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Kaplan's Korner

June 20, 2018

Summertime Sprouts with Possibilities

It's the PS Audio Sprout 100 integrated amplifier!

THE PS AUDIO SPROUT 100 integrated amplifier showed up at Record Collector News World Headquarters for a visit. It costs a mere $599 and puts out 100 watts into 4 ohms, 50 watts into 8 ohms, has a headphone jack, Bluetooth, a DAC capable of DSD 128 and PCN 384/24. And it has an extremely decent MM Phono stage. Plus, a remote that feels pretty good in the hand. Oh, and it’s quite handsome too. MY WIFE LOVES THE WAY IT LOOKS. (That’s code for you can get away with setting it up in the living room if you want.) I dig the way it looks too! I couldn’t wait to hook it up and give it a listen. But to be honest I wasn’t expecting much.

First, I pulled out about $6,000 worth of amp and preamp and stuck the $599 Sprout between a pair of Legacy Classic speakers on the output side and about $12,000 worth of MC cartridge, tonearm, turntable, phono cable and phono stage on the input side of the Sprout using the analog input. Not a fair test at all. I was setting up the Sprout to fail. It was surprising easy to listen to. Very non-fatiguing. Not grainy or crappy at all. This $600 unit held its own.

Next, I hooked the Sprout up to the Thiel 2.3 speakers and I had the SOTA Star Sapphire with the SME IV arm and Hana EH cartridge going directly into the phono stage via the inputs marked “vinyl” in the Sprout. Very nice sound, people. I really like that MM phono stage. The Hana EH cartridge sounds amazing for its $475 price, and amazing comes through with the Sprout 100. Normally I can’t wait to get stuff like this out of my main system and go back to my bliss. But the Sprout stayed in the system for days and I had a blast playing record after record.

Finally, we hooked the Sprout up in my son’s room to the Linn Keleigh speakers and the Rega Planar 3 with Ortofon 2M Blue going directly into the Sprout’s MM phono stage marked vinyl. And that’s where it’s going to stay. It’s replacing a vintage Yamaha Natural Sound CA-400 integrated amp that we thought sounded pretty good. It does. But not compared to the Sprout. This is the new vintage integrated amp. And with Bluetooth and all those other features this could be the entry level integrated that you hang on to for a long time while you upgrade the components around it. And yes, my son is taking the Sprout with him when he leaves for college this fall. I know I will miss you.
You too son.

THE SHOW ORANGE COUNTY

THE LA AUDIO SHOW CANCELLED itself a month before showtime and some of those vendors decided to try to salvage something by doing THE Show Orange County instead. It only took the RCN News Crew two hours to check out the two floors of rooms at THE Home Entertainment Show in Orange County on Saturday June 2. Not as much fun as we had hoped for. The rooms sounded pretty lousy for the most part. Probably not the vendors fault as they were pretty small rooms. Bummer though.

Keep your records out of the sun on those summertime road trips

Keep your records out of the sun on those summertime road trips

What’s not a bummer is record collecting on summertime driving vacation. Some of my favorite finds were brought home from vacation. I keep one of those insulated pizza-type bags in the car to keep the sun off the records. You want to keep exposure to heat to a minimum, so make sure you protect those babies and get them back home and out of the car ASAP. Never leave records in a hot car. Kids or dogs either, of course. Chocolate too. Get them OUT FAST.






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