Recommended Posts

Super Wammer

Having lived and parted with what i consider to be the best pre amp i have ever heard.

( not that i have heard loads) The Hovland HP100. A seriously fantastic bit of hi fi "art" for want of a better word. What that amp did for me was open up a whole new layer i had never heard before and although sadly i had to sell it with its partner the Hovland sapphire (i bought and did not like at all) it will be missed and i am happy i had the pleasure of both listening and owning such a beautiful bit of kit. So that will be my ref point from now on when evaluating any pre amp i have or may have in the future.

So onto what i have now, a stunningly lovely ART dual mono VPS valve pre. and an ART Carissa power amp. 16w of stunning single ended joy.

Happy as i am ( and i am happy) with this set up i wanted to see/hear if any other pre gave me that stunning spooky see through detail and sound the Hovland did and if the ART could be bettered. I had a few quid to experiment with and asked a few dealers if i could borrow a demo pre. Now living in Northern Ireland understanably i was not to be innundated with offers but i got a couple.

Step up Greg from G-point audio who originally hails from poland and sells some cracking gear from that part of the world, his offer to me was to send me a pre amp called the "Absolutor" free of charge, fantastic! send it on mate!

2 days later a big heavy box arrived and the 2 box pre amp was unloaded. First thing is this is a big solidly constructed 2 box amp. Jerry did a review of it on Hi Fi pig, techy details can be found there as i have no expertise in that area LINK: http://hifipig.com/absolutor-pre-amplifier/

This is a nice looking bit of kit, glossy black with only a silver volume knob on front which is as smooth as silk and feels really solid when you move it. At the rear is a pair or RCA outs and a Pair of balanced sockets, these are switchable by a little toggle switch at the rear, also there is a ground switch should you get hum. Jerry stated that he had no noise issues, i had some hum although my speakers are very sensitive with 105db so a little hum can be expected but it was not too bad and did not spoil the sound when playing music. Only 1 set of amp outs which is a pain if you have mono blocks or in my case 2 power amps for speaker duties, ( i have a dsp amp that does the bass drivers and the crossover for my open baffle speakers) so a splitter had to be used. The on off switch is also at the rear via another toggle switch. The front is kept really clean looking with only the volume knob and a subtle green light to tell you both units are on, pre amp and the power supply are connected by a heavy but very flexable umbilical cord, and build quality is solid and well made.

So, slotted in and warm up for an hour before listening, first off i have to state the gain is very high. I dont know what the figures are but i could hardly look at the volume knob without it getting way too loud. I have a hi/low gain switch on the carissa but it made little difference to the control. As i use a streamer and dac i can control the volume with the dac so could hear the pre at sensible levels. Weather this degrades the sound i can't tell.

The sound? Well this is a seriously good pre, detail is there in spades, seperation of the artists and instruments was very good with a big soundstage left, right and well above, depth was not as good as the Hovland or my ART ( which is actually the best of the lot) midrange was glorious i would be hard pressed to tell the difference with the Hovland from what i remember. Treble was clean & clear but without anything harshness creeping in. The Absolutor is a little leaner than the others but not weak or lacking in spirit. The ART would be a tad warmer with the Hovland fitting snugly in the middle, and that is a fair assesment, I would still put the Hovland above and still remains my REF pre amp.

( again only my opinion)

System synergy probably comes into play but i prefered the ART with the ART amp. Now to put this into some sort of context the ART pre has been modded and updated by Tom Willis with Hovland musicaps et al and with a new price of around £5k and the Hovland when last sold here in the UK was a staggering £6.5k the money spent on these amps shows up against what i consider to be a really close contest with an amp that is £3k with balanced connections or £2800 for rca only, this is quite astonishing! Pound for pound in this company the Absolutor is a steal. If the gain can be controlled a bit better or your equipment likes that gain level and you dont mind the switches on the rear,

( didn't annoy me, these are easy to reach and rack depending should not hamper most who use it). then i would heartily recommend you get a listen. Greg is about the most accomodating entheusiastic guy you could wish to meet, never pressured me and has not asked for the amp to be returned, cost me nothing bar a few quid to return the amp ( when i finally do) and i really enjoyed the experiance with this fantastic bit of kit.

The web page on G-point has lots of internal pictures of the amp and you can see the selection of components used. I would happily own this amp if i needed a pre amp in this price range and the gain wasn't an issue for my system. As it is and after a few great weeks with this its a very close run thing with only a very small degree of differences heard, i have tried to communicate these but i don't really do this amp justice, it sounded dam close to my very good upgraded ART and comparing it in the company of the Hovland is very high praise indeed, it is well deserved.

So a well made, great sounding, different from the norm amp and a dealer that is a pleasure to deal with i urge anyone in the market for such a component to call Greg and get a chat.

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RON,

Great review and nice to see you found such an accomodating dealer to facilitate you.

I know how hard it is to get equipment here through dealers and the "guilt" your are made feel when it dosent work out!!

It is a pity the gain is so high, may not have heard the best of that unit even in such great company which is praise indeed.

All the Best

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer

Thanks mate im sure the gain could be better controlled by those in the know, but it will suit some amps just not mine.

sounds bloody good though for the money

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.