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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: 2TB iMac 27" quad-core with 16GB of RAM (AIFF) running OSX 10.8.2 and PureMusic 1.94g in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM, Audirvana 1.5.10 in direct/integer mode 1, Metrum Hex, SOtM dX-USB HD with Super-clock upgrade & mBPS-d2s, AURALiC Vega, Apple iPod Classic 160 AIFF-loaded, Cambridge Audio iD100, Pure i20, Pro-Ject Dock Box S Digital, RWA-modifed Astell&Kern AK100
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Bent, Audio Tap-X, Esoteric C-03
Power & integrated amplifiers: FirstWatt S1 monos, SIT2; Crayon Audio CFA-02, Bakoon AMP-12R, Goldmund/Job 225, Gato DIA-250, Clones 25i [on loan], Aura Note Premier
Loudspeakers: soundkaos Wave 40, Boenicke Audio W5 & B10, German Physiks HRS-120, AudioSolutions Rhapsody 200, Zu Audio Submission, Eist Audio Dubh [on review]
Cables: Complete Zu Event loom; KingRex uArt, Zu Event and Light Harmonic LightSpeed split USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; Van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fiber Toslink
Powerline conditioning: GigaWatt PF-2 + Vibex Two 1R on amps, Vibex Three 11R on front-end components
Equipment rack:
Artesania Exoteryc double-wide three tier with optional glass shelf, Rajasthani hardwood rack for amps
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Desktop system: iPod/AK100 digital transports, Wyred4Sound minT, Gato Audio DIA-250, Gallo Strada II + TR-3D
Room size:
Irregularly shaped 9.5 x 9.5m open floor plan combines the living/listening room, kitchen and office. Added to this space the speakers see the air volume of the entry hall and a long corridor plus the 2nd-storey 6 x 9.5m loft. Wood-panel ceiling slopes up to the loft. Parquet flooring. Lots of non-parallel surfaces ('vertical gable' windows, twin-angle ceiling, spiral staircase enclosure, fireplace enclosure). For a pictorial tour, see here.
Review component retail: €4.300 for base version, €700 for optional digital module

I'd worked with Enrico Fiore when he handled S&M—sales and marketing—for Sonus faber. Now he was at Italian hifi firm Pathos to tell me about their Logos integrated optionally available with DAC module. This beefy hybrid combined a 2 x ECC88/6922 class A fully balanced preamp stage with a 110/220wpc into 8/4Ω class AB Mosfet output stage sans feedback for a 5Hz-140kHz response at ±0.5dB. That's admirably wide bandwidth. For precise remote-controlled volume there's a BB PGA2310 digitally actuated analog resistor-array chip to replace a conventional pot. There are 2:5 XLR:RCA inputs and one each variable and fixed output. The digital board adds 2 x S/PDIF coax and 1 x USB type 'B' class 2.0 for 24bit/192kHz compatibility. Though the preamp stage is valved, the transistor outputs are non-inverting. Input impedance is 32KΩ/20KΩ on RCA/XLR. Dimensions are 42 x 42 x 17cm DxWxH. Weight is a confident 28kg.

Before you protesteth too much—that this is a very old hat, 10 years so in fact—the updated MkII version under review is brand new. This includes higher anode voltages for the valves to operate at higher linearity. A newly stabilized power supply for these bottles and superior electrolytic caps are said to create "quicker on-demand energy" for "better dynamics, detail and timing".

The II is also modernized on features. Levels can be stored for each input as well as gain assigned and display brightness adjusted. Standby is remote actuated to appease latest EU energy consumption commands. Hall effect sensors protect against short circuits and overload.

One glance at the Zanini name shared between three individuals here shows that Pathos is a family business.

Better sound, higher safety, greater feature smarts. That's the promise.

Just as you'd expect, coming from Vicenza the Logos MkII on style is pure italiano. The wood-ensconced chrome-rimmed display doubles as volume knob. The heat sinks spell out the company name in elongated letters.

The balance between flash and understatement is most keenly observed.

The front baffle curves, the Padauk wood trim veers backward into a triangle rimmed by mirrors to reflect the small-signal bottles.

The top cover sports seven micro-perf circular cooling vents in a classy two-tone scheme. Where lesser stylists would shun asymmetry to pursue some idealized but static notion, Pathos adds two small chromed push buttons to the right of the wooden center detail but none to its left. Bravo! It's such assuredness of industrial design that can make the decisive difference between smart but trite and truly interesting. This is pure class if more opulent than stark.

Lest your knees jerk, about hybrid tech, real-world power and Milanese style threatening an extended beans'n'rice diet to finance... the Logos MkII wants €5'000 fully loaded. Already dac'd out? Subtract €700. That's no chicken feed but surely no audiophile trophy pricing either. By now you'll have figured out why I accepted Enrico's solicitation. This was a 10-year proven circuit refined for the 21st century. It combined vacuum and solid state. It looked swell. It had bandwidth. It had low-impedance power. It was priced fairly particularly for EU manufacture. How would it impress in the sweet spot?