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Thursday, 01 April 1999 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Balanced Audio Technology VK5i Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction The BAT VK5i is a $4500 all tube, dual mono, fully balanced preamp from high end up-and-comer Balanced Audio Technology. Since Sonic Frontiers ten years ago, there have been very few new tube manufacturers to come along and capture the precious high end market share until BAT. Founded in 1995, BAT is both a tube and solid state electronics manufacturer who has carved a niche between high value and high performance music playback products. The VK5i is a great example of this balance. The VK5i makes few excuses in its operation. It features a full-function remote that is nicely crafted and fully loaded with functions like mute, fade, and volume. The faceplate features a utilitarian look with seemingly military spec switches for both power and mute. The volume knob, which digitaly controls a Vichey pot, is built solidly, but does not feel as high tech as what you'll find on a Mark Levinson, ...
Friday, 01 January 1999 ,  Written by Bryan Southard
Audio Research LS15 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction The Audio Research LS15 Line Level Preamp has been in existence since the middle of 1996. It’s an all new design which theoretically replaces the former LS2B Mk II in the Audio Research line. I say theoretically because although it took the spot of the former, and much-respected LS2, it is very different in many ways. The LS15 is priced at the midpoint in the Audio Research line at $2995, and comes with a handy remote control, something that was an additional $500 option for the LS2. Its basic makeup is an all-tube gain using four 6922 twin triode tubes. It incorporates a fully differential zero feedback; balanced circuit with electronically regulated high and low-voltage power supplies. The LS15 has a large array of input/output options. These options include balanced inputs, as well as direct balanced inputs, for best signal purity. This path bypasses switching electronics, and allows for the most direct and cleanest ...
Friday, 01 January 1999 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Sutherland CA 800 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction It takes more than just great sound to sell a high priced two channel preamp these days. You really have to want it. Perhaps "want" is too weak a term. You really need to lust after it. A new preamp should be so cool that you start to drool at the idea of plugging it into your music system. This is exactly the sensation you get when you audition the Sutherland CA-800. Drooling. Its interface and design are unlike any preamp I have ever encountered. The front plate of the preamp is missing any kind of "volume knob." In its place are two rows of sensors that detect changes in capacitance and or resistance caused, simply, by your finger moving from one end of the sensors to the other. Changing inputs requires you holding your finger near the sensor that corresponds with the desired input. Simple tasks like raising and lowering the volume ...
Monday, 01 December 1997 ,  Written by Jerry Del Colliano
Sonic Frontiers Line 2 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction Tube gear used to scare me. Spooky people are into tube gear. The kind of guys who wear pocket protectors and brag about their mail order engineering degrees. My idea of high end audio is not heating up the soldering iron to mod my preamp or hunting down the latest tube condoms from Uzebkistan. To quote the 1970's disco/soul profits, The O'Jays "I love music... any kind of music." The Sonic Frontiers Line 2 lets you love your music exactly the way you want to. Your listening options include configuring your system for high performance 2 channel stereo playback with remote control, feeding a home theater or multi-room system or listening through headphones. Incidentally, you will never find Sonic Frontiers gurus Chris Johnson and Chris Jensen with tape on their glasses or pens in pocket protectors. The Sonic Frontiers Line 2 ($3295 USD) is a Canadian made preamp that is well suited for music ...
Sunday, 01 June 1997 ,  Written by Michael Fuschi
Magnum Audio MP 160 Stereo Preamplifier
Introduction Magnum, a small British audio component manufacturer, was started several years ago by the one of the founding fathers of the REGA Planar turntable. Today, Magnum is making their line of mosfet integrated, pre and power amplifiers, CD players and loudspeakers available to audiophiles and music lovers throughout the U.S. I was fortunate enough to procure the MP 160 ($750 USD) preamplifier and the MF 160 ($750 USD) power amplifier and have had the two pieces in and out of my audio system over the last few months. The MP 160 preamplifier is a slim-line unit featuring all single ended inputs and outputs and boasts an internal power supply. The front panel features an on/off switch, three buttons each (tape monitor, mute and mono functions), an input selector along side balance and volume controls. Also, to add even more value, the MP 160 comes not only with a phono section but a user selectable ...
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