Boenicke speakers assisted by a suitable amp morph into radiant resolved quick performers with deep fierce bass and a well-pronounced top end. That's opposite to most Harbeth, Spendor, Xavian and others which gear for mid-centric charm and associated spatial intimacy. Knowing this, I had some idea how the p1 might behave. Since neither my W5 nor W11 SE+ are dense performers per se, I suspected the amp to boost that aspect. All noise-trimming tweaks inside would elevate spatial blackness, magnify detail, extend the tonal palette and increase saturation. On top of that, Srajan's review had paraphrased this tiny deck as a class A Lite type. That had me a touch pre-biased. Then again I had my own tools, reference points and ears. Just so, expectations about today's black box were high. It was after all a Boenicke!
On the W11 SE+, the p1 instantly introduced itself as voiced contrary to what its small footprint implied. The Swiss team sounded downright ballsy, spatially grand, superbly bass developed, exceptionally feisty, elastic and slamming in an enjoyably brutal virtually crackling way. This was a predictable result for my daily floorstander managed by a spot-on companion amp. What still had me off guard was how juicy, texturally generous, internally moist, anchored and warm the p1 rendered the sound. Most amps lean towards either quickness, resolution and sunniness at a cost of lower color intensity and weight; or are warm, grounded and atmospheric yet not exactly fast, open and illuminated. This time I got real power and unusually firm drive on top of features that naturally elevate tone, heft and saturation so quite the achievement. As such the p1 stood defiant against its own kind. Nothing about it struck me as pale, prickly, sharp, mechanical or dull.
It's no news that opposite profiles attract to form synergistic weddings. Sven's speakers are spatially liberated hi-res types while most his designs in other categories prioritize the other end of the spectrum. The more I auditioned the p1, the more sense its tuning made. Creating the right fit for my W11 SE+ it was one thing, finding nothing else to complain about another. High power, damping and mass served up all at once are a well-tested recipe for speakers like Boenicke's. On that note, most emails sent my way ask about amp recos for the W5, W8 or W11. I'm fairly frequently asked whether push-pull KT88 or KT120 are sufficient. 'It depends' is my usual reply which possibly grows more specific if extra info is provided. From this point onward, any such inquiries shall be politely steered at the small yet bold p1. It truly has what it takes to complement these speakers.
If AGD amps reside in the quick lucid hi-rez corner, S.P.E.C. in the opposite corner and Aavik in the middle of the ring, now the Japanese company must share their warm tonally gifted space with Boenicke's p1. Without comparing the RSA-M99 directly I can't know by how much their profiles overlap precisely but the S.P.E.C. and W11 SE+ had been dense, round, fast and smooth enough to nicely mimic general class A aroma. Since my Trilogy 995R hybrid monos bias in class A up to 55wpc, the p1 naturally had to fight them. And what a battle it was!