MEN AT WORK
This High-End amplifier must be special. One music loving Greek Australian developed it; a Berner perfectionist improved it. Stereoplay listened to it.
"When you power a power amplifier with car batteries, it sounds simply better" states Fred Gassmann, Importer of Metaxas Audio equipment to seven European states, to astonished Stereoplay staff.
The blond haired Berner citizen swears by the high constant current DC sources, as he believes the switching nature of normal power supplies as unfortunately a most unavoidable compromise.
"In this way, by comparison, we can look for the ideal transformer for the Metaxas power amplifier. We must make the amplifier even more suitable for 220V operation."
What Gassmann intends with the battery is to realise the enormous currents drawn under different loading conditions without the synchronous nature of the more typical transformer - bridge rectifier - capacitor which relies on stored energy. Using batteries, one dispenses with the "hard" Hi Fi parts of an over dimensioned transformer charging oversized computer grade capacitors. So the amplifier can drive without problem, current consuming, difficult loudspeaker loads such as the martin Logan CLS II (Stereoplay 8/89).
With this in mind, Gassmann installs into the Aussie power amplifier Metaxas Solitaire a transformer with two Kilovolt output that could fully charge four large capacity electrolytic capacitors. From this supply, eight high-speed output transistors per channel may easily draw considerable power.
And power has a 9,500 DM cost. Driving the lowest loudspeaker impedance, the second biggest power amplifier in the Metaxas range can produce a staggering 700 watts - both channels driven into one tiny ohm - using a similar gigantic dummy load.
According to the designer Kostas Metaxas' instructions, this extremely handy loudspeaker driver should receive its instructions from a preamplifier named "Marquis".
Featuring a broad stainless steel case of only 5mm high, the 4 cm long chromed knobs allow exact manipulation of the user's will.
Biamping fans will enjoy the two pairs of output sockets while Analogue enthusiasts will have choice of MM or MC input of the phone stage.
Perhaps they will accept as an extra consolation, the hand matched parts used in the phono stage section.
The signal path through the PC board is protected from main noise and hum (as is should be) by Metaxas' large stainless steel external power supply which houses these parts
We became quite excited about the sonic results of the Australian Swiss co-operation after such a lot of effort was expended to produce such an effortless unstained tone.
As an exquisite comparison for the decorated Marquis is the Berliner "Nobel Brocken" Burmester 808MkIII (Absolute Spitzenclasse, Referenz). This was connected to the Super speaker T + A 230 (Absolute Spitzenclasse II, Referenz) driven by the enormous Stax DMA-X2 mono bocks (Absolute Spitzenclasse I, Referenz).
Connected to the Sony CDPZ777 DC player reference (Absolute Spitzenclasse I) the Burmester 808 allowed a glance of the fine high frequency structure and at the same time granted a stoic effortlessness in the lowest frequencies with emphasis on conture.
The ruthless honesty gave the Berliner the reputation of authority for this reviewer. But maybe you would prefer the Australian Marquis, which reproduces the middle and high frequencies a little clearer with a more delicate sound from the highest flute tones.
The Marquis' tonal interpretation of richer instruments was less sharp. It is perhaps warmer than the 808, which we find slightly more correct.
With signals taken from the LINN Lp12 turntable (Absolute Spitzenclasse II Referenz) with the MC Cartridge AudioTechnica Art 1 (Absolute Spitzenclasse I) the sound was as transparent as that using CDs. The basic characteristic a warmer, fuller low frequency as compared with the original source - was also apparent on the analogue circuit.
So the fundamentally honest King remained and the Marquis remains his loyal servant, which in this case corresponds to a rating of Absolute Spitzenclasse in our Stereoplay rating system.
After this splendid performance, none of the reviewers expected yet another sensation in the form of the Power Amplifier partner of the Marquis - the METAXAS Solitaire - which was compared to the more than twice as expensive Pioneer M6 mono blocks ((Absolute Spitzenclasse II, Referenz).
The Australian handily outperformed the Japanese twins. With incredible bass control and solid high frequency information differentiation, the Solitaire left the M6's clearly behind.
And so we brought out the Stax and we connected them to a more difficult impedance loudspeaker than the T + A 230: the Martin Logan Sequel II ((Absolute Spitzenclasse I, Referenz).
Again drove the Australian with its extraordinary high frequency detailing with absolute control over the high current drawing Sequel Violins are delicate and open, pizzicato sounds of strings vibrating are easily resolved.
The Stax's will have their work cut out for them to improve upon the airiness and spaciousness with ease.
Only with strong bass do the 35,000 DM Japanese units demonstrate that their power reserve is bigger than the watt-muscles of the Australo-Power amplifier.
The conclusion: the sensation is perfect.
A power amplifier for 9500 Mark can reach without problems to the position of (Absolute Spitzenclasse I and is immediately equal to competitors that are three times more expensive.
That it works well with the critical Logan electrostatic, states that yet again, there are seven stars for Metaxas.