Its aesthetic robustness reflected in impressively stable behaviour. Here it came quite close to my reference amplification, not a small achievement when my Luxman twins, after many tests of body-building muscle amps, remain my standard to beat. That makes me think that likewise, the Flood House amps should properly drive most of the demanding loads to market. But more than unconditional stability, the Tarim Audio amps impressed me with their remarkable visceral energy across the entire bandwidth. During my time with them, I had opportunity to use different speakers like the Vivid Audio Giya G1, Vienna Physix Diva Grandezza and Leedh E2 Glass. With its 83dB rating, the last pair is not strictly an easy load yet the Tarims drove them with authority. To achieve realistic sonic levels, I was obliged a few times to set the volume close to max but observed no sign of even the faintest distortion or loss in timbre quality.


One limitation of the Flood House preamplifier was its unique output which won't support a subwoofer as might be required by small monitors or the Leedh E2 above. I tried a splitter but being apparently an unbuffered output, the Leedh subwoofer caused a lot of HF noise. This had me quickly appreciate how this probably wasn't an intended application. This set appeared to be designed as a de facto integrated amplifier which spreads simply over four boxes without a dedicated subwoofer output.


Speed was a core feature of the Tarim Audio sound where my Luxman amps were more laid-back by contrast. The soundstage was very stable and well sorted. My Luxman monos did achieve a slightly wider soundstage on the Vivid Audio G1s but the Tarims' depth and height were mostly comparable. I must admit that the comparison was slightly biased in favour of my reference amps  due to their higher power and gain. But with the Latvians, focus and precision were clearly above average and I enjoyed listening to symphonic music with them.


On Neeme Järvi conducts Offenbach (Chandos DSD recording), accuracy on transients and tones was outstanding. Even at loud volumes I observed no significant loss in terms of timbre. My loaners also provided accurate relief with each loudspeaker I used. During the tutti at the end of the "Orphée aux enfers" overture, a very demanding score mind you, the Flood House set proved surprisingly stable by betraying no stress or audible distortion. In the same spirit, "La vie Parisienne" sounded incredibly vivid within a very precise three-dimensional deep soundstage. Perhaps the most striking feature was the taut timing and transient brilliance. The Flood House set provided plenty of headroom for most uses and a fair degree of reverberation made my listening very realistic.


Listening to Beethoven's classical masterpiece Archduke opus 97 played by the Kempf trio [2003, BIS SACD], the three instruments were precisely separated but at the same time seemed to merge harmonically. I think this was mostly due to extremely good pace, rhythm and timing. In this very balanced recording, the attacks of the two bows were particularly convincing. The Flood House set put a lot of weight on the authority of each note without sacrificing speed and rhythm. That contributed greatly to the overall illusion of having three musicians present in my room. With note attacks and intensity this well rendered, the perfect game of the Kempf Trio seemed completely obvious. The Tarim Audio amplifiers reproduced the correct amount of focus without overdamping to have decay times intelligible without exaggeration. The tones of the Steinway piano were nicely offset against the sweet but lively Baroque violin and cello.