What were your thoughts on the McCormack DNA 225 and Classe CA201? Thanks.
If you re-read Kal's "rave", it's not really a rave. Kal also publicly stated that he had nothing to do with this amp being placed into Stereophile's "Class A" category as this was already decided prior to him receiving the amp for review. The "Class A" rating was based on Sam Tellig's "review" according to what JA stated in prior threads pertaining to this unit. Either way, it is like any other unit. If it works good within the confines of your system and you like the characteristics that it brings with it, enjoy it. Sean
The DNA-225 was a good sounding amp, but complex orchestral or bank passages sounded slightly compressed. Instruments seemed to get pushed together, lacking the separation of lines they should have had. It was not a bright amplifier at all ( a good thing). Take all this with the caveat that I only used the DNA-225 for 50 hours, so it was perhaps not fully broken in.
The Classe 201 was a pleasant sounding amplifier with a warmer and fuller midrange than the DNA-225, but it also seemed to compress dynamics and run instruments together even more than the McCormack. In the end, I felt it had a somewhat "homogenous" sound, with a sameness to its sound.
Kevziek, thanks for an interesting and informative review. I'm glad you took the time to break in the amp and compared it to other well-known products that you have heard.
Re the KR review: well, I guess that writing all those papers in grad school dumbed me down so much that I can't read plain English anymore, and that what certainly seemed like a glowing review (just as Kevziek states) was actually not... :)).
I guess we have different ideas as to what a "glowing review" is. When a reviewer goes out of their way, albeit a couple of times, to make sure that one fully understands that a product has a distinctly coloured presentation compared to several other amps on hand, i don't call that "glowing". "Glowing" to me is a full tilt endorsement with no reservations or noticeable flaws to the point that the reviewer feels the need to harp on them. Granted, the majority of products reviewed in Stereophile all get "endorsements" and "glowing reviews", but some are much stronger than others. Sean
There are so many amps out there, so I would not be surprised if there are transistor amps that do not have a "silicon" sound. I can only say that those I have experience with lack the sonic attributes that tubes provide. The PS is not perfect -- and nothing is. But to my ears, it provides some of the palpability and body that a tube unit provides, and it doesn't seem to get confused when the music becomes complex, which is something I found in nearly every conventional solid state amp I listened to.
When I have the resources, some possible contenders I'd like to try would be: Pass, Gamut, Clayton & Plinius, among others.
I stand corrected - KR didn't give the HCA-2 a rave review. But he was quite impressed with it, and told anyone looking for a new amp to consider it, especially considering THE PRICE, price being the key word. I basically concur with his analysis of the amp, with the exception of his perception of depth being huge, I only perceived as above average.
I compared over twelve SS amps last year and one of them was the Spectron Musician digital amp. It was very fast and extremely clean sounding but it sounded like the music was coming from one plane without the depth I wanted. Also my older Kinergetics KBA-75 was more musical sounding. I bought the Pass X-250 which is not as clear sounding but had other characteristics that I liked. The digiatal amps are not bad for the prices since the Pass lists for $2500 more.
Kevziek: Not to steal Bigkidz thunder, but you really have to listen to a Pass amp in a well set-up system to be able to understand what they sound like / do for music reproduction. I think of them as bringing the "three E's" to a system i.e. Engaging, Engulfing and Emotional. Until you hear amps of this calibre, you really don't know what you are missing. Sean