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After my CES mention you'd be forgiven for assuming that the matching S100MkII stereo amp ran switching transistors. Instead it's class A/B based on a 'single-ended' push/pull output stage with a single output transistor per phase. You'd be right though relating the model name to 4Ω power. That's 50 watts into 8Ω then. Input impedance is 68KΩ. Like all Stello 100MkII components, dimensions are 8.6 x 2.12 x 11" WxHxD. That works out to 219 x 54 x 296cm. Weight is a svelte 4kg for the amp, 3.1kg for the pre. The remote's cosmetics will be familiar from April Music's sister brand Aura. We might even assume that design genetics extend to the power circuit of the award-winning Vita and Premier. Which would be interesting given how the latest iteration of the Aura Note CD/receiver has gone class D like the Eximus S1 and Stello Ai700.

Wrapping up our intro we call the latest Stello decks minimalist. A presumed focus on top performance strips away bling and unnecessary features. April Music call it "Back to Basics!" For a reference on what Simon sez about serious hifi, consider his system below. But just because he can doesn't necessarily mean he will. "The full-size DSD DAC is playing in my room right now but I'm still thinking about marketing and packaging. Sonically it's way above the DP1 but there are many other things to consider besides sonics and features."

Here is Simon's front end. Like yours truly he favors Apple hardware but finds Amarra the ultimate Mac software player. I prefer PureMusic, then Audirvana. When I told him that I had two fabulous new speakers to test his Stello gear on, his question was a pert "how foxy?" I sent him links to the EBTB Luna II and Boenicke Audio W5.

Simon believes in the careful selection of optimally collaborating parts over the famous boutique bits audiophiles love to obsess over. For the modestly styled Stello twins he promises special sonic results when used together. Apparently the combination transcends purely additive math and delivers sufficient gain and drive for most speakers one would connect in this price class. He is very fond of the French Davis Acoustics brand and its Dufy HD and Matisse HD models and signed up to import them for Korea at the Munich 2013 show where we sat down for lunch. About the HP100 he says "as a preamp this is the real quality-grade deal with our final update implemented just before release".

Like he did for the Eximus DP1 the defeatable headphone filter is a purely analog circuit, not DSP-based affair as one reviewer claimed. This filter strategically boosts the lower bass where many headphones go soft. Sennheiser's HD800 particularly with stock cord is one such design that does benefit from this boost. As with a true infra sub payback isn't primarily beefier bass but improved soundstage realism and ambient recovery.