Review: Marsh Sound Design A-400s Amplifier
My musical tastes range widely and include contemporary jazz, folk, pop, blues, singer-songwriter and ambient music. I tend to look for warmth, dimension, and naturalness and had in the past favored tube equipment, including a really Audio Research D115mk2 100 wat tube amp. Alas, when I got my Totem Mani 2s- a replacement and upgrade from the Vandersteen II CEs- they were current-hungry and demanding. I demoed several solid state amps in the 150-200 watt range and found the Marsh not only to be the best sounding and most tube-like, but also one of the better absolute values. The McCormack DNA 225 was retailing for about $2800; the Belles 350A, which had the closest sound to the Marsh, was over $3000. I thought it was an incredibly good deal, almost too good to be true. 18 months later, and particularly since the price went up $500 since I bought it, I still think the Marsh is probably the best value in a solid state amp in the 200-watt range and the best sounding solid state amp below the next level occupied by Pass, Plinius and Rowland. The mid and highs are even and without grain or metal; it is able to power incredible strength on the bass, even through my unforgiving and greedy Mani 2's. I may, admittedly, upgrade to a Pass or Plinius, but I'll pay twice as much or more for a modest incremental improvement.
Resolution Audio CD-50, modified by Great Northern Sound; Totem Mani 2 speakers, MIT Cables and interconnects, Audio Research LS8 Preamp.
Amplifiers by McCormack, Belles, Classe