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By contrast the Tsakiridis box is a plain Jane and lacquered in a subdued anthracite grey which actually does look kinda fresh. Differences obviously go beyond skin deep to fully justify the price differential. Filigreed point-to-point wiring from Jadis goes printed circuit board, the complex output transformers whose schematics and windings the French take pride in are scale down. The Greek contenders play it altogether more demure.
With that covered, the Artemis+ does have things to offer. The power pentodes can run in pentode or triode mode. Whilst the latter costs power—45wpc pentode power turns 28wpc triode juice—it comes closer to purist valve notions and many aficionados favor it. Negative feedback is adjustable from 6 to 9dB. Audioplan tends to recommend the higher value for "the best compromise between power, distortion and speaker control". Easy loads with benign impedance curves could favor lower feedback. I was simply curious to what extent these adjustments might telegraph.

In front of the tubes and aside from the toggles for output mode and NFB one sees two meters. Those simply confirm bias current for the output bottles. Whilst the circuit itself is auto-biased, a 45mA reading after warm-up confirms that the 6550s are operating to spec. Once these values are no longer reached, it's time for a retube.

The Alexander preamp sports 4 x RCA and 1 x XLR inputs. A phono module for the #6 input is planned but wasn't available yet for the review. Relays handle input switching and in conjunction with a motor-driven Alps pot enable remote control. A tape out and variable outputs on RCA and XLR complete the socketry. The display confirms the thermal warm-up, the chosen input and volume. The included universal wand failed to impress however.

The up'n'down toggles on the front allow shuttling through the inputs manually. Whilst taking some getting used, they looked nice and definitely worked. To integrate these loaners into my rig was pleasantly simple. I require no more than two inputs so having five on hand was opulently excessive. Speaker cable connections weren't confusing either as the Artemis+ only sprouts one pair. Forget about discrete 4/8Ω taps. This in fact seems to be a more and more common trend this days. Before we get going, an admission. I really dig valve amps. And no, I won't mount a posh pulpit and start preaching the gospel of glow. All technologies have equal merit. All allow for excellent amplifiers. It's simply that when budgets shrink, developers must embrace compromises. From personal experience I have an easier time with the effects of valve-based sonic compromises than with those transistors tend to incur.