Saturday, October 29, 2005

Consonance M99plus Integrated Vacuum Tube Amplifier

I'm not an avid fan of tube equipped gears until I auditioned the Consonance M99plus integrated vacuum tube amp. Tube amps are misconceived as expensive pieces of equipment and are available only to a privileged and moneyed audiophiles. Inasmuch as this amp had been mass-produced in China, they are reasonably priced to afford tube newbies like me to explore and experience the wonderfully magical sound of tubes. Thus, owning this competitively priced tube amp, sporting the Consonance brand, adds pride of ownership and brings tube quality sound within the budget of almost every music lover.

My preference and growing interest on tube audio was the result of my conclusion that CD sound can never approximate the analog sound of the resurrected vinyls. Be that as it may, a tube amp can nonetheless, give life to the clinical and harsh sound of most CD players, which can often sound smoother and more musical when played through a tube amplifier. This premise goes without saying that tube amps are the better amps if compared to solid state amps but since my musical preference is now leaning towards the quieter genre and more relaxing music, it necessarily follows that I have to follow the route that would put me closer to the music. Gone are the days when I crave for the slam-bang and kick-ass bass of a solid state amp. Now, my aural experience begins when I listen to the more soothing sound of tubes that occasionally brings shivers to the bone and spine-tingling sensation when playing some of my favorite CD tracks.

The m99plus features 4 Shuguang 6P3P output tubes (which can be replaced by 6L6s, KT-66s and 5881s), 2 Shuguang 6N8P driver tubes (which can be replaced by 6SN7s and VT-231s), 2 Electro-Harmonix 12AX7EH pre-amp tubes configured in a SRPP circuitry, 3 toroidal transformers, 3 gold plated line inputs, large high quality gold plated 5-way speaker binding posts in 8 ohms and 4 ohms tap, all housed in a massive metal chassis with wooded side panels, weighing almost 18 Kgs. The m99plus is a solid-state rectified amp and equipped with a solidly-built remote control allowing you to adjust the volume from a distance.

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