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Such implied warmth is at the heart of it. Its sound is incredibly friendly without trading pleasantness for resolution. True, the Soulution 710, Accuphase A-200 and Ancient Audio Silver Grand Mono are even more resolved and selective. The best of these in this respect is Jarek Waszczyszyn’s amplifier equipped with Takatsuki 300B. Its low power however restricts it to a limited range of speakers in smaller rooms with no chance at properly conveying the full power of a symphony orchestra. The Soulution and Accuphase in turn show more three-dimensional instrumental bodies and further differentiate the textures and dynamics gradations and differences in distance between performers.

Even so it was the American amplifier which proved most satisfactory—except for the Ancient Audio tube amp with its caveats—and as such was closest to what could be described as ideal equilibrium. But it's no nirvana in the sense of dissolution of the self and the end of the subjective I. Music after all can cause true highs without any illegal substances involved. We simply need music properly presented. Here the Momentum Stereo guarantees a controlled contact high by way of an active participatory experience.

This has nothing to do with tracking novel flavors, hearing new things or stumbling over unexpected musical constants as something all the previously mentioned amps do better. With the D'Agostino music is experienced on a more emotional and less intellectual level. Our emotions react to the emotions encoded in the recordings, a feat of which this amplifier is uniquely. I was amazed by just how it did that. After all it's a smallish amplifier operating in class AB and solid state at that. But I'd heard a similar sonic signature before in the hybrid class A/D Devialet. The sophistication of the Momentum Stereo thus was indisputable and its treble quality outstanding. Even the Soulution 710 which champions this range in an amazing fashion seemed just a little more coarse.

Not everyone will hear it right away as here we're talking about the top high-end where differential deltas shrink. An experienced music lover however will notice them in the cymbals of Coltrane's album and in the sibilance formation on Sinatra Sings Gershwin and related moments. It's astonishing how much transistor technology has improved and how similar this compact solid-state amplifier working in class AB behaves to valve amplifiers. This is something that at least to me was unthinkable until very recently.

But what’s really most important is the joy this device can brings to our lives by doing so many things so well and only a handful of them worse than the competition. It deserves applause. That's been well captured by Jonathan Margolis' How To Spend It website with "… it’s impossible to measure the pleasure these amplifiers bring" . As always this remains a function of expectations, taste and our own audio system. In some cases the characteristics which are weaker than in other top amplifiers will make themselves felt more prominently. It is therefore good to be prepared and informed in advance.

What needs mention in this context are slightly calmed-down dynamics. Without my Soulution 710 as the world champion of dynamics next to it I probably wouldn't have paid attention and taken the Momentum Stereo at face value. Only by contrast could I hear how everything was just slightly restrained and suppressed. It was a delicate shift in emphasis creating a slightly different sonic character. The class D Devialet and I-35 tube amplifier from Jadis were similar. The ultimate resolution demonstrated by the Soulution 710 and Accuphase A-200 on one hand and the Ancient Audio tube amp on the other is sacrificed by these others for the sake of consistency and smoothness. Let me repeat that in the end it was only the Polish amplifier which proved capable of both smoothness and top-level resolution to be saturated and selective at once. Dan D'Agostino’s amplifier had its tonal balance set slightly lower than these three amps and its lowest bass was nice rather than perfectly defined.