Raimond Audio – Audiophile Starter Power Amplifier – Review
A few months ago, the guys from jack-fi.ro introduced me to a small amplifier made locally by Raimond Audio . They insisted I try it with my Martin Logan Ethos speakers. I was a little skeptical, but I am glad I gave it a try.
General Presentation and Specs
The name of the amplifier is Audiophile Starter. The first thing I noticed was that it’s quite small.
Its small size can be quite an advantage for people who don’t have the necessary space for a bigger amplifier.
You can find more details about the specs and technology here.
- solid state dual monoblock
- input impedance 47kohm
- voltage gain 33dB
- input sensitivity (85W-8ohm) : 0.55 Vef
- RMS power : 85W-8ohm ; 150W-4 ohm
- THD+N 1Khz at 50W in 8ohm: 0.002 %
- IMD (19Khz+20Khz 1:1) at 50W in 8ohm: 0.007%
- proprietary amplifier schematic
The measurements of Audiophile Starter look quite impressive:
Looking inside the amplifier, I can tell you that the design is simple & clean, while the build quality is very good.
Listening Impressions & Tests
The tests were performed with Audio GD Master 10, Martin Logan Ethos Speakers, Piega Coax 30.2, MSB Analog DAC with quad usb.
Considering that the Audiophile Starter is a power amplifier, I used the built in volume control from my Analog Dac.
The first thing I noticed was the energetic and lively sparkle of the guitar plucks. They hit fast and the vibration also extended nicely into the upper frequencies. The voice had good presence and it also presented very good dyamic range and extension.
ZZ Top – La Grange (2005 Remastered Version)
This song shows the fast nature of this little amplifier, but also the energy it has on impact. While electric guitars have good vibration and extension, I feel that they could have used more meat on the bones, but overall the presentation was very fun.
As with the other songs, I’ve felt a sense a freshness/liveliness added to this song by this little amplifier. Everything from guitars, drums to the voices was fresh and lively. The guitars had the same energy I’ve been talking above. The scene is airy and the treble is very well extended. This little amplifier really managed to open up my Martin Logan Ethos on top of the frequency spectrum.
Handel: Water Music Suite No.2 in D
Indeed, the treble with this amplifier is more lively and detailed than with Master 10. This also gave an impression of more fresh air into the scene. The chords were more fresh and lively while also showing more detail.
The Civil Wars – I had me a girl
The electric guitars are a pleasure to listen to. They would need a little more body and extension, but nevertheless, they vibrate with lots of energy and impact. The voices have good presence and textures, but they are not as clean or fluent as with Master 10.
The bass is very quite nice on the Audiophile Starter. What I love about it, is the speed and impact it has. It’s very fast and very punchy, and this contributes to the whole sound signature making it snappy and fun.
The midrange is also good on this little amplifier. It could use a little more fluency/flow, but overall it’s quite nice, offering very good details and textures.
Well, this is where things got interesting. Considering that this is the area that is harder to amplify on my Martin Logan Ethos which has a 0.8 ohms impedance at 20kHz, this little guy really managed to open them up, offering more air on top, more zing, sparkle and energy in the treble region. It’s like the speakers became alive with this small amplifier.
The Audiophile Starter is quite nice in this area, offering a variety of details, details I didn’t notice before, especially in the treble region, but it’s also very good in the midrange as well.
The transients on the Audiophile Starter are super fun. The attack is full of energy, showing very good impact, followed closely by a swift decay. Overall, this helps in pumping energy and tactility into instrument plucks and into the whole sound in general. This is where the Audiophile Startare becomes quite addictive.
The soundstage has a good height, but overall, the sound is a little pushed into the front of the scene. I would have liked a little more layering and width.
Energy / Prat
Well, this little bastard will make you tap/headbang or even dance. It has the has the pace, it has the rhythm, it has what it takes to get you up from the chair.
The Audiophile starter isn’t made for huge bass driver speakers, but when you find a good pairing, it will rock your world.
It showed to be a very nice surprise with my Martin Logan Ethos , as it managed to wake the treble to life.
The Ethos do indeed go down to under 1 ohm in 20 khz and Kingwa from Audio GD said that Master 10 is not quite made for speakers that goes under 2 ohms. It doesn’t sound bad with the Ethoses, but not as airy and full of life on the treble area as the Raimond Audiophile Starter.
I’ve also tested the Piega Coax 30.2 speakers which are very pretentios and the character of the sound remained the same with Audiophile Starter, which managed to pump energy and rhythm into the music.
If you’re looking to a sound signature in tone with what I described above, I really recommend you check out this Raimond Audio amplifier.
- Fast and punchy bass
- Detailed midrange
- Sparkly, lively treble
- Good details
- Very fast transients with strong attack
- Excellent energy/prat
- Small print with good build quality
- The soundstage has the layers pushed into the front of the scene. Would need more space between the layers/more width
- The bass could use a little more extension
- While can’t say it’s a grainy amplifier, it would be wonderful if it had less grain