Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hearing report from the preamp listening event in Taipei

First of all, many thanks to all who arranged such a wonderful event. It's hard to hear world class system in typical store let alone hearing 4 world class pre amp and compare side-by-side.

Here is my 2 cents on the sound of each component, most I have already mentioned after the listening session.

With Krell 600E

Krell EVO 2 leading edge attach was very fast, bass delineation was superb, imaging was excellent, and overall sound was quite neutral. I have never known Krell as neutral in the FPB series which I have listened extensively, but EVO 2 with 600E was quite neutral to the point I was scratching for word what to write about Krell after the session.

MBL 6010D immediately showed its fuller signature on first note, soundstage is not as wide as Krell or Goldmund nor is imaging as precise. I think this is a general trait of German gears which puts more emphasis on tonality than soundstage.

Goldmund 22H was a revelation. It was more transparent than the rest, bass was even more extended than Krell with even more details, imaging was even more sharp and precise, micro dynamic is the best of the bunch probably because it's more detail overall. Top end is the silkiest of them all, even better than ARC which is tube.

ARC Anniversary instantly showed its tube virtue with fullest midrange of the group. Instrument has a bit more air than other pre, and like Ref5 it has larger imaging size and wider soundstage though a bit diffused when compared to Goldmund.

Viola Bravo has a more lively, more extended top end, and even more forceful bottom end than Krell 600E, overall the sound gave all pre amp a more refreshing lift which was a very good complement with MBL. In fact, I thought MBL & Viola had the best vocal tonality of the bunch which was very organic, very tube like, and very QQQ. Bass was also very tuneful, basically it combined the best of solid state and tube.