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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 ...
Monday, 01 April 2002 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Mark Levinson No. 32 Reference Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction When Mark Levinson announced they would be introducing a $16,000 preamp ($18,500 with the phono section) there was a group of long time loyalists who scurried to authorized dealers to put down deposits while other audiophiles and music enthusiasts simply shook their heads in amazement. $16,000 is a lot of money for a preamp even for the first “Reference” preamp from Mark Levinson. I’d be lying to say I wasn’t just a bit curious as to what Madrigal could do if cost was no object and with the No. 32 clearly cost isn’t the concern – performance is. With time and dramatic changes to my music system, the need (OK you can call it a lust) for a reference preamp became evident. I arranged for a review sample and then the fun began. After unpacking, careful inspection revealed a beautifully designed and assembled product. The No. 32 looks great with its twenty first ...
Sunday, 01 July 2001 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Conrad Johnson Premier 17 LS Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction Many audio/video enthusiasts find themselves in a position where their desire for the ultimate A/V system exceeds their actual budget, finding themselves perhaps an inheritance or two short of the money to actually purchase their "perfect system." For those of us in this category, we must carefully build our ultimate systems one piece at a time. There has long been debate as to which product is best suited to build your system around. If you don’t have a good power amplifier, you likely can’t build your system around the speakers, as your dream speakers might need more and better power. I don’t think anyone would dispute the validity of building your system around your source equipment, such as a CD player, but with imminent change to the digital format (DVD-Audio, SACD), this might not be your best option right now. What the next digital format will be is anybody’s guess. In my opinion, ...
Sunday, 01 October 2000 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Conrad Johnson Sonographe SC26 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction As I received the Sonographe SC26 preamplifier for review, I admittedly looked upon this assignment with great uncertainty, knowing little what to expect. Like many of you, I respect for the creator and parent of the Sonegraphe SC26, Conrad Johnson. Few intimately familiar with fine electronics are unaware of the success and respect that CJ has amassed, with better than 20 years of experience in creating fine electronics. One of Conrad Johnson’s latest, the highly touted ART preamplifier, is considered by many to be the finest preamplifier ever made, priced as such at a crisp $15,000. However, Conrad Johnson has long been known for their tube amplifier and preamplifier products and although they have produced solid-state electronics, they are much better known for tube products such as the Premier Series amps and preamps. Unpacked and ready for hook-up, the Sonographe SC26 looked much like many of the Conrad Johnson pieces with which you may ...
Saturday, 01 April 2000 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Balanced Audio Technology VK-40 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction One of the best complements one can pay to Balanced Audio Technology is that in a world where two channel manufacturers are going out of business like never before, BAT is thriving with a product line filled with high value and high performance tube and solid state electronics. The BAT VK-40 is a $4000 audio preamplifier designed for the serious enthusiast. It is a completely balanced design that features a full function remote, an alphanumeric front panel readout and an advance 140-increment Vichay volume control. The BAT VK-40 is incredibly easy to set up and its back panel is very logical. I simply directed the balanced output from my Mark Levinson No. 36s DAC into the VK-40 and ran the balanced main outs to a Mark Levinson No. 333 power amp. The VK-40 is outfitted with three balanced inputs and two unbalanced inputs as well as two balanced outputs that can be modified to ...
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