KING 60V Maraschino amplifier reviewMY GEAR
Sperrling DP3 (semi open baffle with two 11” bass, 8” midrange, treble horn
Pure Audio Project Trio 15, two 15” Eminence Neo, 8” Tang Band W8-1808
Pre & DAC
B.M.C. Puredac (balanced output)
Cherry Maraschino King 60V … compared with …
Acoustic Reality class D ICE Power 1000 W, 8 years old.
Harmony Design class A/B mono blocks, 6-8 years old.
NAD M22 class D (nCore 400 based)
Media player: J. River
Media format: Flac
Computer: Homebuilt passively cooled with Windows 8.1BACKGROUND
To put it short, I have upgraded to a pair of Pure Audi Project Trio 15 TB open baffle speakers. My previous speakers the ”Sperrling DP3” were my ”babies” and have survived since 1998. They have a semi open back and a very good ability to reproduce room and space. They can come out as a bit harsh in the top with some recordings though. My hope is to get an even more open, refined and distinct sound with the Trio 15 speakers combinded with the King 60V Maraschinos.
While dipole open baffle constructions helps give this wonderful room imaging, it also demands an amp to keep the bass drivers in control, well actually all drivers but more noticable in the bass. The M´s (Maraschinos) are small amps in size but I hope they prove big in control.
I will keep my integrity and share a ”non adjusted” review, even if it is a short one. In the same time, I do need to say that Tommy at DAC (Digital Amplifier Company) have given the best support. As an example, I happened to damage one of the amps while testing and he still helped out to fix it, even if it was all my fault. So if you buy on distance, like I did (Sweden), it seems as you can feel safe buying from Digital Amplifier.LISTENING
I have learned that one sure sign there is something wrong with my stereo equipment, is when I start buying less and less music. Then there is something lacking in the music reproduction, like the instruments and voices not sounding whole or close to real live instruments. With the effect that the music is just not touching me deep enough. This is the same thing I notice after having danced Argentinian Tango for some years. I know I neeeeed to dance when the music touches me and when it does not, I can be as content by just watching others dancing. It works the same way when listening to music, if it is not genuine enough, then I gradually loose interest.
So when I got the M:s I felt like I was about to taste a new kind of candy, hoping it would taste as good and involving as I hoped for. And to put it short and brief, the M:s offered a lot of colour and richness, a bit like tube amps have a reputation to do. Actually the M´s remind a lot of tube amps in the sound character, as a whole. It has that airy spacious glow if you know what I mean. So they are excellent amps for they who want to sit back and relax and not over analyse the sound, just to enjoy the music. And secondly, the amps sound basically good from the beginning, just give the power supplies a few warming up minutes. None of that long burning in time as some amps might demand. And in the same I want to say that breaking in is more important for speakers with their physical driver suspension material, which need softening.
Soon after installation, I compared the M:s with the Acoustic Reality ICE Power 1000 W amps and the Nad M22, both class D. It did not take long to know the M:s are better in every field. They have more of nuances and that colour I need to hear to enjoy the music and they present more body in instruments and voices. They also have a more distinct and characterized bass, and in the same time not at all hard or cold sounding. As I said, a Tube-like sound. Another description could be an inviting and relaxing aura and timbre around the music. In other words, they will not leave any ear fatigue feeling.
So the above impressions was when compared to my other class D amps. However, when compared to Harmony Designs class A/B amps (about the same price) there was another difference though, at least when paired with my open baffle speakers. Now … it is good to know that Mattias Stridbeck at Harmon Design is probably one of the better amp designers in Sweden and he has made himself a highly respected name in the audiophile community. It turned out that the Pure Audio Projects open baffle speakers are more ”friends” with this class A/B design, or at least, with amps that have high damping factor. In this comparison the HD gave more of contour and character around each instrument and singer, especially in the lower frequencies but also noticed in midrange and other frequencies. And of course, this higher damping factor gave every part of the music more color. Regarding the mid- and high frequencies, the M:s tube like sound was more gentle but not as refined as the HD´s. I came to the conclusion that this was due to the HD:s higher damping factor which gave it an ability to control the drivers movements better (especially backward movement), which gave the music more contour, especially regarding the 15” drivers with all its energy.
Now, the brain need time to sort out the impressions before analysing them in the mind. So after having given myself a few more evenings of listening and to be in the music, the earlier impressions did stay. The M:s never seem to distort in the high notes. That is quite clear when listening to the cymbals who has that nice shimmering non obtrusive sound. You could say the M:s keeps it clean and airy, even if under pressure. Quite nice to be able to sit back, relax and enjoy dynamic high pitched notes, without worrying about when it will distort. Tube like is still what comes to mind.CONCLUSION
So my impressions are quite positive and the M:s have a clear and more full and rich character than the other class D amps I compared them with (Nad M22, ICE Power). So if you have closed baffle speakers I can recommend them. If you have open baffle speakers I would recommend something with higher damping factor. On the other hand, I wouldn´t be surprised if the bigger Cherry brothers “Cherry Stereo” or “Cherry Ultra Stereo” would be an excellent choice with their powerful transformers. Unfortunately I could not test those since they are not sold in Europe.
So my recommendation is that if you want tube like and non obtrusive sound and have closed baffle speakers, then the M:s are a very good choice. That, combined with the low electricity consumption, is an appealing combination.MUSIC I LISTENED TO
Adam Adolphe, ”O Helga Natt” (album ”Cantate Domino” 1976).
Adele, ”Daydreamer” (album 19).
Alan Shavarsh Bardezbanian, ”Sfikas Tsamiko” (album ”Oud Masterpieces”)
Allen Toussaints, ”The Bright Mississippi” with ”A Dear Old Southland”, ”Day Dream” and ”St James Infirmary".
Anders Persson Trio, ”Momo” (album ”Domestic Wax”).
Bossi Enrico, ”Cantate Domino” (album ” album ”Cantate Domino” 1976”).
Buika, ”Volver, Volver” (album ”En Mi Piel”).
Curtis Mayfield, ”People Get Ready” (album ”Curtis/Live!”).
Diana Krall, ”Little Girl Blue” (album ”Best of Diana Krall”).
Dulsory, ”Big Drum Sinawi” (album ”Korean Drums”).
Helen Sjöholm, ”Vårvindar Friska” (album ”Visor”).
Melody Gardot, ”Baby I'm a Fool” (album ”My One And Only Thrill”).
Sarasate, Zigeunerweisen Op20 2 Lento (album ”Violin Showpieces - Erick Friedman”).
Susan Tedeschi, ”Blues on a Holiday” (album ”Wait for Me”).
Tori Amos, ”Me and a Gun” (album ”Little Earthquakes”).
Yasmin Levy, ”Adio Kerida” (album Mano Suave).
Yasmin Levy, ”Una Matika De Ruda” (live album La Juderia).
Youn Sun Nahs, ”My Bye” (album Voyage).
Youn Sun Nahs, ”Shenandoah” (album ”My One And Only Thrill”).