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Surveying my rig from the customary seat, one Patek on my knee, I feel like Ted Turner on his enormous New Mexico Ranch, spotting a bison way in the distance from the front porch. 'cept my buffalo is a pigmy amplifier just about to disappear in the forest of equipment surrounding it.

Photos without an embedded yardstick to appreciate actual size can often be misleading. Think objects that appear larger in the rear-view mirror (where, it is said, some men take the measurement on their equipment while other males sit on the armoire, prior to sack time, exactly where mom always put the pudding to get firm before consumption.) Oy!
Questionable locker-room kidding aside, anyone who goes the AudioSector route better be assured enough to know that size is deceiving. Check out the FirstWatt F2 as a real amp hovering above the Patek amp/power supply [below].

'nuff said. Ultra compact is the new chic, especially ridiculous when juxtaposed against my mighty Definitions which, at four foot tall, are anything but monstrous. Still, their modest 12" footprint dwarfs the amp which essentially is two cigarette boxes parked alongside each other. One CD, edge to edge, fits precisely atop without protruding from the front/rear edges of the chassis (naturally, the amp is wider sideways - but not by terribly much).

Coincident with delivery, I received a final e-mail from the designer: "The copper is treated with patina and it will be aging naturally. The amp's metal panels were preanodized so they are resistive to scratching. The power supply front and back are only treated with alodine. They resist staining but scratch easily. Special care when handling is required (same as you would treat an expensive watch :-)

PS: Top and bottom panels are attached to the rest of the chassis with only one fastener on top. If you remove that screw, both top and bottom become loose. You will need some sharp pointed tool to lift the top first (make sure that you do it to the copper plate and not the top mesh, as the mesh is glued in a few points and may get separated).

Because BG N caps are used, the amp needs at least 2 weeks of breaking in. I also recommend to keep it permanently on for maximum sonic performance. Supporting platforms will influence the sound and I noticed that acrylic works well. The amp should not be left on without input connected. As the amp has the gain at DC, make sure that your source does not pass any DC at the output, otherwise it will be amplified at the speaker side."

Peter had also included shorting plugs if I wanted to bi-amp my single-wire Definitions, sealing the unused channel per amp. On bi-wire speakers, I could experiment with vertical and horizontal bi-amping. The optional
XLR-to-2RCA adaptors would allow me to run the amps as higher-power monos if future review speakers required 100 watts to come alive. A special tri-flanged driver head would gain access to the innards protected by the single custom bolt on the tops of the boxes.

Well? Well what? No way is Mr. Daniel getting these back. Even prior to the infamous BlackGates emerging from hibernation, one stereo amp on each Zu speaker (or one amp to drive 'em both) sounds just as I remember the chip-amp sound from prior encounters - dense, full-bodied and very dynamic, i.e. warmth without darkness, substance without bloom but great detail. As a tube lover, this is a transistor amp to my heart (and I'm additionally preceding it with the 5687-powered ModWright preamp and 7308-driven Zanden Model 5000 Signature DAC).

Even Suki the cat pricked up her ears. The combination of valved front end with op-ap speaker drivers makes for the kind of sonic density, scale and intensity that absorbs your attention and nearly becomes overpowering and slightly oppressive if you resist it.

As those who have followed my columns on realsizing know, taking apart a system dialed just so over the years could be frustrating if hitting upon the magic again with a new setup remains elusive for too long.

My first monster session with the Pateks has me convinced that I'm already home-free.

That "oppressiveness" is like the weight of a tropical summer evening when the moisture in the air and remaining warmth in the soil mingle with the saturated colors of the setting sun. It's a full, earthbound and absorptive sound that draws you in without taking a 'no'. Distanced observer who's only partially present? Forget it. You'd have to turn things off.

Needless to say, to get at the core signature of this tweaked-to-the-hilt puppy rather than describe the system as it stands, I need to experiment with every preamp in my arsenal. Extricate various shadings and aspects by subtraction, hone in on what translates regardless and call that the key characteristics of the amps. That's for farther down the road. For now, I've got a shit-eating grin on my face and there's miles worth of CDs to burn through. In short, I'm a completely satisfied customer who feels he's spent his money wisely indeed at this early a stage.