Aragon 2007 Multi-channel Power Amplifier 
Home Theater Power Amplifiers Multi-Channel Amplifiers
Written by Ed Masterson   
Sunday, 01 December 2002

Introduction
The name Aragon has long been synonymous with performance and value. Eons ago, Aragon was put on the high-end audio map with the introduction of the critically acclaimed Aragon 4004MKII amplifier. Today, the Aragon brand name is owned by Klipsch, who have recently introduced an entirely new line of Aragon products with the same lofty goals in mind: to supply products that compete with the very best, at a price that doesn’t require a second mortgage. The Aragon 2007 fits that description as a seven-channel amplifier that measures nine-and-one-quarter inches tall, 15 inches deep, and 17-and-one-quarter inches wide. The 2007 weighs 49 pounds and sells for $3,000, a competitive price as compared with other high-performance multi-channel power amps.

Each of the 2007’s amplifier channels is capable of supplying 200 watts of power into eight ohms, and 300 watts into four ohms. This is a whopping total of 1400 watts at eight ohms and 2100 watts into four ohms. Each channel has a single RCA jack for its input and a pair of insulated binding posts for speaker connections. Other than the rocker-type power-switch on the front, the only other feature is a three-position dimmer switch on the rear of the chassis, which allows the user to select two different brightness levels or turn off the light on the front panel altogether.

Aragon has a reputation for implementing simple cost-effective approaches to amplifier designs with good results. In order to save weight, size and cost, the 2007 uses a single power supply, referred to as “SmartPower,” to provide the power for all seven channels. A quick peak inside the chassis of the 2007 revealed the simplicity of the design. The single large power supply is connected to seven individual, identical amplifier boards. The enclosure has heat sinks on the rear and side panels. The front panel is a simple flat plate with a power switch and the same Aragon logo and machined groove that adorned the Stage One A/V pre-amp. My review unit was silver, although it is also available in black. The combination of excellent build quality and overall style is certain to make a statement in any system.

Music and Movies
To start, I connected the 2007 through Revel F30s and the Aragon Stage One processor. I used my Muse Model 2 DAC and Theta Data transport combo on the front end and put the Stage One in two-channel direct mode. To get rolling, I put in an old blues favorite, B. B. King Anthology (MCA). This two-disc Greatest Hits recording has a wide variety of music styles. In the song “Lucille,” one of my favorites by King and likely the best known of his hits, the instruments were well outside the speakers. The walls in my room seem to disappear, leaving only the stage in front and around me. The instruments remained separated and well defined in the stage, even at very loud listening levels. In the next track, “Why I Sing the Blues,” the bass line was well defined and separated from the kick drum. The vocals were clean and clear with no noticeable grain. The highs were crisp and clean but not quite as extended as the best that I have heard from some of the more expensive amps from the likes of Proceed and Krell.

Next, I dialed in John Mellencamp’s The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988 (Mercury). This Greatest Hits CD has most of his older hits, including my two favorites, “Pink Houses” and “Authority Song.” Although I love the music, this CD tends to reveal some of the weaknesses of digital recording systems from that era. With the 2007/Stage One combo, the best of this music was revealed without putting emphasis on the somewhat grainy highs associated with this recording. In my experience, this is a rare quality for a cost-driven solid-state design. The 2007 was able to deliver the drive and dynamics in “The Authority Song,” and had my legs bouncing and feet tapping. Mellencamp’s voice in “Pink Houses” was well defined, providing lots of detail without being overly aggressive.

Next, I moved on to Shady Grove by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman (Acoustic Disc). I love this disc because it really sounds like these guys are just hanging out and having fun jamming their favorite music. Track Four, ”The Sweet Sunny South,” starts out with a single banjo playing off to the left in the stage. I immediately noticed how real the banjo sounded. It seemed to be physically present in the room. I did notice that when compared to much more expensive gear, the air in the studio surrounding the instrument was less apparent. However, I was still impressed with this aspect of the 2007’s performance, considering its price. The next track, “Louis Collins,” made me remember what I like about this style of music. It just makes me smile and relax – it’s what music is truly all about. With the 2007, I reached this point frequently.

For a final two-channel test, I put in Neil Young Unplugged (MTV Unplugged). During “Harvest Moon,” I noticed again the huge stage that was present in my room. I was also impressed with the 2007’s ability to maintain separation between all of the instruments and most notably the chorus vocals. The 2007 performed this way, all the way up to very loud listening levels.

Movie Soundtracks
I just got my kids the new “Spider-Man” (Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment). They did a great job transferring this big-dollar superhero movie to DVD. During the action scenes, the dynamic power of this amplifier became apparent. The 2007 was able to drive all seven of the full-range speakers in my system to very loud levels without a hint of strain. The transitions between the conversations and action scenes with huge explosions occurred smoothly and naturally. Having seven identical amplifiers driving all seven speakers created one of the more seamless soundscapes that I have heard.

I decided to throw in an old favorite action movie, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (Artisan). This Arnold Schwarzenegger flick is chock-full of challenging sound effects. The narration that starts the movie is followed by the sound of a Terminator stepping on a skull. I have seen this many times, but when I played it through the 2007, I was still startled by the realistic sound of the crunching skull and the ensuing war scene – which is impressive even when compared to the Krell. During the biker bar scene, Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character is trying to score a biker outfit. In the process of taking what he needs, he throws one of the bikers onto a scalding hot griddle in the kitchen of the bar. I have heard all but the best systems get harsh and irritating during this scene. The 2007 had the headroom to handle all of the sound effects without negatively affecting the clarity of the voices or the sizzling sound of skin on the griddle.

The Downside
Many wonder, who needs seven channels of amplification? I don’t know very many people with seven speakers to drive, and more significantly, media (DVD-Video, HDTV satellite feeds or D-VHS tapes) with seven channels of information. In many cases, consumers are purchasing seven-channel amplifiers and bridging two of the channels to create a more powerful five-channel amplifier with the flexibility to handle seven channels if they are someday inclined. In the case of the 2007, this was not an option, as this amplifier cannot be bridged. For those with no interest in seven-channel reproduction, Aragon offers a five-channel version in the 2005 model. The 2007 has only single-ended inputs. I would have liked to see balanced inputs and fully balanced operation. It is a better way to go in terms of amp design relative to cables. At this price and with Aragon’s history, I expect as much from a $3,000 amp. Finally, a triggered input for remote turn-on would be nice. Aragon offers a power-switching device that can be purchased separately.

Conclusion
The Aragon 2007 amplifier is proof that the Klipsch and Mondial are still on track with their goal to offer high-end performance at a moderate price. With this amplifier, you won’t have to worry about having enough power to drive your speakers. At $2 per watt, I think of Anthem and Sunfire when looking to find a home theater amplifier that can compare in terms of value. Although it lacks a few of the features that I have come to expect with high-end equipment, it is no slouch in terms of sound quality. The 2007 is able to create a wonderful two-channel music soundstage for any style of music, and has the power to handle the huge dynamic range of today’s movie soundtracks. If you are planning a high-end home theater, you should strongly consider the Stage One/2007 combo with seven speakers. If you are a movie lover wondering if you would ever use what a system like this can do, think no further. Once you install a theater of this quality in your house, you will never look back and will likely wonder how you lived without it.
Manufacturer Aragon
Model 2007 Multi-channel Power Amplifier
Reviewer Ed Masterson





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