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Old 02-22-2011, 05:43 PM
PHC1 PHC1 is offline
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Thumbs up Dan D'Agostino's Momentum Monoblocks

Had a chance to drop by and listen to the Dan D'Agostino's Momentum Monoblocks. What a treat that was.

I have to say, I've never heard Wilson Sasha sound better. I've heard quite a few combos with these speakers including my own ex-pair with the Lamm monoblocks but this was truly something special. (Rest of the gear was an ARC Ref 5 preamp, ARC CD8 and DAC 8, SME20/2, Transparent cabling throughout)

Starting with the aesthetic aspect of these amps, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say but to me they look gorgeous. From their contrasting copper side heatsinks, gorgeous machined and polished aluminum chassis to the wickedly attractive meters that obviously drew their inspiration from the finest Swiss timepieces. (I love and lust over fine watches too...) There are absolutely no visible screws anywhere on the sides or the top.

The amps ran barely warm to the touch with their venturi design (instead of conventional fins) and copper's superior thermal conductivity properties. This is a big plus in my book as lately many of the amps that I have come across either run too warm, too noisy with their cooling fans or worse, both... (The MC2301s were not too bad to the touch but did warm up the room in a few hours time.)

Wiping the drool from my chin and getting over the jewel like precision, build quality and looks, I finally sat down to listen. I decided to let my dealer spin some vinyl for me and first up was Hugh Masekela's Hope album, one I am thoroughly familiar with.

When than the music began, I realized this has to be the absolute best solid state amplifier I have ever heard.... Well, it's either all the amp's doing or there was wickedly good synergy with the tubed Ref 5 preamp and the rest of the system. There was absolutely no trace of grain, sterility or leanness coming out of the speakers. It was just the opposite, velvet, liquid, seductive midrange which was expressive, captivating, engaging and MOVING! (This is not something I would usually associate with Krell but this is a different amp from a different time and and a different company. Perhaps Dan has sat down, re-thought and re-engineered what it is to have extremely wide bandwidth, solid state punch in the gut down low that Krell was famous for but combine that with a more meatier, fuller, more human presentation but I am getting ahead of myself...)

Next thing I noticed was the "texture" and the rich "harmonic content" the system was able to recreate through Sasha speakers. I am used to the rich "harmonic content" and "full body"/"meat on the bones" of musical reproduction from my Lamm days and I accept nothing less!!! These Momentum amps had it in spades! Bravo, that is also something that I normally would not expect from Krell (but once again, Momentum monoblocks are a different breed.

Dynamic prowess and slam down low was nothing short of jaw dropping. I thought out loud that "Sasha finally met it's match and a partnering amp that is truly worthy..." My dealer nodded in agreeance. Again, the very dynamic music recorded on that album came through the speakers with such sheer force and effortlessness, these amps are simply BEASTS!!! ( 300w at 8 doubling down every step to 1200W at 2 ohms !!!) Very robust power supply, no surprise given Dan's background. Again, the texture of the drums and the subtle details that usually go unnoticed in lesser systems truly impressed me. The Momentum/ARC/SME/Sasha combo brought out the macro and micro details in the music that I have not heard up until today from that particular album.

Not exactly sure if the incredible imaging, the three dimensional and palpable presentation is all amps or more of the attributes of the REF 5 tubed preamp but whatever the case may be, the Momentum monoblocks did not get in the way of the "air" recorded in the music. WOW, a truly holographic presentation. I was very impressed.

I'd say Dan is really on the right path this time and has designed/produced a pair of monoblocks that people will be talking about for quite some time to come.

After today's listening session I came to two realizations. Just how much I am lusting over the Momentum Monoblocks (a pair of monoblocks that are truly worth drooling over for more reasons than just sound and just how much I miss my SASHAS!!!

Some crappy iPhone pics...

PS. Check out the brilliant idea of creating rolling cases with handles for the amps, what a refreshing idea as opposed to the bulky ugly crates and carton boxes that everyone has trouble storing out of sight. These look like suitcases and can be stored much easier on the space and the eyes.
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Last edited by PHC1; 02-22-2011 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:51 PM
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Talk about a retro look... Can't say I'm a fan of the styling - too 1950's switchboard for me... never heard 'em so I'll take your word on how they sound.
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:54 PM
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Nice review Serge If you thought the Sophia 3s did not mesh well with your 2-channel room, do you think the Sashas might have a similar problem? If I remember correctly, it sounded like the S3s were too close to the sidewalls as you had to set up the speakers on the short wall. Anyway, it sounds like you had fun listening to the Sashas with the Momentum monos.
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:59 PM
Tonepub Tonepub is offline
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I think he had Wilson at CES and it sounded awfully good there as well...
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vesuvius View Post
Talk about a retro look... Can't say I'm a fan of the styling - too 1950's switchboard for me... never heard 'em so I'll take your word on how they sound.
These amps speak to me on many levels. The style and design combine many elements that I find appealing. Stylistically, IMHO, the contrasting look and combination of copper and aluminum is very nice for starters, the clean, clutter free look devoid of ugly, cheap screws, the usual razor sharp heatsinks replaced by a more modern venturi cooling design, the gorgeous meter that was inspired by a Breguet watch... I really like the execution of this amp, neither diminutive nor huge, neither overly flashy nor bland and industrial looking, it combines elements of old and modern in a very tasteful way. I'd be willing to be that some of the non-audiophile designers out there would approve of this look, even if they don't exactly understand why one needs a $45k pair of amplifiers.... But, that's my opinion. Some will like it, others may not, it's all good.

Last edited by PHC1; 02-22-2011 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmalak View Post
Nice review Serge If you thought the Sophia 3s did not mesh well with your 2-channel room, do you think the Sashas might have a similar problem? If I remember correctly, it sounded like the S3s were too close to the sidewalls as you had to set up the speakers on the short wall. Anyway, it sounds like you had fun listening to the Sashas with the Momentum monos.
I indeed had a lot of fun listening to this serious setup. I do think my current 2 channel room is not quite big enough to let the speakers like Sasha breathe properly and give me 100% of what they are capable of but... I do have a much larger theater room where they would absolutely sing. My mind is working overtime right now.
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonepub View Post
I think he had Wilson at CES and it sounded awfully good there as well...
I didn't follow the CES this year very closely but I do recall Debby Wilson was impressed by them when she heard them. I'd be curious what else others had to say for sure.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:57 PM
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BlueChiaro BlueChiaro is offline
Hear to listen...

 
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Serge, do you know if that setup is there to stay for a little bit, or was it just for you?
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:01 PM
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Serge, do you know if that setup is there to stay for a little bit, or was it just for you?
Gone today Robert but I have a feeling they'll be baaa-aaaack.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:30 PM
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I wonder if Dan will come out with a matching preamp soon.
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