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Old Jan 10, 2013, 04:21 PM
Zaires13 Zaires13 is offline
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Going the whole hog is what SUJESH PAVITHRAN does when he finally links up a whole chain of Audiolab electronics in his living room . but is the whole greater than the sum of its parts? But more importantly, will Wile E. Coyote ever catch the Road Runner? WHAT holds promise, for <a href="***********">adidas shoes with wings</a> the adventurous audiophile, of a speedier adrenalin rush than a pair of monoblock power amps? Why, two pairs, of course, silly! And again, I find myself, due to unavoidable circumstances, hosting yet another Audiolab product (Yup, sure. Although, to be fair to me, this is a landmark of sorts -- I've reviewed just about all Audiolabs except the power amp and monoblocks, respectively, the 8000P and 8000M. My experiences with the 8000M have been limited, but I know they represent the pinnacle of the signature Audiolab sound -- clinical, powerful and extremely ****ytical when coupled to the old 8000C preamp, and slightly more musical with the newer 8000Q. I wasn't surprised when I heard that the 8000M had been upgraded -- Cambridge Systems Technology is known to keep at least abreast of the competition. So when fate landed the new 8000MX monoblocks on my doorstep, I didn't complain. But realisation that I was moving right into the heart of British hi-fi esoterica struck when I spotted not two, but four amps. Yes, a whole set of flagship Audiolab electronics, the four monoblocks completing the chain. Audiolab diehards, turn green now! Features All Audiolabs come in a common chassis, the cosmetics (or lack of!) adhering strictly to one school of design. The 8000MX represents this art taken to its spartan extremes -- cool, black and blank fascia, with only <a href="h***********">adidas wings 2.0</a> the power switch, red LED power indicator and legend to break this foreboding expanse of darkness. It's a tad busier at the back, with the AC socket and fuse box, and one signal input, connected in parallel to an output marked "Load" -- this is for daisy-chaining power amps, should you want to bi-amp (or tri-amp) your speakers but have only one pair of signal outputs on your preamp. And yes, finally, the two pairs of speaker outputs -- the 8000MX uses the new BFA connectors, to conform to EU safety regulation. This means you cannot insert 4mm banana plugs into the three-way speaker output terminals; however, bare-wire, pin or spades can still be used, it seems. Be prepared for more of these annoying BFA connectors coming our way on European amps; one doubts the Americans will pay attention to this. Thoughtfully, Audiolab provides the buyer with a set of adaptors which allows you some convenience of sorts, after you've thrown away your 4mm plugs! Note, though, that if your cables are of the fat variety, you'll need to change them as well . the BFA connectors/adaptors won't accommodate those finger-thick wires. All because some damn silly idiot inserted a 4mm plug into an AC outlet and got grilled .! Power output for each 8000MX is quoted at 125 watts into eight ohms; naturally, bi-amping gives the same amount of power into each section of the speaker's crossover, doubling total output into one channel . which is an intimidating thought. Burning-in is required out of the box, and Audiolab says you can leave the monoblock switched on but idling for long hours, to optimise performance. It also takes the amp eight seconds from switch-on to become operational. Circuitry is derived from the older 8000S integrated, which used pure direct coupling and a DC servo system; obviously this has been honed further for the 8000MX . and yes, it is a solid-state affair. Performance Quite possibly, this is the one amp I've fussed over most, given the brief period that I had it . various preamps and source interconnects had to be interchanged before I finally obtained optimum results. Of course, the natural selection of preamp was the 8000Q; for kicks, I also used a couple of Mark Levinson preamps, the No.380 and No.38S. It was a bit of musical chairs with the source connects, as I switched between Nordost Flatline Blue Heaven, van den Hul The First, Ixos Silver Bullet and Straightwire Virtuoso (which, finally, appeared to be the most appropriate one). Source was the Audiolab 8000CDM/8000DAX, <a href="***********">Women jeremy scott wings 2.0</a> XLR-linked via vdH The Second. All four 8000MX monoblocks were hooked to the preamp (whichever in use), via Tice IC-1A TPT connects and run to, variously, Monitor Audio Studio 15 and TDL Studio 1m loudspeakers, via vdH The Wind cable. If you use a pair of monoblocks, the ideal preamp would be the 8000Q -- and typically Audiolab traits, like neutrality, taut and solid bass, and crystal clarity are immediately obvious. Yet, unlike its predecessor, the 8000MX cannot be accused of being sterile or clinical -- there's surely more pizzazz, more thrills, emerging from this monoblock. Move up to bi-amp mode, and you'll find yourself in a different league. It was at this point that I began to feel the 8000Q was over-reaching itself, so for a few fleeting hours, I switched to the No.380. The improvements in staging and resolution were immediately obvious, but before I could come to grips with this marriage, this preamp had to depart temporarily, to be replaced by the older No.38S. Almost similar results, but I began to hear too much honesty here and ultimately identified the weak link as the source connects. Enter the Virtuoso. At this point, the monoblocks exhibited just how deeply into the lower frequency extremes they could delve . sometimes, you felt, rather than heard, low bass. Overall, bass remained tightly controlled, perhaps with only a slight forwardness, coupled with some aggression, in the mid-upper nether regions. Treble was crisp and very articulate, while the midrange tended to lean just on the right side of dry. Vocals had a business-like immediacy to them, lead instruments didn't intrude, nor did the accompanying band. The 8000MX seemed to take on a more upfront presentation, perhaps sacrificing <a href="***********">Men jeremy scott wings 2.0</a> some intimacy and focus in the process, but making up with better pace, timing and drive. Back to the 8000Q, this time with the Virtuoso, and finally, total synergy. I sensed a better balance of soundstage, and tonality . plus, there appeared to be a hint of warmth this time around, which goes to show just how mercilessly revealing the 8000MX can be of changes in the chain. Also, I became a bit more aware of how cluttered the space around instruments can be if recordings are less than top-notch. Conclusion A fine set of monoblocks by most yardsticks, and one, I suspect, that the Americans would observe with some curiosity, especially in bi- or tri-amp configuration. So, do four 8000MX and an 8000Q sound better than a Krell KAV-300i? Hmmm . Well, there certainly is a sense of upbeat urgency about the 8000MX that is a slight detour from the traditional Audiolab approach, without trading the values of accuracy and neutrality. And because the 8000MX possesses ample drive, you won't find it fumbling even with insensitive speakers like the TDL (which is 86dB) or when you crank up the preamp's volume dial. Try a pair with an 8000Q first . If you like the combination, well, there go the year's savings! And be prepared to jettison some ancillaries and software along the way. Model: Audiolab 8000MX monoblock power amplifier
Against: Unforgiving of anything other than quality ancillaries and software; some may find the presentation a bit unnerving; BFA terminals take the fun out of switching speaker cables.
Price: RM3,850 per unit
Review sample courtesy of SAPPHIRE AUDIO SYSTEMS (03-221-8017), 65 Jalan Pasar, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur / also available at ACOUSTIC ARTS (03-262-3676), S148, 2nd Floor, City Square, Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur. For: <a href="***********">jeremy scott wings 2.0</a> Pace and timing; amply revealing; loads of low-end grunt; swings within the right system; as sturdy as any other Audiolab product; willingness to be slave-driven.
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