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It's a curious fact. Valve fanciers delight in the variety and particular identities and origins of their gain devices. They skillfully debate particular flavours and vintages and roll tubes for specific results. Perhaps because they're not rollable unless they appear as socketed opamps—and thus hardly ever as the final output devices—to solid statesmen and women, the generic term 'transistor' suffices. How many discussions have you read about the relative merits of Mosfet versus Jfet versus BJT versus IGTB? Where are the discussions about Sanken or Toshiba, Motorola or Semi On, National Semiconductor, Ixys, Exicon and so forth? Clearly, transistors exist in as many aromas and permutations as vacuum tubes do. Yet anecdotal data about various transistor sound signatures are most sparse except for ex Stereophile writer Sam Tellig's laconic "Mosfet mist". Whilst prospective P-1000 shoppers just learnt that the Gold Note champions bipolars, far fewer will have resultant sonic expectations than they would when faced with a choice between a 300B versus 6SN7 versus 12AX7 preamp.
A few words first on operationals and build. Like prior Gold Note encounters, the P-1000 felt built like a tank and was clearly finished to a high level. The cleanly legible non-glossy display proved child's play to navigate with the unified push/rotate controller. A long push awakened the deck from standby and fired up the defeatable display. Short twists moved a white outline from function to function. Once selected by push to turn this outline red, the function could be adjusted rotationally; perfectly intuitive. This showed balance to be a Quad-style tilt function. It increased the gain in one channel whilst simultaneously reducing it in the other. Surprisingly lacking was a facility for input naming. One is stuck with the basic XLR 1 to RCA 5 convention where our Wyred4Sound STP SE Stage II or the just departed Gryphon Diablo 120 offer the full array of alphanumeric characters to customize the source identifiers to personal preference.


Where the Wyred offers two each RCA and XLR outputs active simultaneously to accommodate bi-amping and subwoofing in any combination, the P-1000 was very disappointingly limited to just one each. But then it retaliated with a gorgeously contoured full-metal remote wand where Wyred give us a somewhat cheesy plastic jobbie. On that count, the American had more substance, the Italian more flair.


With the arrival of Gryphon's Mojo S review loaner below, I had an ideal monitor speaker candidate to investigate Maurizio's boost function. Whilst 5dB proved excessive on so capable a performer, 2.5dB was actually perfect to enhance the weightiness of ambient fare with significant first-octave content. In fact, this gentler bass boost created better—translation: truly seamless—results than tacking on our Zu Submission subwoofer even with a 10Hz 4th-order low-pass to avoid undue bleed above 40Hz. In short, this feature proved superior to a $5'000 external active bass box; and very easily defeated without selling anything off at a loss.


The moral of this miniature detour? Don't underestimate the usefulness of this feature on smaller speakers. I'd previously seen and admired it on Simon Lee's April Music Stello 100MkII preamp where a selectable analog bass boost function links to just the headphone port. The benefits to a Sennheiser HD800 proved significant. One thus ought to applaud Maurizio Aterini's wit for including said feature on a line output as a 2-stage affair. It's an unexpected find in a modern preamplifier but is eminently practical just like the very broad balance control. We might perhaps translate that as not hairshirt puritanism but properly luxurious finely tailored Italian silk shirtism? Whilst somewhat inelegant in the wording, It would make the point. So let's.


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