B.audio | LinnenberG. I started my sessions with a recent addition, Volkan Konak's Dalya. Despite this Turkish singer's and popular show host's limited vocal range, I really enjoy the passionate and affirmative happiness he manages to exude. "Ah Edip Inlerim" mixes in trombone and clarinet in eventually octave-doubled passages embellished with Turkish quarter-tone intervals. To listeners familiar only with our well-tempered scale, those sound dissonant or out of tune. Just so, they are a key ingredient of Middle-Eastern scales where becoming attuned to them is a prerequisite to enjoying such music.

This track is a densely executed production with relatively little space between its performers. Whilst otherwise very similar, in the discipline of separation, air and walkabout space, the LinnenberG was the more developed amplifier. The B.audio was slightly earthier, thus more robust. This prioritized materialism over spaciousness. Because this cut had less of the latter to begin with, the compact monos went deeper into de-clumping the sonic scenery. The B.amp had the bass wirier and on tonal weightiness, more. In very classic opposition, this was about nothing versus something, so space (which is only heard by inference, never directly) and body.

On all other counts, I thought the presentations virtually interchangeable. Given how highly I rate these underground German monos, had I crossed paths with the French sooner, the B.audio could well have become our high-power transistor amp reference instead. Quite unlike the Gold Note PA-1175 MkII which had preceded the B.amp's arrival by about a month and also was based on a bipolar output stage, the French did not share its brighter leaner pricklier disposition. Instead it behaved like a close relative to the Exicon lateral Mosfets which run in my favorite solid-statemen from Bakoon to Nagra. That anecdotal aside plays reminder. Implementation trumps parts identity. Here it meant the same kind of dry not humid warmth which characterizes the LinnenberG. It is free of tube-related fuzz or over saturation but still counterpoint to both leaner brighter voicings and those which, though otherwise identical, add shiny gloss atop their tone colors.

A round with the open-baffle 2 x 10" Diesis Ludos demonstrated what likely was the B.amp's advertised higher current. Bass became even more striated and tensioned. Being warmer thicker players with built-in reverb from deliberately playing tennis with your room's front wall and doing so far higher up in frequency than where direct radiators become omnipolar, the Germans' moderately lighter quicker handling was more beneficial. It dovetailed more strategically with the speaker's strengths and weaknesses. If you compare the room lighting between shots, you'll note how the Ludos photo is less lit. That reflects their darker sonics to visually explain why on these loads, I overall preferred the LinnenberG.

Back on Codex meanwhile, a perfect track to maximally harness the B.amp's virtues over those of Liszt, was Tanja Tzarovska's beautifully produced No record of wrong. Being gorgeously layered and separated already, her leaner often ethereal vocals enjoyed the more robust grounding and energy projection of the French amp.

Concluding these A/B sessions, I'll reiterate that the B.amp and Liszt were far more alike than different, thus on the level and practically interchangeable. Where they diverged a bit was on their relative emphasis, whether they retrieved more space cues like the LinnenberG or more material substance like the B.audio. Casually phrased, it was about speed or curves. Where exactly between these two polarities does one want to set up camp? It's one of those fundamental choices each audiophile must make for themselves. It has little to nothing to do with frequency response. It's all about personal preference.