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REVIEW: California Audio Labs MCA 2500 Amplifier (SS) Review by Karl W. at Audio Asylum

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This amplifier replace two Aragon amps, one 8008X3 and one 8002. I purchased it mainly at my wife's insistance on being able to turn on the system with the remote control. There was a guy selling one for a great price, so I made the deal. I was really quite happy with the Aragon amps after having auditioned quite a lot of amplifers and concluding that to obtain significantly better performance was going to cost so much as to not be worthwhile. Well at almost double the retail of the amps that it replaced what I got was significantly better sound. The amplifier is very large and powerful at 500 watts a channel times 5. Upon seeing it, one's first impression is that it is a brute. That could not be further from the truth. The most remarkable thing about this amp is the delicacy and finesse with which the music is rendered. If I placed the amplifer out of sight and asked anyone to guess at the power rating, I am sure no one would ever guess that such a large amplifier was producing the sound. The only other amplifiers that I have heard that were extremely powerful and as detailed have been ones by Boulder. What also is evident is the increase in detail. I have a few reference recordings that I have used for years to demo equipment. What was surprising was that I experienced the effect of hearing new information on these recordings. This was totally unexpected as I have used these cds to audtiion a great deal of high-end gear. The bass reponse on the California Audio Labs MCA 2500 is also the best that I have ever heard. It is powerful but not at alllllllll slow! Usually when someone remarks that a large amplifier has very good bass reponse my first impression is that it is slow and overpowering bass. Again, this could not be further from the truth. It is a true engineering feat to produce such tight and power and especially musical bass while maintaing the delicate highs and detailed midrange. It has been done before, but not at this price. There are a few of these amplifiers around on the used market. I would advise anyone that is in the market for a new amplifier to negotiate a deal on one. Often because of their size, 17 iches wide by 24 inchs deep and 11 inches high, they do not sell well so you may be able to make a deal. But the pay off in sound quality is worth the Zero wife acceptance factor. My wife remarked that it is hugh!, but she loves being able to turn it on from the sofa. At 7500.00, these amp would be a steal even if it was a 2 channel amp. You may not need this much power but the amp is a worthy purchase soley for the added detail and transparency it will bring to any system. Unless you own a very high-end amplifer over 10000.00, this amplifier almost certainly will offer you better performance.

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Topic - REVIEW: California Audio Labs MCA 2500 Amplifier (SS) Review by Karl W. at Audio Asylum - Karl W. 09:52:56 05/27/01 ( 0)