This is the first Class-D amp I've heard, and it wasn't great, 3 stars is about right. Very different from normal Class AB amps that we are all used to.
I tested a friend's i32 with the Media Module fitted, against a Musical Fidelity M6PRX (Class AB power amp) both playing Flac via the i32's Media Module. Speakers were Monitor Audio PL200s.
The Primare was initially attention grabbing with lots of detail. Bass was fast with tight leading edges and there's lots of it, but didn't seem to dig down that deep. At times it almost felt like an alarming wall of sound coming at you, without much subtlety. It gives vocals a slightly harsh accent which makes then difficult to listen to, and soon becomes fatiguing.
The MF loses nothing in detail, and it's easier to pick out individual instruments, with clear gaps between them, and a great sense of airiness. The bass is deep and smooth and enveloping, although not as punchy and fast as the Primare. Instruments are more accurate, especially hi-hats and cymbals. Vocals are amazingly realistic and drawn you in.
I haven't done many comparisons of amps, as I didn’t think they have a big influence compared to speakers, but these two really change the character of the system. One of the most basic tests for me is do you want to turn the volume up or down? Primare: please turn it down, my ears hurt. The MF: sweet, crank it!
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Good but not great – and that’s not quite enough at this hugely competitive price for AV receivers
The Caterthun has strengths but we expect a more rounded product at this price
The Panasonic TX-P42GT60B TV shows that reports of plasma’s demise have been greatly exaggerated
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