my thoughts on i84 integrated tube amp

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zybar

my thoughts on i84 integrated tube amp
« on: 25 Aug 2007, 06:04 pm »
First off, let me thank Boris for allowing me a chance to hear this great "little" integrated tube amp.  It has received some very positive reviews from Positive Feedback and Affordable Audio and after spending time with it, I totally get why.

I have been using the i84 to drive Omega Revolutions (single driver Visaton B200 drivers) and the source has been a Bolder Cable modified (full analog mods + Gold Bybees) SB2 with a Bolder Cable modified Elpac PS.  For most of my listening over the last few weeks, I have also added a stock Burson Buffer into the mix.

Here are a couple of quick pics (sorry it doesn't show all the gear I mentioned above):










All of my listening has been done with the stock tubes and a VH Audio Flavor 4 with a Furutech Rhodium power cord.


If I had to use one word to sum up my experience with this amp it would be "enjoyable".  Maybe because I have lower expectations (sorry Boris and Louis) of this system than my main system, but I just found myself not thinking about what I was hearing, but rather just sitting in my chair and listening to the tunes.  It didn't matter if I was playing jazz, rock, acoustic, male/female vocals, it all sounded good.   :thumb:

Now of course 15 watts with a single driver speaker aren't going to hit you in chest with bass and dynamics, but this combo never sounded thin or harsh.  It also never sounded overly warm and rounded.  I felt it had good extensions at the extremes and was well balanced.  Of course the magic was in the midrange.  Here there was a clarity and cohesiveness that is tough to find in multi-driver systems.  The i84 mated quite well with the Revolutions and instruments such as an acoustic guitar, banjo, and percussive instruments sounded incredibly rich, textured, and lifelike.  One of my favorite cd's to highlight this is Uncle Tupelo's "March 16-20, 1992" remastered cd.  Whether it was the haunting "Black Eye", the sobering "Moonshiner", or the instrumental "Sandusky", I found myself getting pulled into the songs, closing my eyes, and feeling like the guys were just playing a few feet in front of me.

I need to run right now, but I will come back to talk more about this little gem of an amp.

George


Zero

Re: my thoughts on i84 integrated tube amp
« Reply #1 on: 25 Aug 2007, 07:41 pm »
Zybar

I couldn’t agree more.

I am unafraid to admit that on most days, I prefer the sound of a well executed valve component. If I had 3k or more burning a hole in my pocket – the ticket towards achieving great tube sound is easily within grasp. Lower that price point however, and those options become increasingly limited. What the i84 does for its price is as refreshing as a cold drink on a blazin’ hot summer’s day.

Reviewing the i84 was fun! As always, it is great to read others opinions. Thanks for sharing them with us! I look forward to part II of your assessment.

JohnR

Re: my thoughts on i84 integrated tube amp
« Reply #2 on: 26 Aug 2007, 03:38 am »
Sounds like a great example of an EL84 amp! And a looker too :thumb:

Cacophonix

Re: my thoughts on i84 integrated tube amp
« Reply #3 on: 26 Aug 2007, 05:05 am »
Nice to see more positive reviews about this wonderful 'little' amp.

I can vouch for its great matching with Bob Brines FT1600MKII (FE167E). Initially i felt like the amp was lacking juice. But that was when i had the speakers in my living room. But once i moved it into one of bedrooms, where they are intended to be in, i found them lacking in nothing. The combo sounds just perfect. I don't feel for the need of a supertweeter or a subwoofer.

Pictures are in my gallery.

Levi

Re: my thoughts on i84 integrated tube amp
« Reply #4 on: 26 Aug 2007, 12:33 pm »
I heard the Model i84 before with many different speaker combinations and I share the same thoughts about it's sonic qualities.   :thumb:

vizion

Re: my thoughts on i84 integrated tube amp
« Reply #5 on: 26 Aug 2007, 11:47 pm »
which omegas sound better ? revolutions or max hemps ?