Anyone remember the Sonogy Concept 60 power amp?
So my power amplifier has been on the fritz lately (bias issue), and had to be sent back to the manufacturer for repairs and adjustments. Fortunately, a good friend of mine volunteered a worthy, if not temporary, replacement to audition while I wait for my amp to return.
My friend, Grant, used to design and build amplifiers. His company was called Sonogy, and they produced high end gear in the 1990s. Their mantra was producing high quality, high value solid state gear that had the smoothness of tubes (many manufacturers of solid state claim this but few succeed). They were best known for a 175W power amp called the “Black Knight” (which knowing Grant, HAS to be a reference to Monty Python). They also produced a version of that same amp called the Concept 60 that was optimized for ultimate SQ using the best of the best parts, and set up for close to 40 W of pure class A, zero feedback, and with gobs of current. Think a big honkin’ V8 tuned for torque instead of horsepower. This unit retailed back in the late 1990’s for just under $4,500. It was reviewed very favorably as a steal in the high end audio world back then. Some reviewers even considered it a benchmark even among sine of the big boys of solid state, like Pass. How does it sound compared with equipment in 2018?
This thing is BIG, sporting an oversized chassis, although not nearly as heavy as my Modwright. Built in bars to carry the unit are truly appreciated! It’s is built burly and industrial, with super high quality switches. A ground float switch on the bottom of the chassis is a neat feature to help remove hum in some systems.
How does it sound? It’s pretty amazing. Paired with my MW preamp and phono stage, this Concept 60 sings smoothly, with effortless power. The bass, especially, is perfectly controlled. With my Daedalus speakers which can become boomy in the lower ranges with a lesser amplifier, this Sonogy matched the best of any amplifier I have heard with these speakers. In fact, I run a pair of Vandersteen powered subs with my MW, and this helps control the bass and add bloom to the midrange. With this Sonogy, I do not have the subs in the system and so think I’m getting close to the same levels of quality from the speakers alone.
What’s interesting is how this 60W, high current solid state amp drives my Daedalus speakers with seemingly more authority than my 150w Modwright.
I have to continue to listen, and so look forward to A/B testing when the MW returns from its vacation out west. Sonehow I think the Concept 60 is going to hold its own, and maybe more.