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December 08, 2019, 07:03:39 PM

Author Topic: Some thoughts on the Stereomour II  (Read 653 times)

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Offline Metropolis488

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Some thoughts on the Stereomour II
« on: June 15, 2018, 09:55:31 AM »
Some thoughts after two weeks with the Stereomour II.
 
First, it is in fully stock configuration, except I bypassed the vol & bal pots with 221k resistors I had left over from another project (I have the shunt regulator, but am working through an issue with the board).
Also, I fired it up and tested it with the sovtek 2a3 tubes, but immediately swapped them for some RCA gray plates.
 
My system:
Zu Omen mkII speakers, a Boston powered sub (can’t remember the model), Peachtree Nova Pre (with a nice DAC built in), Sonos for digital (using the Peachtree DAC), Pro-ject RM5.1se with Hanna h/o elliptical MC cart, Pro-ject speed box (I forgot which version, but it does help) EAR 834p phono, Pangea power cord (for the amp only), Blue-jeans speaker cables and bunch of expensive (overpriced) Audioquest interconnects I got on clearance (hey, they look really pretty with blue and red cloth wrappings!).
 
Room: I have an open floor plan that is effectively one big open space that includes the kitchen, dining room and living room all in one. It’s about 23 ft deep by 35 ft wide.  The area that has the speakers (the living room space) has a vaulted ceiling, and is about 16 ft wide (16 of the 35ft total width).  Not an enormous space, but not a cozy den either.  Hardwood floors with a couple of area rugs.
 
For reference, lately I have been using DIY first watt clones (all built to Nelson’s specs) – an F5, an Aleph J (my favorite of the First Watts) and two F6s.  Other pieces that have cycled through my system include: Mystere tube integrated, Parasound pre (Halo) and power amps, a couple of NADs (c326bee and c375bee – unless you need absurd power, the c326 sounds better), Arcam integrated, Sherbourne (Emotiva), Peachtree integrated and power amp, glass-ware Aikido pre-amp kit, multiple PSB speakers, a couple pairs of B&Ws, Tannoy, Salk, Philharmonic, Zu Soul (the one with the concentric driver/tweeter).  Also, probably a dozen different phono stages including Cambridge, project, Vincent audio, haggerman kit (noisy), tubes4hifi kit (ice picks), NAD, Musical Surroundings (that was a good one) and now the EAR 834p.  For carts, I’ve logged significant time on Ortofon 2M Blue and Bronze (I don’t think the bronze is worth the upcharge over the blue), Denon DL110 (reduced surface noise, but treble extension as well), Sumiko Blue pt No. 2 and at least two others that I can’t remember right now.
 
OK, with all that out of the way, what do I think of the Stereomour II?  In a word, awesome.  I’ll spare everyone all the effusive prose usually dished out by the review publications (sorry, but I can’t even attempt to read the 6 moons dribble as feels like forced labor) but will say this: if you are someone that has cycled through a bunch of HiFi equipment looking for that magical “something” you know is missing, you MUST listen to a direct heated, single ended triode amp – specifically the Stereomour.
 
Are the lows mushy? Not at all.
Are the highs attenuated (aka “tubey”)? Nope.
Are the mids overly “romantic” (aka, lack precision in texture and soundstage placement). No way.
So what is it, bright and forward?? Neither.
 
This is, paradoxically, the least precise and yet most accurate description I can come up with: it just sounds REAL.  And, no description will be able to truly convey the experience of actually listening to this amp.  The soundstage is FAR more 3 dimensional and bigger than any other amp/speaker combo I have ever heard.  The edges of images sound REAL.  The placement of instruments in the stage sound REAL.  The tones and textures of instruments sound like they are in the room with you, and not a recording.  I know people say that with all other sorts of equipment, but I have owned and listened extensively to all other sorts of equipment, and while nice, none compare to this.
 
As for volume (this is for all you people sitting on the fence and not ordering because you’re unsure about those 3.5 watts) – the Stereomour II is shockingly powerful for the stated wattage.  With my Omens, it sounds slightly MORE powerful than my 25 watt Aleph J.  That said, I do believe matching amplifier to speaker based on impedance curves is significantly underutilized.