First let me say that I'm still on my honeymoon with this amp, so pardon my enthusiasm. I'd heard about the quality of the Music Reference amps from fellow inmate Ozzy and when I read a short description of its sound by Pat McGinty of Meadowlark, I had to try it with my Meadowlark speakers. The RM-200 is built like a tank, weighing in at about 50 lbs., but looks classily elegant with its wooden base and exposed tubes, which include two 6BQ7 driver tubes and a quad of either KT88's, KT90's, or 6550C's. It also has a capability that, to my limited knowledge, is unique among tube amps (more on that later).
The last two amps in my main system were outstanding solid state amps, the McCormack DNA 0.5 Deluxe (Stereophile Class B) and the Pass Labs Aleph 3 (Stereophile Class A), so I was totally unprepared for the shock I felt when I first heard the RM-200. The music just seemed to flow with notes hanging in the air well out into the room, plus I heard more detail and even punchier bass. Tube lovers will no doubt attribute at least some of my experience to my return to a tube amp (I had a Berning before the McCormack) and they're probably right. All I know is that I'm enjoying music more than I have in a long time.
As far as specific sonic impressions, I must, with apology, borrow from Pat McGinty because he was "right on" in his description of this amp: amazingly dynamic, killer bass, heavenly midrange, silken treble, and voices sounding sublime. Jeff Green and MikeCh also praised the sound of the RM-200 in their review and comments here, noting its quietness, frequency extension, dynamics, detail, midrange liquidity, and punchy bottom end and, for brevity, let me just say that my impressions echo those views. I would only add that the amp also provides a rich and refined sound in my system.
A unique capability of the RM-200 I should point out is that, although it's rated at 100 watts per channel, the manual specifies that it achieves 112 watts per channel into an 8 ohm load, 145 watts per channel into a 4 ohm load, and 125 watts per channel into a 2 ohm load; in other words, as the load gets more difficult, it acts more like a good solid state amp than a tube amp. I didn't know a tube amp could do this--are there any other tube amps that increase power with lower, more difficult loads?
I've had good luck in communicating with the manufacturer. Before I bought my RM-200, I called RAM Labs directly and got some good advice about my purchase (I don't know who I spoke to). Since I bought the amp, I've communicated several times directly with the amp's designer, Roger Modjesky, who has been most friendly and helpful. BTW, Roger, if you read this, can you respond (AA rules permitting) to Jeff’s comments about the RM-200, particularly his comparison of it to your previous designs?
Sorry I couldn’t temper my enthusiasm, but if you get a chance, listen to this amp in your system or a system you’re familiar with and I think you’ll understand. The RM-200 managed to abate my curiosity about flea amps and high efficiency speakers, at least for a while, and that’s quite an accomplishment. Take care and happy listening.
This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors:
Topic - REVIEW: Music Reference RM200 Amplifier (Tube) Review by Adam O at Audio Asylum - Adam O 22:39:32 10/29/00 (4)
You can not post to an archived thread.