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How Your Amplifier is Not About Watts, It's About Current - Enjoy the Music
Possibly the most misunderstood fact about quality HiFi amplification is the more watts the better. The feature amplifier on the cover photo is a PrimaLuna Classic valve amplifier that outputs 35 watts per channel. It will take you to an emotional place that will help music touch your soul. Dynamics, timbre and musical sweetness that keeps you coming back for more. There are also solid state amplifiers that will deliver a special experience - but there are also some disappointments.....
Imagine the power supply of your amplifier as the engine for your music. If it is designed with passion it will respond with current and dynamics when required at whatevever volume and bring the music to life. The effort that an amplifier designer puts into their power supply design, with such concepts as toroidal transformers, is the essence of a great experience. When you read the Ads quoting 100's of watts output - the bigger the better for even less dollars - it sounds like great value, but to tell you the truth it can equate loudness and distortion. Ever heard a portable radio turned all the way up? You reach to turn it down because the sound is distorted and uncomfortable and that's just a a few watts with distortion. As we have learned with playing vinyl, if you have quality equipment it costs more but delivers an experience that is priceless.
When manufacturers quote lots of watts in a home theatre amplifier for what seems an amazing price they conveniently forget to tell you about the distortion and lack of dynamics that bring the music to life when they quoted figures that originally sounded impressive. We were blessed back in the 1960's and 1970's when amplifier designers were proud of the fact that their 35 watt per channel integrated amplifier would power what were very large floorstanding speakers to room-filling levels. Credit needs to be given to both parties as the iconic Marantz 1070 amplifier at its humble 35 watts per channel was capable of powering the also iconic efficient Klipsch Klipschorn to satisfying levels - so much so they were advertised in the press at the time.
Both manufacturers still produce products that, whilst understated in wattage, deliver music with all the dynamics and musicality you could want at very reasonable and realistic prices.The same can be said for current quality HiFi brands such as Marantz, Sugden, Rotel, Rega, and Cambridge Audio that dedicate themselves with passion to delivering the music without distortion but with the energy that brings the music to life. At a special level there are valve amplifier designers that reproduce the sweetness of valves from the 1960's from the designs of Saul B.Marantz but with valve reliability and bass slam required for Rock music, only in it's infancy in the 1960's. Such brands as PrimaLuna and Cayin.
We are in a rennaissance with the resurgance of vinyl and the understanding of what makes music special. This truly cannot be understated as there is something special afoot. A musical amplifier is not about watts but current and what is current. It is the ability of the amplifier's power supply to deliver the dynamics necessary to provide an emotional experience to the listener, to feel the music. Music is part of our essence and we know it when we feel it. It is quite an experience when we find that. It takes us to places that are special.
To quote the designer of PrimaLuna valve amplifier technology "If you think about any tube amplifier, they breathe, they communicate music, there's very few albums recorded today that don't have tubes recorded somewhere in their production......vacuum tubes touch me emotionally.....it's something vacuum tubes do so well". We recognise that not everyone can own a valve amplifier but they can own a quality amplifier and we care about this!
Please don't let watts determine your decision. Let the dynamics of the music determine your decision. Technology has brought us to great turntables at affordable prices and musical amplifiers at affordable prices. Please seek our advice as we want you to have a great musical experience. We are happy to help.
It is after all truly about the music and the experience!
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