In my father's house are many rooms. The holy man who once so described the divine domain might as well have spoken of audiophilia; except that they didn't do electricity back then. If we consider the wing of audio's mansion with all the wide-bandwidth DC-coupled lateral Mosfet amplifiers, we'd notice how stepping up from a Goldmund/Job 225 to a Crayon CFA-1.2 to a LinnenberG Liszt to today's Bakoon shares a gestalt but adds progressive refinement, tonal mass, color intensity and, in today's instance most notable right off, superior detail. That detail is particularly strong across the upper midrange and lower treble. But this is categorically not due to skewed forwardness or brightness from any regionally elevated 'hot' amplitude. Instead it's like being in a room with skylights. Unless the sun hits them just so to cast temporary lit-up areas on your carpet, their contributions to the room's feel are simply more and more even lighting. It's not about any directional spot-lit zones.
Where's the amp in that picture? HifiMan Susvara and Final Sonorous X on side table.
There's even a more psychological aspect to it especially over headphones where it eliminates one closed-in effect; like driving a convertible with the top down. Since this extra top-down illumination is perfectly linear, I previously coined the phrase 'lit up all over'. It thereby means to distinguish itself from the more common sensation of just partial hence annoying brightness in the treble. I won't cite music specifics other than to say that on material I know intimately and from especially focused listening because it is a 45-min. soundtrack introduction to a Tibetan-style Osho meditation, the AMP-13R recovered micro detail other amps fail to. Once you know something's there to suddenly not make it out, it's not vivid imagination. It's simple and repeatable like turning a light on and off. If it's on, you can hear those things. If it's off, they're, poof, gone.
The question is why/how the Bakoon circuit accomplishes that. One speculation points at lack of phase shift from exploded bandwidth. But other resident amps spec out accordingly. Another finger points at top slew rates from high circuit speed. And perhaps the AMP-13R indeed is 'faster' than others. The JetSatri back story then adds a new bias circuit. Together with the minimalist output stage of a single pair of complementary transistors, it suggests premium control over locking in then holding the devices' optimal load line without any drift. In all likelihood, it all combines plus some deep stuff non tekkies like us wouldn't even grasp or believe could matter. Suffice to say that with the AMP-13R, I heard plankton bits like not just the first but also the second and even fainter third reverb rings around a lead vocal on an overproduced but still beloved Wael Jassar album.
Current Soulution amps might match or exceed the AMP-13R on this score. With Magico speakers at shows, I've just always found the sound too dry and rigid. But I'd not gotten on with Wilson demos either until I finally heard them with Lamm valve gear. In the ultra high end, CH Precision too could fit the general Bakoon mould with higher power but here too I wasn't fond of earlier show sightings with Stenheim. In any case, how the AMP-13R paid it forward over our AMP-12R was precisely in that it moved yet farther away from remnants of those dry/precise shadows which tend to accompany mega detail and steep rise times. It's still not—nor will it ever be—the slightly fat bottom-up view of our class A Pass Labs XA-30.8 with its extra potent upper bass and mild treble. That belongs to another wing of the hifi manse. Bakoon bass remains exceptionally agile and pert to prioritize pitch definition way down low over ultimate grunt and welly. It's quick and articulate and massively intelligible, just not massive per se.
Being black with very small volume indicator LED and less than half the height of the already half-sized Soundaware D100Pro SD card transport, the AMP-13R disappears rather well.
It's on midband fruitiness that the new baby Bakoon had more to say. This segues back at my earlier riff on staccato versus legato. From our resident fast-hence-leaner amplifier options, the AMP-13R had reached a higher plateau of both the sharp and bloomy aspects, conjoined. With the scales of balance being either even or not, my mental image of a higher balance merely piles on more of the opposing stuff for either scale. Even so I doubt that the 13 is actually quicker than the 12. The gains I heard fell on that fruitiness axis. Rather than even remotely rich, dark and chocolaty like an early Audeze planarmagnetic, the main beneficiary was the suchness of performer presences. Whatever it is that makes the illusion of a living breathing musician with a tangible aura of vital energies more real… that frisson to use a fancy French word for shivers, goose bumps and skin orgasms… that's what the AMP-13R did more of.
Seeing the joyful vitality, dance moves and colorful costumes of Lila Downs, Niña Pastori & Soledad on video is one thing. Sensing their combined womanly juiciness without help of the visuals is another. A personal barometer is the whisper threshold. The more quietly I can play a system and still feel fully engaged not bored and abstracted, the more that semi-seeing communicativeness from immediacy is at work. One practical AMP-13R upshot is that one may listen at rather low SPL—say late at night or very early in the morning—to not wake up anyone else without slumming it. In my books, that's useful thus relevant true high resolution. Who cares about 24/192 files if we must play them too loud before they talk to us? With the AMP-13R,16/44.1 could sound amazing to act as a reminder of just how much data there is to be retrieved from a quality Redbook/CD-resolution file. Just then Irishman Philip O'Hanlon of On A Higher Note distribution house from San Juan Capistrano was visiting. Giving him the quick tour of the house, the upstairs room had had the AMP-13R driving Susvara all day so the metal chassis was at a good boil. About to explain that despite its circuit type this wasn't a thin all-speed-no-curves amp, Philip cut me short with a pun. "Just from touching it I can tell that it won't sound cold." Quite.
In use, hitting 'power' on the remote awoke the circuit as confirmed by an input LED, then set itself to zero gain. When plugging in a headphone or pulling its plug out again, the microprocessor too set itself to full mute then auto switched the outputs. Whilst not remembering your volume from the last session, this avoids unwelcome surprises. Relative to gain/impedance/loudness, even low gain which applies just to the 6.3mm output left plenty of unused mini LED with the inefficient Susvara whilst high gain didn't even hit 50% before things got too loud. Our 85dB Albedo Audio Aptica Accuton two-way towers likewise failed to max out on available gain off a standard 2V source in a 4.5 x 6m room so these 25wpc/8Ω worked hard for their money.
Size comparison between AMP-13R, AMP-51R and AMP-41.
Soo in: "Actually, from input to output the AMP-13R upgrades everything of the AMP-12R. The input circuit is almost the same as in our 41 and 51R but the output circuit is completely new. I don't believe there exist many amplifiers without the output emitter resistors. For us, the 13R is first to do so. I believe this contributes very much to its speed and detail."
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