Once in a great while, you are lucky enough to be present when great technological and artistic leaps are made. Given the sheer number of people on this planet, and this still relatively small number who are interested in a high-end audio these days, it is a wonder anyone can come up with a new twist on an old mechanism. The mechanism I speak of in our stereo systems is the amplifier: ultimately the centerpoint through which and because of which we hear our music properly amplified.
I have spent countless years of my life listening to great music through a variety of different speakers and often in a variety of different acoustic environments. The repeating factor in the stereo phonic experience that excites me the most is the illusion of being transported into the recording and to the very event I am listening to. Amplifiers are supposed to amplify, but frequently are accused of various amazing sounding qualities which have come from the design brilliance by certain ubiquitous names. You no doubt have your favorite or favorites, and I will not re-list them here.
Suffice it to say, even the best of these fine examples of the past 40 years can be found in retrospect and new auditioning to feature certain qualities that no doubt make them legendary. Nonetheless these are sonic attributes of the amplification design and process which nevertheless color the sound. Coloration is not necessarily a bad thing if it is from a musical instrument itself. But in the reproduction chain, and particularly in the Audiophile stereo phonic playback systems that I balance and create for my recording and playback enjoyment, it is critical to have as colorless a group of components making this sound as possible.
In the last decade, analog designs have become replaced by digital; and these often are told it as having greater efficiency, less distortion, and ultimately less coloration or sound personality of their own. This of course is not necessarily true, and there are only a small handful of current digital amplifiers that meet my exacting criteria: limitless power, no apparent personality or distortion characteristics, totally 100% reliable, and upgradable as funding and desire dictate. Which brings me to Tommy O’Brien‘s latest cherry Amplifier: the MEGAschino MK2 - a noticeable improvement in all areas from the MEGAschino MK1, and the Golden Cherry, both of which I have written extensive reviews of in the past several years. Now I can actually add Tommy‘s name to the long list of historic Grandaddys of amplification circuit design and production.
I know I know, so what does it sound like and why is it worth the money? Well, simply put… Once everything is hooked up and in place with your favorite set of speakers and sources, and you’re playing music that you enjoy, it will be like you are listening to everything for the very first time! This might sound hyperbolic, and I do not like making grand statements lately. But there is no doubt after extensive listening to both the MK1 and the new MK1 - for almost half a year, that you are going to have a hard time finding a better choice for amplifying music, video games, HomeTheater, and streaming whatever you wanted given a good choice of speakers set up appropriately, and hooked up to this amplifier!
Treasured favorites from the Austin powers soundtrack series including Quincy Jones is Soul Bossa Nova James Taylor quartets Austin‘s theme, and the ever present George S Clinton orchestral background score all sound significantly more alive and closer to the original master recordings than I have ever heard them before. Lenny Kravitz, The Who, Madonna, even the Monkeys and the Bangles have never sounded better because every little detail, the slightest new ones, and dynamic shading both large and small are revealed through Tommy’s latest design in a manner that is utterly captivating and convincing.
Great music from steely Dan everything must go along with the sweet sounds of Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, and Dizzy Gillespie as featured in Ken Burns jazz [collection] will rock your boat as your feet tap and your head bobs back-and-forth like you were there live with these great great artists. Even if you are listening for background enjoyment, and the music is not necessarily turned up to it’s very loudest, you will enjoy the sudden apprehension of infinitely more qualities of being live with the musicians in the room with you then you have likely discovered while listening before. The sheer level of enjoyment that I have had while listening through Tommy‘s latest MEGAschino MK2 digital Amplifier, where digital is not a word to be understood as ones and zeros but instead repeated accuracy of reproduction with no concern whatsoever by the listener.
Given the choice between other Amplifiers both old and new that are in my grasp but as a review were to place into a number of systems at any time, I must conclude that Tommy’s is my first choice now as it has been for the past half year when it comes to listening enjoyment, Musical integrity, and holographic presentation of an enormous size and scale. It is no exaggeration to say that each and every program material I have watched on Netflix, Amazon prime, Hulu, VUDU, and even YouTube, has its own special sonic character and this is easily heard in an average evening of programming.
It is my pleasure to recommend Cherry MEGA MK2 in its many different configurations, each of which is suitable for some of the widest variety of speakers possible from conventional dynamics, electrostatics, ribbons, bookshelf, surround sound, and even whole house audio systems. When you’ve got an amplifier that is clearly designed both to function as conceived and also to sound sweet, realistic, Full of texture, and rich and powerful dynamics, it’s difficult to go looking anywhere else. And I urge you to contact him with your system configuration and speakers for his recommendation of the perfect companion for your listening enjoyment.
Jeremy Kipnis / Enjoy the Music
More about Jeremy:
Jeremy R. Kipnis is a Producer, Director, Tonmeister, and Impresario. His heritage includes four generations of musicians and conductors. Working for various record companies, including Columbia, RCA, Nonesuch, Decca, Chesky, and his own label, Epiphany Recordings Ltd, he has been responsible for more than 450 award winning albums, LPs, and compact discs. His passion for photography led him to study briefly with Ansel Adams and Yousuf Karsh. And his love for movies and television led him to design and create the Ultimate Home Cinema in the world, known variously as the $6 Million Kipnis Studio Standard (KSS)™. In addition to creating new cutting edge ultra immersive audio & video suites, Kipnis researches and reports on many topics in his three monthly columns, as seen in The High Fidelity Report, Widescreen Review, and Positive Feedback magazines.