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Pathos Logos Integrated Amplifier Review Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 November 2010
Article Index
Pathos Logos Integrated Amplifier Review
Listening Session and Conclusion

The Sound

When listening to a component under review, I typically ask three questions:

1.    Is it enjoyable to listen to?
2.    Did it reveal something new?
3.    Does it offer good value for the money?

Before I get into specifics, regarding the Logos I'll answer all three with an emphatic, “Yes!” The Logos is an imminently enjoyable listen. It's smooth and mellow, well-rounded with enough crisp on the edge to keep you coming back for more. The Logos doesn't have the sheer, flat and “water-like” neutrality of some integrated amplifiers I've heard, such as the Hegel H-100; what it does have is an engaging blend of velvety tube sound and solid state precision and detail.

When you think of the band Boston, you think of guitar sonics and the golden pipes of vocalist Brad Delp. I'm old enough to remember when the first Boston album was released, playing it on a friend's turntable and being amazed at the sound. Don't Look Back was the highly successful follow-up, with more of the band's trademark melodies and riffs. In 2006, DLB was reissued after being remastered by Boston leader Tom Scholz along with Bill Ryan and Toby Mountain. The sound has Scholz's fingerprints all over, but what impressed me most was the bass. I've heard radio hit “Feelin' Satisfied” hundreds of times, but now I was hearing the low-end accents and notes, and it brought the song together. That was new.

The bass guitar is more prominent in the music of Jelly Jam, a side project involving King's X guitarist/vocalist Ty Tabor, Dream Theater bassist John Myung and Dixie Dregs' drummer Rod Morgenstein. The trio's 2004 release, simply titled 2, affords each member plenty of room to stretch out and fill in the musical space. It's one of the decade's forgotten classics and through the Logos everything comes through: Tabor's lush swirls of chords, crunchy riffs and sweet vocals; Myung's sonorous lines anchoring and accenting; Morgenstein's jaw-dropping fluency and musicality. The music rocks hard one moment and then turns sweet the next, and the Logos has the speed to keep pace with the changes. The end of the disc features a humorous phone message from Morgenstein to Tabor, with the former announcing, “Hey Ty, this is Rod. I can only say one thing. 'Holy f*#&*!g, s**t, this sounds unbelievable!'” My thoughts exactly.

Logo front view top off

As I listened to the Logos more and more, I discovered that it doesn't need a great deal of volume to produce full sound, but there was a definite “step” in volume where the tonal picture went from incomplete to what I was looking for. Thanks to the design, it runs warm but never dangerously so. Even after several hours of continual use, I was able to touch the top panel and even the fins without discomfort or risk of burn. And, as expected, the Logos operates with stone-like silence.

A recent release that's been in steady rotation is the California Guitar Trio's Andromeda. It's the first album composed solely of original material, and I believe it's the Trio's best yet. Every guitar and guitarist has a particular sound, and it's fascinating to hear the combined “sounds” of Bert Lams, Paul Richards and Hideyo Moriya flower together on compositions such as “Portland Rain” and “Improv I.” It's like three master weavers spinning yarns of notes into perfect cloth. Look closer at the pattern and the details emerge, and the Logos presents these often delicate patterns with a lovely sonority and detail that's precise but not sterile. The breath of the music remains. Can I use the term “organic” to describe the sound? I just did.

I've had a blast this autumn spinning used vinyl found at various stores across northern Minnesota. My find of the fall is definitely Watts In A Tank, the lone release recorded in 1981 by Dutch rockers Diesel. For a time, the album opener “Sausalito Summernight” enjoyed airplay thanks to its angular guitar riff and groove that sounds like a lost Steve Miller song. The entire LP, though, is a winner and full of variety: from the beach-y vibe of “Sausalito..” to the crunch of “Alibi” and sunshine smile of “Good Mornin' Day.” The Logos goes great with vinyl, not just for the sound but the soundstage. Instruments are presented with precision and clarity, yet with richness and “air” around them that gives character and coherency to music.

Final Thoughts

Across dozens of discs, LPs and different cabling the Logos provided a very pleasurable listening experience. I had the good fortune to audition the amp for 3 months – about twice as long as most components I review – and came away ready to recommend this gorgeous machine to nearly anyone. Some solid state enthusiasts may want for more power – and if you have very difficult-to-drive speakers, a very large listening space, or demand the final word in solid state detail, the Logos might not be your huckleberry. But if you're looking for the best of both sonic worlds – tube and transistor, with superb construction - it's hard to imagine getting more amp for the money. Art meets audio with the Logos.

System Setup

  • Pathos Logos Integrated Amplifier
  • Emotiva Audio ERC-1 CD player
  • Pro-Ject RPM 5.1 turntable
  • Sumiko Audio Blue Point No. 2 Moving Coil phono cartridge
  • Parasound Zphono Preamplifier
  • Better Cables Premium Anniversary Edition Speaker Cables 
  • Better Cables Silver Serpent Anniversary Edition Interconnects
  • RS Audio Cables Kevlar Starchord Power Cable 
  • RS Audio Cables Illume Silver Interconnects 
  • RS Audio Cables Illume Silver Loudspeaker Cables 
  • PENAUDIO Rebel 3 loudspeakers
  • Snell Acoustics Type K loudspeakers
  • Plateau STS-30 Speaker Stands

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