Recommended Reference Component: Moon by Simaudio Evolution 760A Stereo Amplifier

Recommended Reference ComponentSimaudio’s Moon Evolution 760A retails for $8000 USD, making it not only the smallest and lowest-powered, but also the least-expensive Moon Evolution amp -- but that doesn’t mean that Simaudio has skimped on its build or sound qualities. The 760A’s compact dimensions (18.75”W x 4”H x 18.1”D), weight of nearly 45 pounds, and exceptionally sturdy build quality of all metal parts, make it feel quite dense. And commensurate with the 760A’s topflight build is Simaudio’s ten-year warranty -- far longer than the two to five years typically given with electronic components.

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Recommended Reference Component: Benchmark Media Systems AHB2 Stereo/Mono Amplifier

Recommended Reference ComponentHans Wetzel is a cautious, subdued reviewer, more likely to understate than to overstate how a product performs. So when he raved about Benchmark Media Systems’ AHB2 amplifier in his June 1 SoundStage! Access review, stating that it “may be hi-fi’s biggest bargain” today, we knew that its performance must be as special as the measured results that accompanied the review, and about which Bascom King said: “I measured less distortion and noise in the AHB2 than in any other of the many power amps I’ve measured over the years.”

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Recommended Reference Component: Luxman M-900u Stereo/Mono Amplifier

Recommended Reference ComponentLike Luxman’s C-900u preamplifier, which Doug Schneider reviewed in November 2014 and we recognized as a Recommended Reference Component the following month, the companion M-900u stereo/mono amplifier, reviewed last month by Doug, is exceptionally well built, perfectly finished, and superbly styled. The M-900u also has a bit of a 1970s vibe due to the attractive VU meters that adorn its front panel -- something not seen often today. Each component costs $19,900 USD.

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Recommended Reference Component: Audio Research Reference 10 Preamplifier

Recommended Reference ComponentDespite being supplanted by the transistor more than half a century ago, the vacuum tube remains popular among hi-fi enthusiasts, with product designs that continually push the century-old technology to new heights of performance. Of the companies still producing tubed products and advancing the technology, Audio Research Corporation, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, remains one of the most popular and respected in the business. Last month, when Pete Roth reviewed the ARC Reference 10 preamplifier for SoundStage! Ultra, he proclaimed it “one of the most thrilling, intoxicating, musically engrossing preamplifiers ever made.” Until the Reference 10’s arrival, Pete’s reference preamp had been Audio Research’s Reference 5 SE.

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Recommended Reference Component: Devialet 400 Mono Integrated Amplifier-DACs

Recommended Reference ComponentDevialet, based in France, has shaken up the hi-fi world like no other company in recent memory. Their first product, the D-Premier integrated amplifier-DAC ($15,995 USD), which debuted in 2009, packed into its flat, shiny case Devialet’s newly developed, patented Analog Digital Hybrid (ADH) technology, which marries class-A and class-D amplifier topologies in a way never done before; a digital-to-analog converter; and a digital preamplifier, replete with a high-powered DSP engine that permitted customization of its features and sound.

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