Audio Equipment Reviews – Power Amplifiers / Integrated Amps

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Art Audio Carissa Signature Review

Art Audio Carissa Signature Review

The Carissa delivers 16w/channel from a pair of 845 tubes, and they are 16 glorious watts the like of which I haven’t heard in my system since playing with some old Jadis gear many moons ago. That’s not to say the Carissa sounded anything like the Jadis JA30

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Reviews of Power Amplifiers

Note from Ed.

I’ve owned and reviewed many different power amps over the 40+ years in this hobby, including solid-state, tube amps, and Class-D amps.

Obviously, the key to getting the most from an amp is to ensure it’s matched with a compatible load type. It’s no good using a low-powered tube amp on a power-hungry pair of speakers, then remarking on the lack of dynamic ability in the amp, or its capacity to drive a speaker to realistic volumes. That said, some amps, tube types, in particular, appear to have driving ability beyond their rated power specifications, in such cases, it can be fun to run a modestly powered tube amp with a speaker whose efficiency ought to demand more power, particularly if the tube amp clips gracefully and doesn’t begin to sound harsh at higher levels. At the time of writing these notes, I have a pair of Allnic Audio A6000 monoblocks which are driving a fairly difficult load in the Piega C40 (4 ohm, 89dB). The sound from this combo is quite wonderful, so it would be unfair to dismiss the 300b amp and its modest 60watt/channel output as being incompatible with the Piega’s load profile.

Conversely, many years ago I ran a pair of stacked Oris 150 horns, boasting a 105dB sensitivity. I tried all manner of low-powered amps on the horns but they never really came alive until I clobbered them with 200 digital watts from a Lyngdorf TDAi 2200 integrated amp! Go figure.

So have fun with amp/speaker matching, but always remember that a low-powered amp on an inefficient speaker can be a quick and easy way to damage your speaker’s drivers – so be careful!




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Speakers – planars, electrostats, horns and dynamic/cone loudspeakers.

Amps – Single-ended triode vacuum tube designs, push-pull amplifiers and even solid state amps with the latest designs in digital.

Sources – CD Players, external DAC’s, Turntables, Streaming.

Cables – DIY audio cables and tweaks.

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