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TAS Golden Ear Award ~ Ypsilon Phaethon

The Absolute Sound's 2017 Golden Ear Awards

Ypsilon Phaethon integrated amplifier

According to my Greek mythology crib notes, Phaethon was the son of the sun god Helios. A fitting label, since Ypsilon, the premium, near-mythic Greek electronics manufacturer sought to graft electronic DNA from its flagship Aelius monoblocks and PST-100 mk2 pre into its sole integrated amp.

The result is a 110Wpc, hybrid, line-level preamp and pure analog amplifier that uses only three active gain stages - two of them with low-noise 6H30 valves operating in Class A for the input and driver stages.

The Phaethon also features a unique in-house-built transformer attenuator. But specs alone don't explain the alchemy i'm hearing. I've noted some pretty sumptuous feats of engineering in this elite segment, but few have captured the earthy sense of "being there" like the Phaethon.

It does this with wide color and velvety textural contrasts, micro-detailing, as well as vise-like grip. Construction in Herculean - seventy heroic pounds of satin-finished aluminum and heat-sinking that would take the demi-god himself to lug up Mt. Olympus.

Includes a remote control, plus four inputs with a standard 47k-ohm phono. (Review forthcoming)

- Neil Gader

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