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This review first appeared in the June 2007 issue of and can be read in its original German version here. It is herewith translated and presented to an English-only audience through a mutual syndication arrangement with whereby they will translate and publish select reviews of ours while we reciprocate with one or two of theirs each month. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end auto-links to his e-mail should you have questions or feedback you wish to send. All images contained in this review are the property of - Ed.

Reviewer: Jörg Dames
Source: Audiomeca Obsession II, Creek Destiny
Amplification: Accuphase E-212, Myryad MXI2080, Dussun V8i, Creek A 50i, Lua 4040C
Loudspeakers: Thiel CS 2.4, Zu Druid mk4, Sehring 703 SE, Spendor S3/5
Cables: Straight Wire Virtuoso, Zaolla Reinsilber XLR interconnects; Ortofon SPK 500, Straight Wire Rhapsody, HMS Al Cinema speaker cables
Review component retail: ca. 900 EU

Alien or earthly?
Despite its earthly origins, the Classic 6.6 -- at least for most readers of our publication -- still doesn't stem from 'just around the corner' but China. Which gets us right into the thick of things. The website of American econo mag Forbes ran an interesting article on the subject China Hifi at the beginning of this year. The sub header read "China's audio industry is starting to make a big noise - it just needs to get its domestic audience to listen." Aha.

Farther down this report, a Beijing businessman in the process of parting with $6,000 for a hifi rig is quoted as: "But I'll stay away from Chinese products. The quality is not that good, at least that's the feeling of us Chinese. We prefer overseas products." Shazam.

To stay with Beijing, Yushang Electronic Audio Technology Co. is indeed the short 'n' sweet manufacturer's name of today's review subject, the Classic 6.6. Its designer Yu Jian Bing too has a few words in the Forbes article, at the precise moment in fact when the reporter in essence posits that Chinese Hifi developed from a "pile of tinkering, merely locally relevant firms": "Nothing was planned," Yu says. "It just happened."

The outcome being that, according to the article, audiophile kit from the Kingdom of the Middle could book global success far more profoundly if just its marketing was handled
more professionally. Chinese kit fascinates and polarizes: Are we dealing with price-performance miracles or reckless one-uppance of machined extravaganzas? Trading exchanges with fellow hifi enthusiasts, dealers or while lurking in a few of the hobby's Internet forums, many listeners seem in fact caught smack dab in the middle of this polarization. As mentioned above, it even seems true in China itself.

And today's Classic 6.6 integrated amplifier generates just such discussions. Mister Yu wants roughly 900 euros for it though this statement is not entirely factual. Forget any established German dealer network. While beyond the usual Internet sellers there are by now a few German brick 'n' mortar retailers who self-import this machine -- hopefully under
CE certification -- a formal import house for the brand does not presently exist.

Alas, there is additional information...

The Classic 6.6 weighs in at 20kg and is a heavy also on its outputs with 160wpc into 8 ohm (270 into 4). Circuit architecture is true dual mono, with four 10.000 µF filter capacitors and a 400VA power transformer per side (and yes, Internet-based spec sheets do talk of 450 or even 500VA). Damping factor approaches 400, an indicator that the Classic 6.6 will readily drive and control more challenging loads.

Upfront, the Classic 6.6 sports a 1cm thick face plate and upscale-ish source selectors -- with relay switching behind 'em no less -- and a nearly obscenely massive volume control. The weaponry cues gain further support from the massive lateral heat sinks. On the subject of which, their job is to chill the workings of Toshiba output transistors working in class A up to 20 watts. Beneath the machine, special footers suggest serious combat against resonance. The business end offers comprehensive connectivity with especially solid binding posts. A selectable main-in allows one to drive the amplifier stage from an external source.

Alright Mr. Yu, for the money asked, things do seem impressively substantial thus far. What happens though after one powers the Classic 6.6 up?

... in amazement. Not. Hearing nothing in surprise is the game instead. And a trip to the circuit breaker for another power cycle. With luck, now there's sound. Otherwise, repeat, good things take time. Other machines hanging on the same mains loom might enjoy some time off.

What to do? a/ live with it, the issue, depending on household, will vary anyway; b/ modify the machine to limit in-rush current; c/ scour the market for a Classic 6.6 version where this behavior has been successfully bred out.

Okay. Listening?
Yes, the Classic 6.6 plays on its own during background sessions even without the help of a CD player. Okay, some get off on the rush of bubbles in an aquarium but seriously, the occasional mild transformer hum doesn't personally disturb me. Time finally to cue up the first disc, Audiomeca Obsession II ...

To wit, "Culture Of Complaint" by Grassy Knoll, an atmospheric, rhythmical piece, densely arranged, richly facetted due to a multitude of miniature sound snippets and flanked by a driving,
occasionally overdone bass propelling the tune onward. At least that's how it's theoretically supposed to sound or else pleasure takes a nose dive. And the Classic 6.6 delivers: The bass pushes and drives, loaded yet precise in perfect proportion. The soundstage of the Sehring 703SE is three-dimensionally cast top to bottom. The toms, the rattles, the sax - everything transmits authentically scaled and toward the listener. Perhaps not completely resolved but finally there's an amp which doesn't serve up the goods in black tie and tails, both feet on the line and broomstick up the arse. Admittedly, I love to bathe in good music and the first impression here sez, this is a machine of the emotional type.

The next turn sees the Thiel CS 2.4 leashed up to the Classic 6.6 and Arbouretum commences "The Rise". Off the bat, the hi-hat and bass drum engage in a duet by their lonesome - with live atmosphere. I've played percussion for ages. Badly. And that's how a bass drum must sound: Pressurized, articulated and fat. You gotta feel it in your gut, preferably under insane levels. The Classic 6.6 veritably hammers out those kicks. Dussun V8i excepted, this is more impressive than equally priced amps will muster. Include the Accuphase E-212 in that second tier. Yet lateral soundstage spread is better served elsewhere and not just by the Japanese. The stage appears somewhat triangular in shape here, free from the speaker boxes but restricted in width, instruments somewhat crowded.

A CEC AMP5300 for example sorts out the thicket clearly better though without the pressurization and emotional presence of the Classic 6.6. Ditto for the bronzed register of the percussion set: Hi hat and cymbals are grainier with the Chinese and a bit omnipresent. Sensitive ears will risk losing their cool over time. Granted, that's relative to the chosen loudspeakers, too. With buttoned-up speakers like Spendor S3/5s, the Classic 6.6's somewhat brash upper mids inject a pleasing liveliness. Incidentally, it's worthwhile to upgrade the fuses in this machine.

After a few routinely spun test CDs, I reached for something musically more off the main drag: Politik and the well-known "In My Place" by Coldplay. The first cut kicks off with a midrange-y mêlée of cymbals, assorted percussion, bass and subliminal piano flickers. Complete analytical oversight somewhat eludes the Classic 6.6. It remains compacted but not necessarily distracting since the music still comes across. But a dash of extra fascination is introduced by way of a Myryad MXI2080 (upcoming for review). Whenever there's a cymbal's uppermost harmonic shimmer or the lyrical melt of the piano throughout the piece, the Classic 6.6 paints with a coarser brush yet showers the listener -- especially in the second track -- under impressive pressure. True, sibilants are a bit forward but compensated for by the close staging and the concomitant joy of performing.

I've come across Internet ads praising the Classic 6.6 as a wunderkind teaching advanced lessons to fully established mainstream integrateds in the 5.000 Euro class. Fine, a bit of hype is the spice of good marketing, returning us full circle to this review's opening...

Being loaded with such high expectations warrants closer inspection. Where fit 'n' finish and material extravagance are concerned, 900 Euros truly buy something exceptional here. That continues with sonic attributes without necessarily equating to genius level. For 1,000 euros, plenty of competitors exhibit similar weaknesses without trading them for quite the kind of strengths the Classic 6.6 celebrates so overtly. Anyone loving emotionally laden grippiness, a highly involving in-your-lap presentation and who also is in need of an amp that'll control pretty much any loudspeaker is well advised to inspect the Classic 6.6 closer. Even on a bigger budget. That's relevant too since the market is littered with speakers which will benefit from just such an energized playback.

The Classic 6.6 integrated amplifier is characterized by:

  • An emotional, propulsive presentation.
  • Control and drive even with speakers of challenging load behavior.
  • A forward projection of the stage ahead of the speakers and a concomitant reduction of stage width.
  • Authentic, fascinating bass.
  • A slight emphasis of the upper mids.
  • A somewhat compacted, not completely resolved presentation.

"Nothing was planned, it just happened." That's how much good music was born, too.

Manufacturer's website