Are you easily seduced?
No, I’m not talking about an extra evening beer or a second piece o’ cake. I mean something more substantial that might change your life. Well, at least your hifi existence. My last temptation of this kind doesn’t date back that far. In the spring I’d taken the measure of the Accustic Arts Tube Preamp II and found it exceptionally suitable. Suitable?
Well, the thing had everything I wanted: plenty of socketry, balanced valve circuitry, top fit’n’finish and sound to… well, just read the review
. It’ll tell you why I couldn’t let it go. No cheap pleasures, mind, but worth every cent. And now the firm followed up with a fine mono amp called, simply, Mono II. Devil in a red dress? Sure felt like it.
Once I’d liberated the monoliths from their shipping cartons, I had a small reality check. Until now, Accustic Arts have amassed
some pretty hefty stereo amp specimens in their portfolio, of the sort which pains my biceps just looking at their impressively chromed fascia inlays. On the carpeted floor of my listening room, the two monos meanwhile looked anything but monumental and closer to petit. Then their optics were dominated by heat sinks.
Granted, 25 kilo per ain’t cardboard. Given the brand, it simply didn’t seem properly macho. This new understatement, I was told, ups the ol’ WAF quotient. Presumably that didn’t count for too much with their massive AMP II and AMP III stereo amps. That said, with the monos solidity didn’t go AWOL. Thick aluminium panels with the company’s signature chrome trim and a precisely machined Mono II
cutout on top instantly mirror the Schwabians’ high standards. Those extend to the business end where biwire devotees are catered to. Practicality gets its due with a mute switch which enables noise-free cable swaps without powering things down. This delights a reviewer’s heart. Ditto the option to switch the monos for RCA or XLR signal input.