Review: Vivid Audio Chameleon Integrated amp Tube amp

Category: Amplifiers

This system started as a second system of random equipment and has morphed into a relatively simple system composed of the Vivid Audio Chameleon integrated tube amp, a Sony multidisc player (for background) and a Naim CDSII for the most serious type of listening.
I prefer sound that is full, rounded, not edgy and has good microdynamics as well as natural tone color. The sound needs to be faithful to the sound of real instruments.

Systems I do not like are those with one note bass and piercing, unnatural treble. I also do not like systems where every recording sounds the same or sounds mechanical.

My musical taste is eclectic and only leaves out certain forms of electronic and heavy metal music. I listen extensively to jazz, blues, symphonic, and chamber music as well as opera.

My test recordings include the Verdi opera Simon Boccanegra (DGG 415 693-2), Poulenc Concerto for Organ (Linn Hybrid SACD CKD 180), For Duke (RealTime CD RT 1001), Earl Hines Honor Thy Fatha (Drive Archive DE2-41034) and Garcia and Grisman's Shady Grove (Acoustic Disc ACD 21).

The Vivid amp has been in place for 3 months. It replaced a Naim Nait 5. The sound is more open with better timbral accuracy and spatial information. The micro and macrodynamics are better defined. The soundstage is relatively large and all the instruments and voices are accurately represented in all respects.
This system is the first one I have heard that I can listen to after a live concert and not want to sell all my gear.
Among the strengths of the Chameleon are great imaging, accurate tonal representation and a sense of the musician's intent of the performance.
While the Chameleon doesn't play at monster, earbusting levels, the bass with the Chameleon is clear, quick, clean and accurate if coupled with an efficient speaker (92 dB or better) of the type for which it is designed.

I would definitely own this if money was no object. In fact, it may totally replace a much more expensive system in another room.

Associated gear
Cain and Cain Abby speakers, Naim CDSII and Sony 555ES CD Player, Vivid Audio cabling

Similar products
Naim Nait 5 integrated amp, Rega Jupiter CD player, Audio Physic Virgo speakers.