Mono & Stereo received the new power amplifier from Teddy Pardo for a review. Unpacking the "little" amplifier was a simple task. The visual looks pretty darn solid and flawless. The RCA sockets are from WBT and so are the speaker terminals.
The reviewed sample was already burnt in from the factory, but I decided to let it settle in for a week just to be sure. I did though noticed a little change in the soundstage during this week. This could be also due to warming up. The ST60 is as its name suggest a 60 watt amplifier based on chip amps.
I hooked ST60 up with the Audio Note M6 pre amplifier and this combination showed to be rather good despite the AN costing ten fold the ST60 if not more. What I've found with the ST60 is that despite being small and not costly it would shine even more when using high end gear as a front end. In short terms, it would just grow big and grand when matching it with top end gear. It didn't bottleneck.
First up is the Manfred Honeck - Strauss: Tone Poems - Don Juan - Death & Transfiguration - Merry Pranks with the track Don Juan. Here the ST60 started the show with an excellent dynamics and headroom for the start up sequence. Soundstage had the same scale as with bigger power amps. Dynamic contrast could be better, but for the share size and wattage the ST60 did a splendid job. When the violins went into the quiet passages the ST60 had no problems layering the micro dynamics. Its only when things get a bit heated and crazy the ST60 lost a bit of the focus. But I'm quite sure that matching the ST60 with something a bit easier to drive speakers would solve this...
Moving one to Sonny Rollins - tenor madness. One of his best recordings in my book... Full of drive and hearth. The ST60 was really shinning with this album. The drums was placed solidly in the soundstage, the contrabass was very distinctive and I could easy follow the bass notes. Something the ST60 is very good at is bass. Its firm, detailed and very natural. Sonny´s sax had that oldish sound to it with ton of layering and details. If Sony moved, the ST60 moved with him. The top end was very smooth and had that old glow as it should. Piano notes were a delight. Soft but yet full of micro dynamics. The ST60 with Sonny had me smiling...
John Scofield & Pat Metheny - I Can See your house from here had the ST60 showing of in its midrange. The amplifier presented a very transparent soundstage. The guitars were dead on crisp and very smooth. The two guitars were as carved in rock with the drummers slightly in the centre leaning a bit to the right. Just as it was recorded. Dynamics on this album is very good. ST60 delivered the punch of the drummer very realistic. Combined with the smooth and crisply bass notes and guitars it was a joy to listen. I've heard very big and expensive amplifiers doing this soooo wrong and with to much focus on the top. But not the ST60. It served the albums as intended. BIG thumbs up!!!
Sonny Boy Williamson - keep it to yourself. An absolutely awesome live recording where Sonny was on top of his time. The intro where Sonny was presenting the number about to be played was presented from the ST60 with such a feeling it had me thinking of good triodes. The first notes played had me crank up the volume to near the live level. Joyful was the first thing that hit me. I was drawn in to the music. And isn't this what its all about? I totally lost focus on noticing the details. It was that good! Old classics can really sound good! And the ST60 was up for the task with no questions asked!
Jimmie Lee Robinson - Remember Me album is what i call real blues. It has a mixture of boogie and southern blues to it. SEE SEE BABY is one of the boogie tracks. Its a bit slim in the bottom, but thats not the ST60 fault, thats just the way the recording is! But its still a bloody good album and I was having a blast with the ST60. The soundstage is LARGE and LOUD! Yet without any harshness or other annoying factors. Just pure blues boogie with a very high boogie factor... Whats not to like?`:o)
Lets give this ST60 something to work for... Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II is one of my favourite oldies. Very powerfuly presented by the ST60 even at very high volume. The 60 watt really goes a long way here. The soundstage was HUGE and very impact full. The drummers playing around together with the keyboards craziness was a blast. High notes came out very lively. Crispy and very detailed. Drums were punching away with grand dynamic, vocals and the rest of the band was right here. And i mean right here. ST60 was silent when asked and loud when asked. That little black amp has nothing little about its sound! And I really tried to stress it to the max with this albums. But the levels made me give up before the ST60 did!
Jacintha - Here's to Ben. That woman got the voice. A voice with soul and beauty. Playing the track Georgia on my mind via the ST60 was breathtaking beautiful. Here timbre of the voice came alive with such a rich and fullness, that moved me again in my thought about spending insanely amount of hard earned cash on power amplifiers when the ST60 could do this as good as it did.
Its was easy to listen to, it gave the a wall of sound the experience. The depth this little sucker could present was absolute and among the better amplifiers. It was dead silent in the background. Yet full of dynamic and drive. Its a bit upfront, but rather that than a laid back play style. I rather get the music towards me than away from me. It just makes more sense in my book.
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 / Bernstein · New York Philharmonic Orchestra is such a dramatic album. Its recorded live and is among the most involving recordings out there presenting the Symphony No. 5. Its can get the most amplifiers out there no matter cost to loose control. The dynamic range is on the borderline crazy and will make your amplifier work no matter wattage. The ST60 as long as I didn't go for the live level experience did the job very very well. Soundstage was on pair with my reference amplifier. Its ability to go from silent to loud was stunning. Its a darn good little amp. I could wish for more headroom on this album, but then again most amps out there would have had a hard time with this album on regular sensitive speakers. None the less the ST60 presented this album with glory and realism. So much information on this album and so much air around the information when played via the ST60 were further more joyful.
Teddy Pardo really stands out among the flock of chip amps. Its easy to hear that he did an awesome job on the power supply for the ST60. Its not just another chip amp, but its a very well build chip amp. And the 60 watt sounds like a hell of a lot more. Its a bold little amplifier. Pair it with a good tube pre amplifier and you will be set for a long time. And paired with the correct speakers with a linear impedance and the ST60 will give you a experience with sound stage and dynamics you wont find any were at that price. Its was darn fast. The bass was solid and very refined. The midrange was transparent and full. Top end was crispy and smooth. In total this little amp has a lot going for it.
It was a joy to play around with. And I recommend it for any sort of music.
Text: Kenneth Jensen, Senior Editor
Output power: 60W;
Speaker impedance: 4-16Ω
Mains Supply: 220-240V or 110-120V
Dimensions: 9x19x34 cm (3.5x7.5x13.3")
Teddy Pardo LTD
Hankin 10, Hod Hasharon
Tel: +972 9 742 8228
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org