Every product at Gold Sound is carefully chosen for superior sound quality, reliability & value.
Recent issues of STEREOPHILE & ABSOLUTE SOUND recommend 100 of our products.
STEREOPHILE & ABSOLUTE SOUND give Prima Luna seven recommendations, the most of any amp company.
ABSOLUTE SOUND has over 60 recommendations for equipment we carry. including Cambridge, Focal, Grado, Kimber Kable, Marantz, Ortofon, Parasound Halo, Pro-ject, Rega, Sumiko, VPI & more.
Some of the following reviews are from the leading English audio magazines, including WHAT HI-FI Sound & Vision, HI-FI CHOICE & HI-FI NEWS.
"Highly recommended." ABSOLUTE SOUND
Our newest speakers are the ELAC ADANTE AF-61 floor standing, which is STEREOPHILE RATED CLASS A with $50,000 speakers & the AS-61 stand-mount models. Both are real game changers. The smaller speakers have better bass, 3-D imaging, dynamics & overall sound than many far larger speakers. The larger speaker is easily the best tower we've heard. If you have a larger, more open room & would like room-filling volume, these are the speakers for you. Unlike many higher end speakers, Adantes are easily powered by more affordable electronics. Both STEREOPHILE & ABSOLUTE SOUND have repeatedly called the Adantes the best speaker dollar value.
"Some recent stars include the $499 Elac UB5, the $249 Elac B5.2 & the $299 Elac B6.2 - brilliant contenders that own their class." ABSOLUTE SOUND
ELAC DEBUT B5.2 $249/pair, "Sounds terrific, exquisitely balanced & musical; exceptional," ABSOLUTE SOUND
ELAC UNI-FI UB5 $499/pair, "Compared to the B5, greater focus, much more controlled bass, competitive with speakers much beyond its price. It might be the best $500 you'll ever spend." ABSOLUTE SOUND
ELAC DEBUT F5.2 $600/pair, "Builds on the strengths of the B5. More volume, rock level dynamics; a veritable gift to budget conscious audiophiles & the younger audience." ABSOLUTE SOUND
FOCAL SPEAKERS made in France
906 Bookshelf, $1500/pr "Sonic character is vivid, fast, vibrant & dynamically engaging. Imaging is well focused & the soundstage is broad & unbroken. Commanding prescence; bass was rich & extended ; ideal combination of warmth, articulation & harmonic bloom. The explosive textures & tonal colors were exhilirating. The Aria 906 just gets music right & does so for a song." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"The 906 is capable of resolving detail that other speakers simply cannot find & manages to do this without losing sight of the performance as a whole." AV FORUMS
GRADO Cartridges ALL MADE IN N.Y.
BLACK, $75, "Admirable detail & treble
extension with good bass & ambience." HI-FI CHOICE RECOMMENDED
GREEN, $95, "Thoroughly enjoyable for nearly all kinds of music." BEST BUY, HI-FI CHOICE
"Warm, yet pleasant balance, sweet treble; Lively
overall presentation." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"Produces rich, open & expansive music. At it's price it simply can't be beaten!" SENSIBLE SOUND
GOLD, $260, "Rich, open & expansive." BEST BUY, HI-FI CHOICE RECOMMENDED
"Warm, yet pleasant balance; lively; dynamically expressive midrange; engaging openness. Cost-conscious buyers will appreciate the user-replaceable stylus mechanism." ABSOLUTE SOUND; EDITOR'S CHOICE
REFERENCE PLATINUM 1, $350, "Nice midrange, lively; cartridge of choice for the most cost restrained." EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
"Markedly more refined sound than the Gold. Increased resolution; competes nearly equally with m.c. cartridges 3 times its price. Compared to the Gold, tighter bass, more neutrally voiced & much more authoritative; significantly better tracking. More top-tier performance attributes & delivers greater musical enjoyment per dollar than any other $300 cartridge." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
REFERENCE SONATA 1, $600, "Improved detail, transient speed, more seductive midrange & improved hall sound very noticeable." STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
"Far exceeded Clearaudio Aurum Beta in bass & high level dynamics." STEREOPHILE
"Wonderful; naturally sweet treble, refined tone colors & very good detail, particularly in the midband." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
REFERENCE 1, $1500, "Beautiful sounding; enormously musical." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
GRADO PH1 phono preamp MADE IN NY, $500, "Works well with high & low output cartridges. Open & easy sound with expansive soundstage, natural highs & bass with texture, tonal refinement & power." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
All except iGRADO are Handmade in N.Y.
iGRADO, $49, 5 STARS, TOP RATED, BEST PORTABLE HEADPHONES, "More detail, range, sense of of scale & sheer musicality than anything at this price." WHAT HI-FI AWARDS
SR60e A leading consumer magazine, rated the $79 Grado SR60i above 26 more expensive models, including six Bose, two Beats by Dre, a $300 B&W, a $400 Sony, a $300 Monster, a $350 Klipsch, $400 PSB, a $350 Sennheiser, a $130 Audio-Technica, a $400 Shure & many other headphones.
"For sheer musical enjoyment, these are hard to beat." BEST BUY, HI-FI CHOICE
"Full bass & excellent detail resolution."
EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, same class as $400 'phones, STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
5 STARS, TOP RATED, above $309 AKG K601; Bose Quiet Comfort 3 & Triport; $450 Shure 530; & Sony MDRV700dj WHAT HI-FI Well-balanced treble, well-defined bass. Can be driven directly from an iPod or other digital player. Comfortable." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
"Great audio bargain. Has the signature Grado midrange excellence. lt delivers just enough midbass warmth to satisfy." ABSOLUTE SOUND
SR80e, $99, A leading consumer magazine rated the $99 SR80i as the best of all 37 headphones tested & a BEST BUY. The Grado SR80 is rated above 25 more expensive models, including six Bose, two Beats by Dre, a $300 B&W, a $400 Sony, a $300 Monster, a $350 Klipsch, $400 PSB, a $400 Shure, a $350 Sennheiser, a $130 Audio-Technica & many other headphones.
BEST HEADPHONES up to $200 "Revealing, awesomely detailed, musical, natural & simply beautiful." WHAT HI-FI
BEST BUY, HEADPHONE UNDER $280, HI-FI CHOICE "The Mighty Mouse of headphones; superb midrange transparency & natural dynamics. Well-balanced treble, well-defined bass. Can be driven directly from an iPod or other digital player. Comfortable."
SR125e, $149, "Neutral, detailed & warm sounding; extended frequency extremes & wide dynamic range. Sounds natural at a wide range of volume levels. Never aurally or physically fatiguing. Both musical & revealing, amazingly comfortable, more than any other headphone. Grado's biggest bang for the buck." EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, in same class as $430 headphones, STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
5 STARS, TOP RATED, above $309 AKG K601; Bose Quiet Comfort 3 & Triport; $450 Shure 530 & Sony MDRV700dj WHAT HI-FI
SR225e, $199, BEST BUY, HI-FI CHOICE
SR325e, $295, BEST HEADPHONES up to $600,
"Musical, detailed sound makes them truly a top buy."
"Highly sophisticated & detailed sound with great extension." BEST BUY, HI-FI CHOICE
"Greater treble extension & more efficient than another companies' $600 headphones."
STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED; rated in the same class as $600 headphones
"A unique, hear-through-the-veils kind of transparency." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
"For under $650, you can achieve sound quality that costs thousands [with] Grado SR325 & RA1 headphone amp. Grados are chosen by the most discriminating sound pros." OPERA NEWS
GR10 In-Ear headphone, $399, "The first thing I noticed was the quality bass response, which was mighty impressive. One will surely appreciate their honest, yet deep reaching low-end frequency response, able to set off the part of my brain that responds to low-end thunder. Grado was conscious of the bass overpowering other frequencies & thankfully this does not occur. The GR10 midrange is most noteworthy."
"The treble was well served by the GR10. It echoed not only the fine traits of the bass & midrange, but also reflected well on the Grado engineers' decision not to overtax the driver. The treble was well integrated, never drawing undue attention to itself, but at the same time demonstrating its ability to render any instrument very lifelike."
"The Grado GR10 is a significant advancement over the already fine Grado GR8 in-ear headphone. The GR8 is very reasonably priced & quite a fine product, but for only a C-note more one can experience even greater pleasure from a medium that all music lovers & audiophiles on-the-go will surely appreciate. The GR10 -- an outstanding, relatively affordable in-ear headphone that audiophiles can enjoy." Vivid, vibrant & engaging midrange. Sweet, silky smooth highs & taut, lively bass. Gobs of resolution & inner detail. Truly breath-taking openness. As much resolution as $16,000 speakers. That's amazing."ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
RS1e, $695, "A music lover's component." INNER EAR
"I like these more than AKG K701 or Sennheiser HD650. Grado's luscious sound scores an immediate "wow". The hand-crafted, real-mahogany headphone has a technicolor-rich sound. I'm right there with the musicians. l love these. Speakers capable of a glimpse of their astonishing clarity have stratosperic prices." HOME ENTERTAINMENT
5 STARS, TOP RATED above AKG 301+K601; Bose Quiet Comfort 3 & Triport; Sennheiser 485 & 585; Shure Se210, 530 & 530pth & Sony MDRV700dj WHAT HI-FI
GS1000e, $995, "Comfort personified & built for long listening sessions. Your ears will never feel more coddled than with these luxury foam headphones. Terrific; an unforgettably mind-expanding soundstage." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE BEST HEADPHONE
"Nothing comes close. If you want to hear what your music really sounds like, the GS1000 will prove irresistable."
HI-FI CHOICE AWARDS
"The Rolls Royce of headphones. The most alluring trait was its mind expanding soundstage." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"I gush over the way they clarify live recordings. The sound seemed to surround me, with a rare ability to resolve depth, just as in a concert hall. Ditto for revealing rock & jazz CDs. Grados have always been exciting. The bass is deep, yet more controlled & precise than ever before. They are a natural for home theater. Their unfailing resolution of micro-details revealed the spatial cues & ambience of each locale. Their sound really pulls you into the music, so much so it's hard to stop listening." HOME ENTERTAINMENT
5 STARS, "Amazing performance, simply awesome," TOP RATED above AKG 301xtra & K601; Bose Quiet Comfort 3 & Triport; Sennheiser 485 & 585; Shure Se210, 530 & 530pth; & Sony MDRV700dj WHAT HI-FI
PS1000e, $1695, "It builds on Grado's
signature midrange excellence by offering a more extended sound on both ends of the frequency spectrum. It really shines by delivering low-level detail in an effortless, relaxed way." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
GRADO Headphone Amp
handmade in NY
RA1, $350, "With tube-like timbre & a sweet, relaxed sound, it makes extended headphone listening a joy. Though battery-driven, it's more at home in your equipment rack than on the road. A beautiful wooden case finishes off this gem." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"Perfect for high-end road warriors. A specialist that brings out the best." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"High-end headphone amp for any system. With
Grado top-notch headphones, it's a sumptuous personal listening experience." OPERA NEWS
"For less than $650, you can achieve sound quality that typically costs thousands [with] the Grado SR325 headphones & RA1 headphone amp." OPERA NEWS
"Excellent value for the money. Clearly a music lover's component." INNER EAR
MARANTZ AV SEPARATES
AV7005 Preamp processor, $1499, "Least expensive preamp-processor I've used or reviewed. Looks & feels like a winner. It did everything with great distinction & sounded clean & balanced in ways I hadn't heard from a pre/pro or AV receiver for under $2000. It's hard to fault the AV7005 for sound, appearance or ergonomics." STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
The $6000 McIntosh MX121 uses the same remote control, video control & processing board, on screen GUI & other parts as the MARANTZ AV7005 Surround Processor, for $1599, or about 75% less than the price of the McIntosh! HOME THEATER, TOP PICK, HOME THEATER
MM7055, 8 channel power amp, $1200, MOST AFFORDABLE
<ORTOFON Cartridges - Made in Denmark
"Ortofon, founded in 1918, is relatively large for a 21st century company specializing in cartridges, employing 65 people. The firm's heart & soul is rooted in hi-fi. Even the least expensive cartridge is assembled from many tiny parts & requires much handwork. Making moving coil cartridges includes hand-winding coils over tiny armatures & under microscopes by highly skilled workers. My visit to Ortofon was impressive. Having the infrastructure for machining & crafting rubber parts [for cartridge suspensions] puts them in an enviable position in both quality & pricing. Ortofon has perfected its MC technology. I bought an Ortofon cartridge as a reference." STEREOPHILE
2M RED, $99, THE GREATEST BARGAIN in a HIGH END CARTRIDGE; "One sophisticated cartridge for the money." ABSOLUTE SOUND
PRODUCT of YEAR, ABSOLUTE SOUND
"Screaming deal - entry level cartridge at its finest. It's like the Shure V15 with stronger mids." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"Sophisticated, musical" ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
2M BLACK, $719, PRODUCT of YEAR, ABSOLUTE SOUND "Superb performer & value; compared to Shure V15 V, Ortofon is in its own world, plumbing the complexities of orchestral depth & dimension with a more resolved character & better soundstage precision & dimension. Its Shibata stylus has a wider groove contact area & better stability, which extends frequency response & reduces record wear." ABSOLUTE SOUND;
"Transparent, unravels the complexities of orchestral music; velvety finess & harmonic finish." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"Lighter, faster, more resolved than Shure V15V. More transparent." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"Ridicuously good; bright open sound with surprising heft & slam." Rated in same class as $3000 models. STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
CADENZA BLUE, $1799, "Detail, space, integrity & vitality; hard to beat at the price." OUTSTANDING PRODUCT; HI-FI NEWS YEARBOOK
CADENZA BLACK, $2599, "Here's a fast, tonally balanced, low coloration cartridge that has outstanding transparency, tonal neutrality & openess without any brightness or stridency, plus very good soundstaging & dynamics. It approaches the sound of a mastertape & is a great value!" ABSOLUTE SOUND
SPU Meister Silver II, $1879, "Thunderous dynamic peaks; one heck of a fine pickup." STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
SPU Synergy A, $1799, "A bargain." A Rated, in same class as $15,000 models. STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
ORTOFON MC Cartridge Transformer - Made in Denmark
VERTO, $969, "The Ortofon Verto transformer has a heavily chromed front plate & is enclosed in a neat black box. The Verto has only one pair each of input & output jacks, but it provides two primaries, rated at 30db & 24db of gain. Melodies flowed brilliantly well & timbral colors & textures were very good." Exceptional value. STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
STEREOPHILE & ABSOLUTE SOUND give Parasound 9
recommendations, the most of any solid-state amp.
"Parasound [is] built on making audio components that look & sound expensive, but sell for much less than it appears they should & on the substantial legend of audio engineer John Curl, designer of enduringly influential classics [Mark Levinson, Vendetta Research, Grateful Dead electronics, etc.]" STEREOPHILE 11/15
Z PHONO phono preamp, $199 "An impressive showing," EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, favorably compares to $600 model, STEREOPHILE
"Excellently built & makes very nice sounds: large sound stage, excellent layering & bloom with remarkably good balance, dynamic range & detail." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"Remarkably high neutrality; superbly built. ONLY RECOMMENDED PHONO STAGE UNDER $500.
BUYER'S GUIDE, ABSOLUTE SOUND
RECOMMENDED, SENSIBLE SOUND
Z PHONO USB, Phono preamp with USB output, list $400, now $249 "Impressed by the quality & quantity of the heavy bass, as well as by the size of the soundstage & the wealth of recorded detail," STEREOPHILE
Z DAC, v. 2, Digital to Analog Converter, $575 "Offers an immaculate sound stage with velvety black backgrounds devoid of electronic hash or noise. It is all about space & ease in reproducing the timbre & texture of acoustic instruments & voice." ABSOLUTE SOUND
Z AMP, v.3 stereo power amp, $349, 45W/ch,
8 ohm; 60W/ch, 4 ohm, 90W/ch, 8 ohm, 20-20k
"I've used a couple of Zamps for years. They've powered my rear surround speakers, my officie & filled in for other amps around the house. The Z amps are totally reliable & sound nice." STEREOPHILE
"One helluva 45 watt amp, regardless of price tag & chassis size," THE AUDIO CRITIC
"The smoothness & naturalness of the Zamp's midrange was exceptional: clean, sweet, realistic & musical. If you're in the market for an inexpensive amp, run - do not walk- to check out this amp. It's a fabulous value for the money." audioXpress
PARASOUND Classic Amps
2100, $695, Stereo Preamp, "I don't know of another preamp with all these features - Subwoofer output with variable crossover; Phono input, switchable to moving magnet, coil or line; Remote control; Tone controls; & Front panel MP3 input. The sound is clean, transparent, airy highs, tight & controlled bass. Distortion is so low we couldn't measured it." ENJOY THE MUSIC .COM
"High-end stereo preamp with unique capabilities for integration into home theater systems & custom installs." EXCITE AWARD, CUSTOM RETAILER
"The Halo integrated's overall sound was spirited, naturally detailed & alluringly three dimensional. This combination of amp & speakers made for pure audio joy. Soundstages were enormous & tangible. The imaging was glorious. One of the best-ever audiophile systems for under $5000." STEREOPHILE
"The Parasound Halo integrated amp uses the latest generation ESS Sabre 32 Reference DAC for decoding PCM up to 384khz / 32 bit & DSD & has a full complement of digital inputs including asynchronous USB 2.0." ABSOLUTE SOUND
A21, power amp, $2495, 250W, 8 ohm; 400W/ch, 4 ohm "Very fine amp at exceptionally fair price. Midrange & bass excellent; sounded fundamentally similar to $20-40,000 amps." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"Excellent amp, 250W/ch/8 ohm, 400W/ch/4 ohm." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
A23, power amp, $995, 125W/ch, 8 ohm; 200W/ch, 4 ohm; "Reasonably priced amp, musically quite involving." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
JC1 Power Amp $8988/pr, 400W, 8 ohm; 800W, 4 ohm; 1200W, 2 ohm, EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, A RATED; "Powerful, refined, smooth, dynamic, transparent; rated 400W, does 586W." PRODUCT of the YEAR; in SAME CLASS as $55,000 AMPS. STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
"The build & sound quality of my JC1 mono amps, my reference amps, is first rate. If they were made in America, it would cost a lot more. $30,000 for a pair of Halcros? I'll take Parasounds. I heard both & I did." STEREOPHILE
"I [Sam Tellig] own a pair of JC1 amps. They're a steal. I've used the JC1's with 24 different speakers & never ran out of power. In a large room - especially one with cathedral ceilings & open space - you need increased power." STEREOPHILE
"A revelation; impressively coherent; transparent & detailed soundstage." STEREOPHILE
"Effortlessly powerful, silky smooth, crystal clear abundantly detailed." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
HOME THEATER highly recommended;
Tested Power: 8 ohm, 499W, .1% dist; 582W, 1% dist.; 4 ohm, 609W, .1% dist; 836W, 1% dist.
"The JC1 apparent bass response was far better than I'd ever heard before, demonstrating low-end reach that I just didn't expect. Subtle ambiance, imaging & the soundstage were all staggering. The placement of instruments had a more realistic feel. On Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," the crisp highs & Stevie Nicks liquid vocals never sounded so good. I no longer felt the need to integrate a sub into my two channel listening."
"Parasound's Halo amps get my complete standing ovation. The JC1 left my jaw on the floor & the A51 proved to be a superb complement with multichannel music & soundtracks. They made me a true believer. It's rare that any amp wil have such a profound effect, but these provided one I never wanted to let go of & the JC1 / A51 combo has now found a permanent home in my reference system. I can't give a higher recommendation than that."
PARASOUND HALO PREAMPS
JC2 Preamp, $4295, PRODUCT of the YEAR, ABSOLUTE SOUND GOLDEN EAR AWARD; EDITOR'S CHOICE
"Neutral & natural, transparent, quick & delicately detailed; a masterwork." BUYER'S GUIDE, ABSOLUTE SOUND
"Like the JC1, the JC2 is up there with the best of them, but down to earth in price. Competes successfully against preamps, solid-state or tubes, that sell for twice the price or more. It excels at reproduction of space; helps the JC1 amps throw a huge soundstage." STEREOPHILE
EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, A RATED; IN SAME CLASS as $37,000 PREAMPS "Excellent reproduction of space; music emerges intact with body, bloom & dynamics, with definition & detail form an utterly silent background. Perhaps the finest solid-state line stage I've heard." STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
"Remarkably detailed & shockingly realistic sound. Rock solid build quality; parts quality absolutely first rate. JC1 & 2 sound strikes a keen balance between superlative resolution & sounding beguilingly sweet & natural. I'm totally absorbed by CDs that previously bored me. Experience the Parasounds first hand. Bring your favorite music & hear it like never before." HOME ENTERTAINMENT
"The BEST BARGAIN in a HIGH END PREAMP. This is the closest I've heard solid state come to a fundamentally neutral sound. It preserves fine harmonic & dynamic detail, air & bloom in the midband; [plus] the frequency extremes, which is unique in a solid state preamp. EXTREME RARITY - A REFERENCE QUALITY PRODUCT THAT MANY of us can ACTUALLY AFFORD." GOLDEN EAR AWARD, ABSOLUTE SOUND
JC3+ Phono preamp, $2850, GOLDEN EAR AWARD, ABSOLUTE SOUND - The only other phono preamp chosen was $19,000! "Built by Parasound but designed with the inspiration & insight of the legendary John Curl, the JC3 seems destined to embarass much pricier phonostages for the forseeable future. With a fully isolated dual- mono layout inside its full-sized chassis, each channel is housed in its own extruded aluminum vault. As a result, backgrounds are eerily quiet; instrumental timbres are rich; channel separation is exquisite. There's a sweet kiss of romance through the the mids & an uncanny ability to extract & define low-level information in acoustic space. Capable of handling all but the lowest of the low output moving coils on the market, the JC-3 truly is an affordable examplar of Curl's passion for a format once given up for dead." ABSOLUTE SOUND
P7 $2295, HOME THEATER, highly recommended; "The perfect choice for those looking for a preamp that won't be outdated a year later & who want an audiophile grade preamp for 2 channel & multichannel sources. At $2295, its value is a testament to Parasound's ability to deliver world-class audio at prices that are actually realistic & attractive. With the right front-end device, you have everything you need for an involving sonic experience that'll knock your socks off."
"Delightful sound" STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
Parasound Halo AV Amps
A51, Surround sound power amp, 250W, 8 ohm; 400W, 4 ohm x 5 channels, $4795, "My reference amp is the Parasound A51. I purchased this amp last spring after wanting to own it for more than 10 years & I consider it to be one of the best amps that money can buy." SOUND & VISION, 10/14
EDITOR'S CHOICE "Powerful power amp with impressive sound. Excellent value." HI-FI CHOICE, AWARDS
HOME THEATER, highly recommended; tested power: 8 ohm, 301W, .1% dist; 330W, 1% dist 4 ohm, 357W, .1% dist; 423W, 1% dist
The same issue has a test of a $6000 McIntosh MC8207, 7 channel power amp, with the same power as a $8500 MC207 amp. Parasound's A51 amp is $1500 - 4000 less, has 40% more 8 ohm power, won a higher value rating & is the amp the reviewer purchased.
"Parasound's Halo amps get my complete standing ovation. The JC1 left my jaw on the floor & the A51 proved to be a superb complement with music & soundtracks. They made me a true believer. It's rare that any amp has such a profound effect, but these provided one I never wanted to let go of. This combo is now my permanent reference system. I can't give a higher recommendation than that."
A31, $3295, 3 channel power amp "The A31 is rated at 250W/ch, 8 ohms; 400W/ch, 4 ohms, all 3 channels driven 20Hz-20k. I was struck by the A31's treble; it seemed to reveal more detail across the soundstage & subtleties of texture. The remarkable definition continued into the mids & bass. The bass was firm & extended & never lacked for power & weight. The A31's clean, luminous sound was distinguishable from the slightly opaque treble of the $6000 Bel Canto Ref1000Mk2 monoblocks. The A31 is slightly less powerful than the $10,000 McIntosh MC303 into 8 ohms & more powerful into 4 ohms. The Mac's treble was a bit recessed in comparison." STEREOPHILE
PRIMA LUNA TUBE POWER AMPS
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PROLOGUE ONE, $1799 "My astonishment at the level of value couldn't be more genuine. 42W/ch into 8 ohms; 47W/ch into 4 ohms. Boy oh boy can I recommend this amp. Lustily, heartily & enthusiastically recomended."
"If there were a Nobel prize for bringing affordable audio to the masses, I'd nominate [Prima Luna's owner] Kevin Deal. Prologue One is built like a $3000 amp. The Prologue One is right up there with the best. put tubes or 40W/ch with KT88s. It has a heavy-gauge, ventilated case with a lustrous 5 coat finish, point-to-point wiring & 5 pairs of RCA input jacks, a Home Theater bypass & connections for 4 & 8 ohm speakers. Produced a natural, inviting midrange & performed well with a wide variety of speakers; offers outstanding sound quaity at a very reasonable price; respectable measured performance." "A tube-roller's delight, thanks to auto-biasing the Dialogue can hardly be bettered when it comes to user friendliness & operational flexibility." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
ALL MADE IN EUROPE & INCLUDE TONEARM & CARTRIDGE
HI-FI CHOICE chose the top hi-fi of all time. Quad is the highest ranked speaker. "The British Gold Standard; first practical full-range electrostatic; wide dynamics & delicate transparency weaves an unmatched spell." Models can have black grills & tops; or in classic finish with gold weave grills & solid mahogany wood tops.
ESL988, A rated, $6499/pr, black; $7149/pr, classic; in same class as $39,000 models.
"World class resolution, superb soundstaging, spectacular transient response" STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
5 Star, top rated, above B&O, B&W, Bose, Dali, Dynaudio, Revel & more. WHAT HI-FI
"It will play at natural levels with a purity & accuracy will spoil you." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
ALL MADE IN ENGLAND & INCLUDE TONEARM & HINGED DUST COVER. ABSOLUTE SOUND RECOMMENDS 3 REGA TURNTABLES, THE MOST OF ANY COMPANY. THE ONLY TURNTABLES ABSOLUTE SOUND CALLS "ONE of the GREATEST BARGAINS of HIGH END AUDIO" are the REGA P1 & P6.
P1, $475, STEROPHILE's most affordable recommended turntable; includes installed diamond needle cartridge.
EXCEPTIONAL VALUE "Compared to the P1, the RP1 has more drive, better focus & was more confident, purposeful & authoritative. The P1 looks good, is easy to set up & plays records like it means it. It's not just that I can't imagine $475 buying more happiness; I can't imagine so modest an investment in money & effort buying more music." STEREOPHILE
WHAT HI-FI, 5 stars, "Excellent budget product; terrific performer for the money; easy to use & set-up; fine build" includes cartridge, improved tonearm & phenolic platter, l7.4xl4x4.5"
"Rega's entry level table sells for roughly the same price it did 20 years ago, meaning that Rega's commitment to value remains paramount. You get the pace, musical interplay & involvement that make analog special." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
P3, $945; with $300 Rega Elys 2 cartridge, $1145
A significant step forward. The result is deeper bass, lower noise, more dynamic pop, increased detail & improved staging. Things get better yet with the optional TT PSU power supply, $375" ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
EXCEPTIONAL VALUE. In same class as $2000 turntables. "Compared to the P3-24, the RP3 sounded leaner & cleaner with a tighter & better controlled bottom end. The P3 is a plug'n'play package that's beautifully built, well engineered & sounds wonderful. Compared to the VPI Traveler, the RP1 consistently produced faster transients & more aggresive, precise imaging for an overall sound that was snappy & exciting."
"Another virtuoso turn from Rega. Few rivals are as fuss-free or sound so good – easy to set up and use." WHAT HI-FI, PRODUCT of the YEAR
P6, $1595; with $600 Rega Exact 2 cartridge, $1995. "The RP6 comes standard with the TT PSU power supply, a must for top performance. Note the large improvements in dynamic nuance & explosiveness, tonal & textural detail, size & depth of stage & sheer musicality." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
RP8, $2995; with $700 Rega Apheta 2 moving coil cartridge, $3995. ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
In same class as $6500 'tables. "Setup quick & simple; produced a powerful, dynamic, coherent overall sound with solid, well-defined images; clean, articulated bass, exceptional resolution of detail & outstanding dynamics. Rega's new turntable-tonearm combo is the most exciting & truly revolutionary turntable in quite some time." STEREOPHILE, 4/16
Rega Elys 2 $295, Exceptional value; in same class as $800 cartridges. STEREOPHILE
REGA PHONO PREAMPS Rega Fono MM $395, "A great all-rounder that continues to deliver sonic excitement to any budget set-up." WHAT HI-FI, PRODUCT of the YEAR
ALL MADE IN ENGLAND
RB330, $595, EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, in the same class as $9,750 tonearms. STEREOPHILE
REGA Integrated Amps
INCLUDES MM PHONO PREAMP & REMOTE CONTROL
BRIO R, $945, 50W/ch, Rega's most affordable integrated amp. "There's a lot to be said for an amp that doesn't sound conspicuously solid state or tube but suggests the strengths of both. The Brio-R impressed with a forthright balance of weight, tonal density & authority. Particularly well-suited for smaller floor standers & compact speakers." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
Rega Elex R, $1695, 60-90W/ch,"An agile, articulate performer that gets to the heart of the music with a fast, agile sound that's rhythmically assured." WHAT HI-FI, PRODUCT of the YEAR
Rega Elicit R, $2995, 105W/ch, "This really is the best stereo amplifier we've heard at this price. What makes it truly impressive is how musical and interesting it sounds." WHAT HI-FI, PRODUCT of the YEAR
OSIRIS, $9995, Rega's best integrated amp, 162W/ch. "Deliver's almost mind-bending levels of dynamic agility, subtlety & clout. An eerily effective & 3-dimensional sounstager." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
REGA CD Players ALL MADE IN ENGLAND
Apollo-R, $1095, "A" rated, in the same class as $12,000 & $13,000 CD players. "The Apollo-R has a confident, solid sound with an analog sense of certainty. Its performance was a revelation & stunning in the way it got things so rhythmically right" STEREOPHILE
SATURN-R, COMBINED DAC & TRANSPORT. $2995. BEST BUY; nothing I have heard in digital audio delivers resolution & musicality in such convincing & entertaining fashion as the Saturn-R." EAR MAGAZINE
ISIS, $9995, Rega's best CD. "Rega's lsis CD player optimizes everything in the disc reading processl. The resulting sound is exceptionally three dimensional." ABSOLUTE SOUND, EDITOR'S CHOICE
REGA Digital-Analog Converter MADE IN ENGLAND
Rega DAC, $1195, "had a richness, a fulness of tone, an analog sense of ease that l hitherto heard from digital. The most analog sound I've heard from a DAC. The filter settings allow the user to change the sound significantly." STEREOPHILE
"The Rega is musically at home in leagues well outside its price point." ABSOLUTE SOUND, EDITOR'S CHOICE
STEREOPHILE on line
SPIN CLEAN Record Washing System, $79
ACCESSORY of the YEAR "The Spin Clean Record Cleaner is a pure manual design - nothing to plug in. A little elbow grease & fresh air do all the work. Fill the yellow basin with distilled water, add a capful of cleaning solution & spin the record between the brushes. Ambient air & a couple of swirls with the supplied lint-free cotton cloths do the rest. lt's a truly green product - totally off the grid. The results speak for themselves - clean surfaces mean less noise & more fully resolved music." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
"Meet my new best friend, the Spin Clean Record Washing System. Operationally, it's a breeze. The result is a disc that is suddenly as shiny black as the day you brought it home. Less noise means more clearly resolved music. On a prized disc that hadn't been cleaned in years, the difference was an overall reduction in backgroud noise - removal of most tiny snaps & crackes from the lead-in groove right through to the end. Is Spin Clean as slick as the fully robotic machines [like the VPI]? Probably not. But for lighter duty it's pretty tough to beat. Not to mention avoiding the hidden costs like worn styli & further degradation of the surfaces of your prized LPs." ABSOLUTE SOUND
EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, "Got the job done."
SUMIKO THORENS Turntables
BLUE POINT SPECIAL II $399,"Improved resolution, superior 3-dimensionality, richer & more potent bass & smoother highs." ABSOLUTE SOUND
PHONO CARTRIDGE of YEAR "Affordable, easy-to live with, high-output moving coil cartridge. Compared to others, it offers 3 compelling advantages: superior resolution of low-level sonic details, faster & more precise transient response & ability to produce broad, spacious, 3-dimensional soundstages. Significant improvements over Bluepoint Oyster, richer & more powerful bass & markedly smoother highs." ABSOLUTE SOUND RECOMMENDED; EDITOR'S CHOICE
BLUE POINT SPECIAL EVOIII, $499, EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, "Tight clarity, rhythmic certainty, excellent tracking," STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
"One of the best entry level, high output, moving cartridges." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
BEST BUY "High frequency refinement & nimble, artculate & revealing sound." HI-FI CHOICE
BLACKBIRD $1099, "This high-output moving coil is smooth yet detailed, with a wide soundstage & fine low-end authority. Midrange instruments are particularly seductive." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
"Strong bass power, extension & focus. Wide-open soundstage, plenty of detail & shimmering, well-balanced top end without brightness or edge." In same class as $1600 cartridges.
PALO SANTOS PRESENTATION $3999, CARTRIDGE of the YEAR "Well balanced & neutral in the mids. This beauty draws you into its naturalistic web & conveys complexities of timbre & space that are arresting & authentic." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
"This moving coil has an open-construction body of tuned wood. Its overall sound - smooth, sweet, but stil sunny & nicely detailed - makes it a great choice for the music lover with eclectic tastes who wants to bridge the gap between analytical & romantic sound." A rated, in same class as $15,000 cartridges. STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
"This beauty draws you into its naturalistic web & conveys complexities of timbre & space that are nothing short of authentic." from ABSOLUTE SOUND's HIGH END AUDIO BUYER's GUIDE
OUTSTANDING PRODUCT, Hi-Fi News
All made in Germany; include cartridge
TD309, $1699, "BEST EUROPEAN TURNTABLE, EISA AWARD
"This eye-catching turntable is clearly the most novel design to emerge from Thorens in the last decade. It is ready within minutes of unpacking & offers more than a glimpse into the world of the glorious vinyl sound, which is growing in popularity among general consumers & audiophiles alike. The TD309 is a stylish & affordable passport into the realm of the vinyl LP." HIFI NEWS
"Excellent imaging, great bass, fine rhythm, absolutely outstanding." OUTSTANDING PRODUCT, Hi-Fi News
VIBRAPODS - U.S. MADE
"Vibrapods are small, flexible vinyl pucks that can transform a system. Put them under speakers & electronics & hear bass extension & smoother highs. Vibrapod Cones - use them as stand alone footers or combine with Vibrapods to get even more out of your system."
ABSOLUTE SOUND RECOMMENDED; EDITOR'S CHOICE
"PIaced under CDs, DACs & preamps, the 1" x 3" dia. Vibrapods isolate & enhance performance. Five different models are rated for loads of 2 - 28 lbs. each; match the quantity to the component. I keep a box of them around so that no component goes without. A favorite." STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED
U.S. MADE; Models below include tonearm & base; cartridge & dust cover are optional
TRAVELER, $1349 with $240 Grado cartridge. The Traveler features include:
1] 10" tonearm for reduced tracking error.
2] 24 lb. total weight, reducing feedback or unwanted resonance.
3] 8 pound platter weight, for better speed consistency.
4] Large AC motor, for better speed consistency.
5] RCA jacks, allowing easy cable upgrades.
6] Four 2" high conical aluminum feet, with rubber tips, reducing feedback or unwanted resonance.
No other turntable anywhere near the Traveler's price has all these features [except for other VPI models].
"Best new product." AV Showroom
"Piano sounded far more delicate, natural & controlled than I'd ever heard. Outstanding low end control & awesomely silent backgrounds. I began sending delirious text messages to audiophile friends. Intoxicating, almost magical."
"Traveler was easily the best; spacious, open, silky smooth & well controlled, a wide, deep soundstage. The VPI kept time perfectly. I can't imagine a happier way of listening to LPs than with the Traveler. The Traveler isn't merely reasonably priced - it's a remarkable bargain, built to last a lifetime. And it's made with love, right here in the U.S." Stereophile
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