GFH. It's how Georg Friedrich Händel abbreviates. In today's lingo, GF is obviously 'girlfriend'. With an 'H' left, that's gotta be 'hot'. Of course woe be the 'phile/fool who so mistakes an inanimate object. But where real-life significant others do exist, our misappropriation of Baroque pop's initials works. Though not actually hot—we've already covered that class A myth where Ivo LinnenberG is concerned—these amps are truly stupendous. In the ways described, they eclipsed or othered our Kinki EX-B7. Those had thrown their own shade on Liszt by falling into their more lit-up "speed first" mold but as superior peers. So comparing Händel to Liszt made for a foregone conclusion. On authority, gravitas, bass control and LF illumination, the physically bigger composer from Deutschland had it all over the smaller Hungarian. How and where class A vs. AB factored I haven't a clue. Incidentally, autoformers transform voltages, currents and Ω between their i/o taps. With our passive-magnetic icOn 4Pro SE's multi-tapped Slagleformers, a 15dB signal cut already creates a 5.62 x increase in output current. 30dB attenuation generates 31.25 times more current, 45dB a whopping 178.57 x more. It's a rare instance where cutting more voltage is a win to play to not against these review loaners. This attenuator setting shows regular SPL.
Saved not by the bell but by the fact that I much prefer silver kit to black and my wallet protested, we get to a review's expected take on standing. Where in the overall hierarchy of a writer's familiar competitors does a component fall? I typically don't review much in today's price range. It's mostly self preservation relative to potential lust versus follow-through ability. But having qualified hierarchy as being relative to what a writer knows, no more, I'll rate Händel an A+. Quite apart from sonics, this covers the rare combination of pure class A with modern switch-mode power and the resultant wins of less weight, size and (vitally!) operational heat. Händel really is a preview on what class A in the 21st century must be(come) to remain relevant and justified. That this would come from one of my favorite amp designers who simply works in relative obscurity adds personal pleasure. Who may claim immunity from delighting when a personal hero hits one out of the park?
To summarize, Händel's sonic authority—a descriptor I use little but which here obviously dominated—expressed itself as 'center-of-the-earth' bass grounding and relaxed calm. It showed fabulous microdynamic agility and a unique blackness which radiated high clarity from the bottom up not top down. It all added up to a distinctive conflux of attributes I'd not heard before. If your wallet covers this realm and dead-quiet operation even into higher-than-usual speaker sensitivities is key (as it ought to be!), going Baroque not medieval really is today's golden – well, jet-black ticket!
Ivo LinnenberG comments: "Thank you so much for your review of the Händel monoblocks. I feel honored by you granting me the prestigious Blue Moon award. I really appreciate the balance between the technical aspects and listening impressions in your review. Both aspects are equally important because it is a technical instrument and because it is designed for playing back music. The explanations for the icOn volume control come close to the holy grail of audio engineering. It is the current capability or low internal impedance of an audio circuit which create superior sound, be it a volume control or a power amplifier. The approach is always to limit internal resistances and maximize speed. Consequently for an amplifier, class A operation in all stages is mandatory. Thanks once again."