A few months back, I had the pleasure of testing an amplifier that is produced locally by RaimondAudio. By the way, the website is not up to date, so for questions please shoot him an email at [email protected]
Meanwhile I have heard a few iterations of the bigger brother of the amplifier that I have first reviewed, the DM-120S. I have to say that the version is quite amazing. Actually, I now have the last iteration of the smaller brother and it sounds much better, getting rid of a few cons mentioned in my review, but more on that later.
First off, I will apologize for the pictures. I usually take them with my DSLR and edit them before posting. I became a father recently and my time is quite limited now, so I used my phone.
First off, this amplifier has a huge transformer inside, so it’s a lot heavier than its little brother. I will edit the post with the specs later on.
Listening Impressions & Tests
For easier reference, I am going to call the Raimond Audio DM-120S power amp big Rai, because it also has a smaller brother.
Just for fun, I have measured my ESL-11A speakers with the REW software and I was amazed to see that it drives my speakers flat up to 20khz. Other amplifiers have little dip after 15-18 khz with ESL-11A, probably because of the very low impedance they have on upper treble frequencies.
One thing that I would like to add here as a disclaimer, is that this amplifier is not in its final version, so the specs & sound signature might change in the future.
While, I know it might not be relevant, I also attached the distortions at speaker level, which is pretty good in an untreated room. Big Rai drives the ESL-11A quite nicely.
There is a common misconception about Martin Logan Electrostatic speakers. People think they cannot rock. If you have the right gear associated with them, they will rock your ass off. This is exactly the case here. Big Ray really woke these speakers to life. The PRAT, impact and energy it gave to the speakers was amazing. It really got my feet tapping. The drum hits with impressive impact, the guitars vibrate with energy and textures, and the voice is forward and detailed. Wonderful.
This is not an energetic song, right? However, the control and impact showed by Big Rai, really got me engaged into the song far more than usual. I know that the ESL-11A have active bass, but this was also quite affected by big Rai, showing much greater impact and control than before. The guitars were really upfront, full of details, sparkle and energy.
Those guitar plucks are a real treat to hear. I could hear the energy/vibration in the strings & how they transfer the energy into the guitar’s body. The voice was also really textured, upfront and detailed. You can hear & feel the breath of the artist.
OK, this amplifier brings every song to life. The energy and details it is capable of is really impressive. The chorus in the back was really brought to front by giving it presence, life and detail to every voice in there. In the same time, the instruments were flying around with transient impact (even the ones from the back) and vibrating with vibrant textures and details. I never got so excited on this song until now. Bringing so many details and presence from the back into the front layers, gave me the impression of having a smaller soundstage, not so deep, but after a few seconds I really didn’t care any longer.
The bass has an impressive impact, wonderful control and detail. This pumps up a lot of energy in the song and you will have an amazing experience with drums and any instruments in this area.
The midrange is one of the most detailed midranges I have heard on my speakers until now and on the whole spectrum, from lower to upper midrange. It’s forward, it’s vibrant and full of life and textures.
The treble is also detailed and you will have transient impact here as well. It’s quite interesting how this happens. It’s not bright, it’s just incredible hones. You will hear what’s in the song or the rest of the system.
Big Rai is a detail monster. You will hear them everywhere on the spectrum, from bass, midrange to treble. It doesn’t hide anything from you.
Not sure if this is a side effect of the details and neutrality of the amp, but the textures are also more vibrant, more detailed and full of life.
Transients, Impact & Energy
These features are amazing with this amplifier. It really brought my Martin Logan ESL-11A to life. It hits hard & fast and on the whole frequency range. You will get impressive impact from drums to cymbals. The attack is amazing and the decay is laser fast. It brings energy into the most unsuspecting songs. It will make you tap and it will wake you up.
This is another area where this amplifier excels. The signal is pure, leading to a very neutral, transparent and clean sound signature. Wonderful!
I can’t say that I was impressed here. In this department it’s similar to it’s little brother, even-though it’s overall better. I think this happens also because it has a very flat/neutral sound. I sometimes got the feeling that the layers from the back are brought closer into the front, giving the impression of smaller soundstage, not as deep as with other amplifiers. On the other hand, the details you get from the back layers are so amazing, that in my case, I ended up not caring about this.
Neutral Sound Signature
Big is one of the most neutral amplifiers I have ever heard. It’s really flat & honest with you. Actually I have measured my speakers with it and I don’t think I ever got such a flat frequency response from 20hz to 20 khz until now.
I have heard two previous iteration of this amplifier and I have to say that the final one is wonderful. Raimond did a great job with DM-120S and has brought it up to a whole new level. I love this amplifier and I really recommend it to anyone who wants great power amplifier in their systems. One thing to add here is that big Rai competes with much pricier amplifiers. It has very good value for the price.
Disclaimer: This is not the final revision of the amplifier, so the sound signature/specs might change in the future.
- Excellent Bass with impressive impact, control and detail
- Superbly detailed midrange with vibrant and lively textures
- Very detailed treble with good transients
- Excellent, Addictive Transients, Impact & Energy
- Excellent transparency and Clean Sound
- Neutral & Honest Sound Signature
- Detailed and vibrant vocals
- Because of superb details from back layers, the soundstage can sometimes sound a little narrow
- Some may find the raw details and energy of the amplifier to lack some finesse. I personally love it this way.