Boulder’s Rich Maez and the New 2000 Series

Solid-state power amplifiers,
Solid-state preamplifiers
Boulder’s Rich Maez and the New 2000 Series

Rich Maez of Boulder Audio visited me a few days ago to listen to my system with the new Boulder 2150 mono block amplifiers and 2210 preamplifier. I had long been curious to hear the Boulders. Thanks to the help of Joe Stromick, who owns JS Audio in Bethesda, MD, I received some vital assistance in transporting this not insubstantial equipment down into my basement listening room. The last time I got to listen to Boulder was a few years ago at Goodwin’s in Boston, where the 2050 monos drove a pair of Magico and Rockport loudspeakers. They displayed great control and clarity.

As Maez explained, Boulder has pretty much torn up the old design even if the chassis itself looks pretty similar. All Boulder equipment, he noted, is made in-house, down to the circuit boards. The attention to detail, if you take a look inside, is nothing short of fanatical. Only the anodizing of the chassis, which can't be carried out for environmental reasons in Boulder, CO, takes place outside of the factory.  The new preamp and amps, he said, are much faster and more open than their predecessors. I don’t have a pair on hand for direct comparison, but I can tell you—without giving too much away before Tony Cordesmann’s review and my assessment appear in a future TAS—that the new gear sounds darned impressive.

One thing is very clear: the Boulder equipment’s venatical abilities in pursuing the smallest, most minute musical detail is second to none. It also has amazing drive on LP—on a London Blueback, which I recently heard at David Wilson’s home in Provo, Utah and promptly procured, the 2150s and 2110 allowed the jaunty character of the first movement—labeled allegro con spirito--of Rodrigo’s concerto for guitar and concerto to come through with marvelous vividness.

The 2000 series isn’t even Boulder’s top of the line. Maez says that the 3050 mono amplifiers are biased even deeper into Class A power than the 2150s and allow even more detail to come through. Be that as it may, the 2150, which offers 1,000 watts of Class A power, is nothing to sneeze at. But as Maez emphasized, the pursuit of power is not an end in itself for a Boulder but a means to an end, which is to say that Boulder's goal is for maximum grip and control to allow the music to flow effortlessly.  Anyone listening to Boulder's new equipment would probably feel compelled to conclude that the company has accomplished it in spades.