2020 Product of the Year Awards | Solid-State Power Amplifiers
Rogue Audio Dragon
Boasting 300Wpc into 8 ohms (500Wpc in 4 ohms) Dragon is a sophisticated hybrid tube/Class D design that stands atop the Rogue lineup as the most powerful stereo amp it offers today. Indeed, Dragon has enough output to comfortably drive the vast majority of loudspeakers with ease. Perhaps surprisingly, given its tremendous power, it also elicits a near-granular level of finesse and clarity from instruments at the back of the stage. Speed and transient information are naturalistic and lively; tonal balance predominately neutral, with glimmers of midrange warmth and a well-defined presence range. Violin and viola are particularly well rendered and distinct; bass response is superbly controlled. And always lurking at the ready is the voice of authority, eager to reproduce an organ’s pedal point or the left hand of a pianist striking the bottom-octave keys of a concert grand. Not just another high-powered beast, Dragon is truly a splendid and easily attainable amplifier that will proudly grace any system.
Aesthetix Atlas Eclipse Mono
The Aesthetix Atlas Eclipse Mono is a powerful amplifier that delivers like few others on the promise of hybrid technology. The tube input stage actually allows the amplifier to capture almost all of the body, texture, and sense of space offered by the best all-glass designs. At the same time, the solid-state output stage provides the bass slam and control seemingly available only with high-power transistor amplification. Designer Jim White has taken his widely admired Atlas amplifier to new heights by carefully matching all of the output transistors, using the latest in custom-designed StealthCap technology, upgrading the power supply, and redesigning the casework to reduce resonances. The audible result of these efforts is seemingly unlimited power (rated 300Wpc into 8 ohms and 600Wpc into 4 ohms) with a pristine transparency that the earlier versions of this amplifier could not quite achieve. With this open-window-to-the-world clarity comes three-dimensional instruments, rich tonal color, expansive soundstage, a blacker background than the original Atlas, and subterranean bass. For those of you using dedicated subwoofers, the Atlas Eclipse offers a separate input followed by a built-in high-pass crossover that allows the user to roll off the low frequencies going to the loudspeaker driven by the Atlas, which in turn allows for a much cleaner transition between main speaker and subwoofer. The Atlas Eclipse Monos are a celebration of hybrid design fully realized—truly deserving to be called Product of the Year.
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