Hybrid Amplifiers Coventry RI
Audio / Video, Home Automation / Systems Integration / Home Networking, Home Theater, Lighting Control, Multi-Room Audio
Leviton, Vantage, Lutron, Savant, NAD, Niles, B&W, Russound, Onkyo, Denon, Parasound, NHT, Triad, James Loudspeaker, Proficient, Bay Audio, Canton, JBL, Zenith, In-Focus, Panasonic, Pioneer, NEC, Samsung, Sharp, Bell''O, Salamander
One or more employees at this company have achieved CEDIA Professional Certification status:- Shawn Bennett, CEDIA Certified Professional EST II
East Providence, RI
East Providence, RI
as reviewed by Brad Morrical
Hybrid amplifiers, though unusual, seem to be gaining in popularity, particularly integrated hybrids. Why do designers create hybrid amps? After all, a hybrid design requires detailed knowledge of both solid state and vacuum tube circuitry, and the two technologies are not necessarily compatible. Still, tube and solid state amplifiers tend to sound different. Each technology has its strengths and weaknesses, and it must be the lure of a bridge between the speed, power, and ease of use of solid state and the harmonic completeness, dynamic contrast, and sheer presence of tube gear that tempts engineers to create a happy marriage between the two. The AcousticPlan Santor is a hybrid amplifier that attempts this synthesis of sound in the simplest possible manner, with a large dose of clever thinking and with attention to the details of good engineering and construction.
You might be asking, "If transistors can do voltage amplification okay and current amplification great, why bother with tubes?" This is a good question, and one that is best answered by listening. For many people (myself included), tube circuits do a superior job of preserving the tone and texture of recordings. The most subtle microdynamic and low-level information is preserved, resulting in a less electronic-sounding component. Why is that so important? Tone is one of the primary means by which musicians express themselves, and it is critical to the character of an instrument. In my opinion, tone has been given short shrift in high-end audio for the past twenty years. The pursuit of more and more resolution, transparency, speed, dynamics, and neutrality has sent tone to the back of the bus. This can be readily heard in many so-called high-end amplifiers. The revival of SET amps, and tubes in general, is (in part) a backlash against the sterile, toneless gear we've been hearing since the 1970s. Even today, a lot of highly touted gear does not reproduce instrumental tone correctly.
Let me state my position: If a piece of audio equipment cannot correctly reproduce the tone and timbre of an instrument, and cannot sustain that tone and timbre throughout the instrument's decay, that piece of equipment is not true hi-fi, despite its other positive attributes. I am not saying that tone and timbre are the most important aspects of sound reproduction, but simply that you cannot have high-fidelity sound reproduction without correct tone, timbre, and decay. Those of you who favour attack and slam should ask yourselves this important question: Why do rare musical instruments like Stradivarius violins fetch millions of dollars? What makes one instrument more valuable than another? For the most part, the reason is the tone that the instrument is capable of making. I have heard many rare violins during the last three years, and can attest to the incredible part t...