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>> Breadcrumb :/Tag:First Watt

Review: First Watt SIT-3 Amplifier

By | July 15th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , |

To those who follow aviation history, Clarence “Kelly” Johnson is something of a legend. In case you are unfamiliar with the name, Johnson was a chief designer for Lockheed Martin who was the brains behind such legendary aircraft as the U2 and SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. These designs were so top secret that they were conceived and developed in a nebulous location known as the “Skunk Works” and eventually tested at Groom Lake in the Nevada desert, which is known more universally as Area 51.… Read the full article

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Review: Linear Tube Audio ZOTL 10 Mk.II Amplifier

By | May 20th, 2018|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Concurrent with my receipt of the amplifier up for review here, Linear Tube Audio’s (LTA) ZOTL 10 Mk.II, came another welcome piece of news: the well-regarded German jazz/classical label ECM had decided to release its entire catalog for streaming via Tidal and other services. Most audiophile types are well aware of this label, especially for its collection of albums by interesting European and American jazz artists, all rendered in superbly recorded sound. It’s one of my favorite jazz labels, going back to my time as a teenager when my brothers and I would collect all of the early Pat Metheny ECM vinyl we could find.… Read the full article

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Capital Audiofest 2017: Zu Audio

By | November 24th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , |

Everyone, or so it seems, digs the Zu Audio room. Why? Well, it may have to do with the fact that it’s the least audiophile-like room at any high-end show. It’s always a refreshing mix of that company’s march-to-the-beat-of-a-different-drummer speakers, and the ambiance of something between a party and a mixing studio. Sure, the dual turntables playing into a sweet-looking Rupert Neve mixing console were eye candy enough, but the real stars of the show were speakers: a pair each of the brand new Druid Mk.… Read the full article

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Review: Pass Labs XA60.8 Mono Amplifiers

By | October 1st, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


by John Richardson

I’ve been on something of a roll lately with amplifiers from Pass Labs. Readers might recall that I reviewed a monster of an amp, the Pass X250.8 a couple of years ago, and then more recently, Pass Labs’ lower powered integrated offering, the INT-60.  Both were fine examples of top-drawer modern solid state amplification, and while I found the INT-60 to be a bit pickier about speaker pairing, the brutish X250.8 could drive just about anything and always look great doing it, with no loss of composure whatsoever.… Read the full article

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Mini-Review: Zu Audio Dirty Weekend Omen Version II

By | July 29th, 2017|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , |

by John Richardson

Sometimes just reading the news here at PTA gets me into trouble. Like last March, when I happened upon a blurb about Zu Audio’s Dirty Weekend event, where a stripped down version of the company’s popular budget floorstander, the Omen, is offered at a ridiculously low price to entice folks interested in the Zu speaker line through the door.

OK, I’m a sucker, and I took the bait.

Not that I really needed to be enticed, as I’d spent a good bit of time with Zu’s more sophisticated and upscale Druid, Mark V model.… Read the full article

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First Watt F7 Amplifier

By | March 28th, 2017|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , , , , , |

The First Watt series of amplifiers started as an exploration of uncommon circuit designs in a low wattage format, and has been an ongoing endeavor for two decades now. From Nelson Pass we have seen many an iconic audio product, such as the Threshold electronics, the Stasis circuit that Nakamichi commissioned, and of course the Pass Labs products. You must wonder how a designer can stay so creative over the years, and where does this diverse collection of circuits come from?… Read the full article

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Review: Zu Audio Druid Mk V Speakers

By | December 25th, 2016|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , |

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by John Richardson

zuZu Audio, a small company based in Ogden, Utah, represents to me the absolute modern American success story. I love everything about it: the quest for audio perfection, the pursuit of a dream of doing something differently, and that their products are produced by caring artisans right here in the good old USA. Indeed, Zu is evidence that those with a unique idea and enough gumption can still succeed and realize their dreams right here and right now.… Read the full article

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Review: J2, SIT-1, and F7 First Watt amplifiers by Nelson Pass

By | September 9th, 2016|Categories: Part-Time Audiofile|Tags: , , , , , , |

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by John Richardson

Let’s start this review with a little chat about First Watt and its founder, Nelson Pass.

As experienced audiophiles, I’m assuming we all are at least somewhat familiar with Mr. Pass and his work. He’s the chief dude that started companies such as Threshold and later, under his own shingle, at Pass Labs. For many years, he was also the head designer for these outfits, coming up with some of the legendary solid state amplifier designs of all time.… Read the full article

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Nelson Pass’ First Watt Introduces New F7 Power Amplifier

By | July 22nd, 2016|Categories: Positive Feedback|Tags: , , , |

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[Note:  All components in BOLD are loaned; all components in standard face are owned by me.]

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The GamuT Audio Zodiac Reference Loudspeakers and M250i Reference Monoblocks.

GamuT Audio Zodiac with SACD rack_web

The GamuT Audio Zodiac Reference Loudspeaker next to one of our racks of SACDs.

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The Evolution Acoustics MM2 Loudspeakers with a pair of Audionet MAX monoblock amplifiers and the PRE G2 preamp on the Walker Audio Prologue Rack.

LOUDSPEAKERS

GamuT Audio Zodiac Reference Loudspeakers; Evolution Acoustics MM2 loudspeakers with Wave Kinetics isolation feet; Nova Rendition II loudspeakers outfitted with Walker Audio Reference HDLs on the upper and lower bi-wires, and Townshend Audio Super Tweeters, all contacts treated with Walker Audio Extreme SST Contact Enhancer.… Read the full article

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