Pre/Power Amplifiers

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Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 13, 2022
hfnoutstandingWith no fewer than eight channels (bridgeable to four), Primare's most powerful amp to date will service the most ambitious bi-, tri- or quad-amp loudspeaker solutions

It goes without saying that an eight-channel power amplifier is unusual. In the hi-fi world, two channels is the default, and even in multichannel home cinemas the trend is to start with five or seven and then, if you must, add more in pairs. Furthermore, the A35.8, priced £4500, arrives not from a specialist custom install brand, or an audio company with pro studio leanings, but from Primare.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 01, 2018
hfncommended.pngThis neatly packaged, sleekly-styled Scandinavian integrated offers DAC and streaming functionality, plus a very fine sound thanks to its proven Class D power amp modules

Many think of Apple as creating today’s world of sleek, minimalist consumer electronics – but the business and creative heads of that Californian company – Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive – were themselves inspired by great talents working in hi-fi, long before the iconic iPod was ever launched. Lest we forget, Jacob Jensen did amazing industrial design work at Bang & Olufsen for decades, as did Dieter Rams at Braun 15 years earlier.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 13, 2020
hfncommendedWith wireless streaming, class-leading connectivity and 200W of Class D power, this sophisticated Scandinavian pre/power combination covers all the digital bases

Primare – the company that describes itself as 'the sound and vision of Scandinavia' – is also becoming rather more visible in the UK and rest of Europe thanks, in part, to the boost provided by a couple of EISA awards. Based in Sweden and founded by Danish designer and audiophile Bo Christensen, Primare has found its métier over the past few years. Its Prisma platform brought integrated wireless streaming functionality to the hi-fi world before most – and delivered it with typical Scandinavian panache. Ergonomic excellence is central to the brand's values, and this is surely a concept whose time has come.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 12, 2023
hfnoutstandingPS Audio grows its hybrid tube/MOSFET amplifier range with a new flagship that's the crowning achievement of the late and hugely respected designer Bascom H King

Until this year, the flagship power amplifier in PS Audio's stable was the BHK Signature 300 [HFN Jul '16]. Still on sale, it bears the initials of Bascom H King, the veteran designer (Infinity, Constellation Audio and more) who was given license by the Colorado-based company to engineer a high-output monoblock amp around his favoured tube/solid-state hybrid topology. Six years on from launch, the '300 model has been relegated to second-tier status, replaced by the PerfectWave BHK M600.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 27, 2020
hfncommendedThis entry-level combination from US brand PS Audio combines proprietary technology with some tried-and-tested solutions in a preamp/DAC and brace of mono power amps

Colorado-based PS Audio is known for a number of things: its products are handmade in its own US facilities and, as of last year, it only sells direct to its US customers. Here in the UK, PS Audio's equipment is sold more conventionally, through distributor Signature Audio Systems, which premiered the company's Stellar Phono Amplifier at the Hi-Fi Show Live at Ascot in October last year. That product, along with the Power Plant 3 AC regenerator [HFN Jan '20], is part of the new entry-level range from the company.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 01, 2021
hfnoutstandingThis flagship monoblock is not only more powerful but features significant design enhancements over other Class D amplifiers in the Stellar range, including a tube input...

The best of both worlds' is an oft-used rallying cry in the hi-fi industry, rolled out to extol the virtues of everything from compact loudspeakers with big bass output to digital network players with phono stage inputs. It's also the self-proclaimed raison d'être of PS Audio's Stellar M1200 monoblock amp. Sold in pairs for £6000, this recent addition to the Stellar range combines a high-power Class D output stage with Class A vacuum tube input, in pursuit of both efficient speaker-driving muscle and spine-tingling musicality.

Review and Lab: Keith Howard  |  Mar 03, 2020
hfnoutstandingDon't look down your nose at PS Audio's cheapest mains regenerator. Used with low-power source components, pre and headphone amps, it can still be transformative

Back in the late 1970s Bob Stuart of Meridian observed that an amplifier has more inputs than those labelled as such, others being 'output' and 'mains'. It was an idea to which lip-service was widely paid but, on the mains side, nobody really picked up the idea and ran with it until PS Audio introduced its first mains regenerator in 1998. Yes, we'd had mains filters and conditioners of various types before but this was the first device that said that if you want the cleanest mains supply you're going to have to synthesise it from scratch.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 30, 2015
The Quad 22 control unit and II power amplifier have both enjoyed a presence on the hi-fi scene almost from its very beginnings. The 22 appeared in 1959 but the matching Quad II power amplifier had been around since 1953. Like most amplifiers then, the22/II was split into separate units, for mounting inside a larger cabinet. The compact 22 came with a basic metal shell so that none of its working parts was exposed should it be left free-standing.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
The first solid-state Quad remains a classic of the genre Exemplifying all that was admirable in British hi-fi, the 33 preamp (£43) and 303 power amp (£55) were Quad’s first commercial solid-state offerings, the company having waited for the new-fangled transistor to settle down before embracing it in 1967. It was in many ways ‘a solid-state Quad 22’. Any previous customer would have immediately recognised the control locations, the flushmounted rotaries, the balance control under the volume control, the press buttons that also offered Quad’s unique, fully cancellable filter and tone controls and RIAA selectors. In size, the 303 and the Quad II power amps were nearly interchangeable.
Ken Kessler  |  Jun 20, 2023  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2000
hfnvintageKen Kessler brings you an exclusive subjective review of a legend reborn: the Quad ll-forty mono power amplifiers and QC-twentyfour preamp

Goodness me! Two Quad scoops in one season! OK, so it's not like waking up with Kim Basinger, but I am fully aware of the privilege. When I kicked off the Quad 989 loudspeaker review [HFN Jul '00]

Ed Selley  |  Nov 24, 2010
Radford Electronics was set up in Bristol by Arthur Radford back in 1959. In some ways Radford was a late starter in the world of high fi delity, especially compared to Peter Walker of Quad or Harold Leak, and the electronics refl ect this. Indeed, Radford’s designs are often described as being the most ‘modern’ of vintage amplifiers. It was the Series Two amplifiers, soon changed to Series Three, that put Radford’s designs on the map, the Series 3 range comprising two monoblocks – the MA 15 and MA 25 – plus two stereo versions, the STA 15 and STA 25.
John Bamford and Paul Miller  |  Apr 10, 2011
The first product from a new Japanese high-end marque, this imposing hybrid power amplifier system employs a ‘DC reactor’ power supply housed in a separate chassis Rarely does an amplifier designer launch a new hi-fi company with such a bold high-end statement. ‘This is our vision of amplification’s ultimate form’, says designer Robert Koch of the imposing ‘tri-chassis’ Takumi K-70 power amplifier, designed and built in Japan, and the very first product to sport the Robert Koda brand name on its fascia. The Japanese ‘Takumi’ character can be translated as ‘maestro’, while the word ‘takumi’ actually means artisan – the naming of the Takumi K-70 being particularly apt as the amplifier is wholly hand-crafted, and manufacturing is limited to just 20 units per year. It’s a single-ended hybrid design employing some 32 power transistors and two 5842 triodes in each monoblock and one 6X5 rectifier tube per side in the power supply.
Martin Colloms  |  Dec 16, 2022  |  First Published: May 01, 1997
hfnvintageThe no-compromise 2010 preamp and 2020 DAC are part of the US manufacturer's ongoing 2000 series project. Martin Colloms listens

Boulder's founder and chief engineer Jeff Nelson gained his first audio engineering experience with studio mixing desks and the design of a professional cartridge tape unit. This led to a constructive interchange with the late Deane Jensen, the audio transformer wizard and the originator of a classic 'operational amplifier'. This was not an integrated circuit but one implemented at good power and wide bandwidth via the use of discrete devices.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 27, 2020
hfnoutstandingIt looks like the S5 stereo power amp, both inside and out, but the Michi M8 monoblock is altogether more powerful and, as a result, offers a sound with a charm all its own

You'll have to examine the £5399 Michi M8 monoblock power amp very closely to see how it differs from the company's S5 stereo model, reviewed previously alongside the £3299 P5 preamplifier [HFN May '20]. The two are the same price and size, look identical and have much the same 'ask a friend to help' mass. In fact, the M8 weighs marginally less than the S5, at 59.1kg – the difference presumably accounted for by the need for two-channel inputs on the stereo amp whereas the mono version has only single-channel connections, on both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA sockets.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 03, 2020
hfnoutstandingA sleek new look heralds the return of Rotel's premier sub-brand, and its new control amplifier – or preamp – and stereo power amp have the wherewithal to succeed

Michi is back: last marketed in the 1990s, Rotel's elite sub-brand has rejoined the hi-fi fray after a three-year development project, and the establishment of a dedicated facility within the company's factory to hand-build the new products. And I have to admit to a pang of nostalgia for I reviewed the company's RHCD-10 player, slimline RHA-10 preamp and substantial RHB-10 power amp back in the dim and distant, and it was a case of lust at first listen, not to mention sight of the high-quality metalwork with its red-lacquered wooden side-cheeks.

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