to those for a need for the best of the best and a willingness to pay for it. The review system under evaluation is comprised of a $10,000 Krell Evolution 505 SACD player with 24-bit 192 DACs, a $15,000 Krell Evolution 202 two-chassis stereo preamp and the monstrous Krell Evolution 900 monaural amplifiers at $20,000 each, or $40,000 for the stereo pair as reviewed. My review samples are done in Krell’s signature silver finish, which is breathtakingly beautiful out of the rack and poised on a simple table as it is installed in my reference system. Set-up To start, it is important to note that the Krell Evolution 900 power amps are nothing short of huge. With a travel ...
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 ...
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