Review: Y B A Passion Integre Amplifier
This is my second review in about 3 weeks. Let me first start by saying that the other intergrateds I've listened to had many great qualities. I couldn't, however,listen to each one with exactly the same source material and speakers. This is always a problem when comparing. I can't gurantee where the weakest leak was. The YBA,(price was not a factor) did it the best. I was able to hear the YBA with my Revels. I have owned a YBA Integre for 7 years. NO DT (dual transformer) status. Still, a beautiful sounding integrated, that 'til a year ago, was satisfying my musical needs. I have been upgrading my system, for the past year, and this was the obvious next step, with the Audio Aero Prima, to follow, shortly. This is one beautifully, streamlined, piece of electronics. The only thing very different about this integrated (on the surface,if you will) that I have never seen or heard before, is the volume control. YBA has decided to replace traditional volume potentiometers with attenuators. This attenuator circuit is achieved by a relay-controlled resistor array. The resistors are custom-made for them and follow, (YBA says) strict load guide lines. Their performance (1W, 1% tolerance) enhances sound purity and transparency. What's nice about this applicable technology (which is vastly different method of changing volume gain) is that it's a return to simple components (contacts, resistors) which effectively eliminates the inherent problems of the potentiometer (non-linearity, difficult matching...) and allows a more natural sound. Now to the sound. I went through the traditional break in. I love all kinds of music, but spend a good deal of time listening to jazz. I listened to pieces of music that I'm very familar with, finding myself saying things like, "shit, I never heard those triangles before." Now, I realize that I didn't have a chump system to begin with, so I must have heard them, but since they were now taking on a whole different sound quality, it was even more notable. Female vocals are absolutely world class. I've never heard better, 'cept on far more expensive electonics, and then, really not a whole lot better. Coltrane, Rollins, Adderley all saxes, infact, sound sweet and mellow on top. Very much like tubes. In fact, many times I would sware I'm listening to a fine vacuum tube system. No kidding. I know you guys have heard that ubiquitos phrase before, but it's so true. Then all of a sudden ( and a good thing at that) I'm hearing and feeling the SS advantages. The bass is extended, tight, defined and very powerful. Complex musical pieces come through beautifully, with every instrument getting its share. Patricia Barber, Madeline Peyroux, Billy Holiday, Anita O'day, and the like are wonderful. I don't have the audio adjectival mumbo jumbo, (which don't mean a thing when it comes to subjective listening experiences) that most of you guys have. I will say this. I have a killer ear, and am not easily pleased or influenced by reviews. I trust my ears. They have never steered me wrong. This baby is doing it for me big time. I'll certainly answer any questions that I can. My YBA has no phono. I purchased it new. You'll be hard pressed to find a used one. Sam Tellig told me (the most I could get out of him. His review should be out shortly)is that "if you're thinking of buying one, go ahead. The amp is superb." Of course, your ears are what matters. Mine say "buy this baby and groove."
Micro Mega Stage 1 cd player
Revel M20 Speakers
Sistrum Mini Monitor Platforms
Audio Points on all electronics
Audio Magic Stealth
LAT International cables, interconnects & power cords.
Sunfire Architectural subwoofer on Sistrum support stand
JRDG Concentra II
MF Nu Vista