THE FIRST REVIEW:
"SECRET WEAPON FROM AUSTRALIA"
KLAUS RENNER, DAS OHR, APRIL 1983 (GERMANY)
First of all, the METAXAS (PP1 Pre-preamplifier) is one of the few electronic pre-preamplifiers which allows the sonic qualities of a moving-coil to pass almost unhindered, one could almost say that what is fed in comes out again.
This device made me realise that the degree of mid/high range homogenity and precision of the EMT van den Hul can be still greater than that described in the last issue. Compared to the XF1 - transformer, which certainly isn't bad, the Metaxas/EMT combination offer a touch more transparency and airiness in the highs. The last trace of darkening and excessive softening which I now know to be produced by the XF-1, had vanished - what remained was reproduction of the mid and high ranges such as I had scarcely ever heard before. Violins, picolos, the impact of the piano, the sound of the triangle were all reproduced with a cleanness and effortlessness, with a richness of timbre and detail, which gave enormous pleasure. Regardless of whehter it was the sharp attack of the guitar strings, delicate Flageolett playing, cymbal, brushwork or blaring trumpets, the Metaxas/EMT combination seemed to be equal to any situation. The PP-1 exhibited neither the dynamic flatness of many other pre-preamplifiers, nor did it swallow up any sound information. On the contrary, it seemed to me rather as if the Australian device offered a trifle more transparency than was in fact really there. During the many by-pass tests I sometimes felt that the sound with the PP-1 was more pleasant, more airy, more exact than with the direct EMT - Levinson connection. I really can't say that with any certainty but I would say that if the PP-1 does produce any colouration in the mid/high range, it definitely tends in the direction of a somewhat bright reproduction. Under no circumstances would I argue that this is unpleasant, in the sense of being uncomfortably aggressive.
And Again Worthy of Note
The quality of the Metaxas PP-1 continues in the lower ranges. I had to exchange the EMT vdH for a Kiseki blue in order to create the right qualitative environment for the Australian. With the EMT one couldn't get any sense out of fundamentals and bass. The PP-1 delivered at the output the somewhat bloated, loose and tired sound presented to it at the input by the EMT. With the Kiseki on the other hand, the PP-1 distinguished itself by a tight, quick and powerful bass reproduction. Kettle drum beats were separated from each other as if by a scalpel, each single action of the musician from the impact of the drumstick to the development of the precisely defined sound could be followed, without overhang, smooth and clean. The manifold tonal variations offered by orchestral percussion were reproduced it would seem effortlessly by the Kiseki/Metaxas combination. Neither dynamics were lacking nor did a power bass impulse obscure the transparency of the upper ranges.
RALPH NEILL, AUSTRALIAN HI-FI, SEPTEMBER 1983
"There is no doubt in my mind that the PP-1 is capable of taking advantage of the superb sound offered by moving coil devices and that, in most cases, the limiting factor will be the following preamplifier.
I have no doubt that the PP-1 will knock the spots of most of the competition if you're thinking of adding a moving-coil cartridge to your system and don't want to put up with the decidedly inferior performance of most built-in moving-coil pre-amps.
Flag-waving? Why not? Australia II proved in a big way that Australian technology can take on the world and win. The MAS PP-1 is doing just the same - on a smaller scale, to be sure, but it's doing it!