So I thought this may be useful as a thread on it's own so here goes -
I was talking to my Dad on Father's day and agreed to help him source a new amplifier. I suggested an A18 given the recent price drops but found a very reasonably priced A19 on the 'Bay and picked it up this afternoon. I live a fair way from Dad so I thought it only helpful to get the A19 run in before I deliver it to him!
First impressions of the amp in my set up are very good. It has a soundstage to rival the A28 and has some decent bass power. It is detailed and has a full midrange so vocals, snare drums and cymbals sound particularly nice - definitely has the Arcam family sound albeit a bit a tad more exciting.
Just listened to Stop Listening by Radiohead, Consolers of the Lonely by the Raconteurs and Needles and Pins by the Deftones on the A28 then on the A19. The little A19 certainly produces a room filling sound but one thing that it does fall slightly short on is organising that big soundstage. When listening to the raconteurs track, the vocals sound a little bit too far forward in the mix, so some of the background atmosphere of the track is lost and I feel it doesn't quite convey the layers as convincingly as the A28.
That slight layering issue is also evident with the Deftones track. It is a pretty loud track and not overly dynamic but it does sound just as powerful on the A19 as the A28 if not quite as composed.
Surprisingly, the Radiohead track, which is my favourite for auditioning gear, sounded pretty damn good. Ok, so the ride cymbal didn't fly around the room like it does on a more expensive set up but it stayed pretty composed!
All in all, a great amp for the money and not one I feel I need to swap back straight away! The detail is definitely on par with the A28 and whilst it doesn't quite deliver the punch or composure of the A28 at higher volumes, it is a fine sounding amplifier that has left a smile on my face!
More importantly, the A19 is a massive upgrade for Dad's ageing Cambridge Audio amp and I am sure he is going to love it!