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Whilst the aforementioned Trinity monos were based on EML's 300B-XLS tubes—two per channel in PSE configuration—the Entropy sports just a pair of EML 1605 bottles. In this German/Czech valve maker's catalogue that's their most powerful DHT capable of up to 23wpc in single-ended mode compared to the 18 watts of the parallel single-ended 300B Trinity. The driver tubes are déjà vu and Emission Lab's high-gain 20B. The monos' 5U4G rectifiers became semiconductors however. The front panel puts its nicely big display in the middle flanked by volume and input selector knobs on either side. The display confirms both chosen input and volume setting.

Upon power up a 30-to-0 countdown tracks thermal readiness with delayed anode voltage ramping up to extend tube life. The included remote wand avoids making fingerprints on the hot-running amp itself (you'll not want to mar it with skin oils) and though it's just as shiny, the remote is far easier to clean. The amp's rear sports three RCA inputs and a single pair of speaker terminals. The loaner was wired for 8 ohms but a 4-ohm secondary can be connected instead by request. I had on hand the 8Ω Bastanis Matterhorn and 4Ω Amphion Argon 7L. My little musical chairs experiment confirmed that proper impedance matching with valve amps is important. I only used the Amphions for break-in duties. To tap the Entropy's true potential required moving to my Matterhorns where the amp seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and rewarded me with far superior performance from the go. The Amare/Amphion combo wasn't bad, just not ideal.

When setting up a new company one of the things that needs decision making is who the target customer ought to be. Amare Musica went after the most demanding high-end aficionados first which was a bold move that I respect. Of course it'd have been for naught had the product not matched such ambitions but it did. Yet Marcin and Maciej also realized that Poland isn't exactly stacked with the type of customer who can afford such gear. The next model thus would be far less expensive though still well north of being called 'cheap'. Regardless, the domestic market for tube gear at that new price point is far greater. Unfortunately a prophet is seldom heard in his own land.

Convincing Poles to buy domestic means that such product must be better than equivalent imports. It's a paradox I don't understand but still a reality which all Polish hifi manufacturers know and must deal with. Whilst the Entropy thus is 'only' an integrated amp rather than separates and a step down, its designer were adamant about upholding the high standards of their earlier flagships on all counts. Hence it's hand-wound silver transformers again, the same grade chassis and more EML bottles. Did they manage to fulfil associated expectations? In my book? Absolutely! Of course this type of sticker demands high expectations but it wouldn't be realistic to demand coming so close to the bigger siblings at twice the price.

In my book the performance delta is a lot smaller than the price offset would suggest. Here the Entropy reminded me a bit of Ayon's Crossfire as a great example of a valve amp that delivers fast powerful taut bass together with a sweet smooth and dense midrange as something KT-family circuits usually cannot do (I'm referring to the midrange part). On various music the Entropy acted a bit like a chameleon. Adaptive. One of the first albums I seriously listened to post break-in was Lee Ritenour's last Rhythm Sessions. As the title suggests, this recording is about the rhythm led by drums, electric bass guitar and occasionally an acoustic bass.

Whichever instrument handles the bass at any given moment, it's usually taut, potent and endowed with fast kick and shove which most valve amps find troublesome. Yet the Entropy delivered this recording in an amazingly truthful manner even though my speakers aren't really masters of fast and taut bass. With this recording the Crossfire came to mind immediately. I remembered what the Ayon had done with speakers I had at the time, a Jericho-type Fostex widebander. I'd listened to this setup with a friend and when he played some Timbaland we both experienced the famous jaw-on-floor effect. Never before and since did these speakers rock so hard. This time it was the Entropy's turn to jaw me. There was tight punctual rhythm, excellent timing, outstanding definition and differentiation of bass all truly colorful and agile. Kick drum really kicked shins and with great authority. Electric bass delivered fast transients and rapid string damping when necessary. The acoustic bass on the other hand was nothing but long vibrant decays with lots of woody timbre. Lee's guitar was smooth and colorful and the Hammonds that appear in some songs could not have been mistaken for any other instrument as their tone was so beautifully conveyed. This is a fantastic album I highly recommend also because so many other Jazz greats support Lee.

Since Ritenour had come off so well, I decided to tighten the thumb screws with even heavier fare which both Crossfire MkI and MkII had stomached bloody well. One of Metallica's famous black albums from the 4LP issue hit the platter, then the stylus nailed the groove. Although still not a perfect recording, this pressing surely beats all others I've ever heard to reveal a lot about the playback gear's chops or lack thereof. Once again the Entropy didn't let down. Perhaps its drive wasn't as incredible as it had been with the pentode Crossfire but it was still well above just okay. With ~10 watts less it remained a powerfully controlled reading with nicely layered depth and rough-but-ready electric guitars.