Magazine article Gramophone

A Famous Name Revived-And More: Amplifiers Take Centre Stage This Month, from the Compact to the Massive

Magazine article Gramophone

A Famous Name Revived-And More: Amplifiers Take Centre Stage This Month, from the Compact to the Massive

Article excerpt

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The new Marantz HD-AMP1 integrated amplifier (1), first previewed back in June last year and now going into the shops at 799 [pounds sterling], promises much. Not only is it a development of the HD-DAC1, the company's digital-to-analogue converter/headphone amplifier reviewed in these pages almost a year ago, it also revives the company's MusicLink line of the early 1990s, combining high performance with compact dimensions.

Just a little larger than the headphone amp, the new model uses a high-quality digital-to-analogue converter to handle files at up to 384kHz/32-bit and DSD64/128/256, and has an in-house-designed digital filtering system called Marantz Musical Digital Filtering, plus the company's Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Modules for enhanced sound quality.

Inputs include optical and coaxial digital, plus USB-A and -B connections, and there are also two sets of analogue inputs. Supplied with a remote control handset, the HD-AMP1 is available in black or 'silvergold', with wood-effect side-cheeks.

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On a somewhat grander scale is the C1100 pre-amplifier from McIntosh Laboratory (2. Selling for 12,995 [pounds sterling] via UK distributor Jordan Acoustics, this two-box design is said to offer 'huge connectivity and McIntosh's best technical performance to date'. It comprises the tube-powered pre-amplifier itself, powered by 12 valves (six 12AX7A and six 12AT7) plus a separate controller, the two being linked using a pair of shielded umbilical cables.

Both units are of a dual-mono design, with left and right channels isolated from each other both electrically and mechanically, and the C1100 can be controlled from the front panel or the remote control supplied. Inputs extend to six balanced and four unbalanced connections, plus adjustable-loading moving magnet and moving coil phono inputs, with outputs on two sets each of balanced and unbalanced connections. There's also a high-output headphone section with McIntosh's Headphone Crossfeed Director technology, and a Home Theater Passthrough to allow the C1100 to be integrated into surround systems.

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The McIntosh is handbuilt in Binghamton, New York; from Plymouth, Minnesota, comes the Audio Research GSi75 (3), described as 'a pre-amplifier, amplifier, phono stage, and digital-to-analogue converter all in one chassis' or in other words an integrated amplifier with digital inputs. …

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