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REVIEW: cyrus brenneman stereo 30 Integrated Amplifier (Tube)

Model: stereo 30
Category: Integrated Amplifier (Tube)
Suggested Retail Price: $1500
Description: all tube stereo integrated amplifier
Manufacturer URL: cyrus brenneman
Model Picture: View

Review by digiphobe on November 12, 2008 at 15:36:21
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for the stereo 30

I've owned this int/amp for 4 months now and would like to share my impressions.
If you haven't heard of Cyrus Brenneman it's because he doesn't seem to advertise outside of his website - a google search turns up little in the way of information. I'd spotted this mysterious amp on A-gon and curiousity got the better of me, so I had to aquire it. First impression out of the box is that the build quality is workman like; maybe a kit- built look to it if you will. Parts quality seems to be above average and those Electr-print trannies look the part; four in all, including a choke which is not common. Tubes include four el84's, two 6u8's, and a 5ar4 rectifier which again is not common in modern valve amps.
Cyrus advertises this amp as having a wide bandwidth and low distortion. This is no hype as you'd not expect a small amp to have such deep bass, drive and pace, ecspecially one rated at 15 watts. The Stereo 30's delicate and detailed sonics sort of reminds me of an Italian single ended pentode amp that I owned for a period in that mid band and trebble are nicely extended and slightly airy without getting in your face or turning hard. The Stereo 30 of course is a push-pull design and will keep up nicely when the music starts to pace along.
I've compared the 30 to my Naim Nait 5i, which is another high value over achiever. The one area where the Nait surpassed the 30 is in the midbass punch (no surprise),but when it came to fine detail and extension the 30 was more wide bandwidth. In other areas of performance it's really just a matter of taste as the Nait is slightly foreward in perspective and the 30 is slightly laid back. My harbeth compact 7's are also a bit laid back, so the overal sound is..............laid back. This might be a little much for some, but I quite like it! I can see some people mating this amp with French speakers like triangle or JM Lab and realizing they're in hog heaven, I personaly like the Brit perspective on hall effect.
A note on power: My speakers are and easy load and at 88db I can achieve moderate load volumes that will easily fill my midsize listening room. I can imagine someone wanting more volume for a larger room which can easily be achieved by going with a speaker of a 91db or greater sensitivity.
Bottom line here is that I'm happy with this amplifier, it being a sonic treat. It doesn't look as pretty as some of the similarly priced bling-bling amps comming out of the far east, but I doubt any of them sound nearly as good.

Product Weakness: Looks maybe?
Product Strengths: Sound

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: Nait 5i
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): none
Sources (CDP/Turntable): AudiaFlight cd2
Speakers: Harbeth compact seven III
Cables/Interconnects: clear day shotgun
Music Used (Genre/Selections): classic rock, pop, jazzzzzzz
Room Size (LxWxH): 13ft x 15ft x 8ft
Room Comments/Treatments: none
Time Period/Length of Audition: about 4 months now
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): none
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: cyrus brenneman stereo 30 Integrated Amplifier (Tube) - digiphobe 15:36:21 11/12/08 (0)


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