balanced neutrality (BN), a revered name in the cut-throat hifi business, is going to launch their GE2008 reference mono power tube amp next month, said to be the most controversial product in the history of the company as it uses a specially made output transformer that would eliminate corrupted power supply as in the past.

2007 has not been a good year for BN. two of their premier products, the ATAN MONGOL Reference 3 preamp (designed and engineered by its deputy designer, najee) and the LINGAM stereo power amp both didn't fair very well with the reviewers, with some calling it a "total disgrace" to such a reputable brand. worldwide sales tumbled and chief designer and founder, andrew andy bladedius (AAB) is said to have been instructed by the shareholders to "make or break" with the new GE2008 reference mono. obviously, AAB's head is on the chopping board if GE2008 fails to bring in the sales.

traditionally, the strength of BN products has always been its balanced power supply , allowing a fair and just distribution of power through what AAB called the NEP (New Equal Power) technology first initiated by its predecessor. but poor and substandard materials used in the output transformer has resulted in badly corrupted power supply that has resulted in mediocre sound that subsequently tarnished BN's reputation as a premier manufacturer of hi-end hifi.

connecting the 50kg behemoth GE2008 is not straight-forward as you may need to use some grease to lubricate the amp's output taps which is very tight to unscrew - 4 ohm, 8 ohm, 16 ohm depending on your speaker's impedance. once the grease is applied, eveything is smooth as a breeze, which is typical of BN's gear in the past.

sound-wise the 200-watter GE2008 is loud but ultimately lacking true power and finesse. it is like an empty vessel that makes the most noise. the noise floor is not clean and imaging is blur, blur and blur. but soundstaging is impressive, indicating the kind of investment BN dumped into the GE2008 to create a 3-Dimensional stage that is truly panaromic and breath-taking. but detractors could argue that this kind of gigantic soundstage can be a tad artificial and larger-than-life.

in short, i am far from impressed as the GE2008's sound is, at best, compromised due to the uneven mixture of gold, silver and copper wirings inside the amp. the 60% gold is said to create a dense but very lazy sound, while the 25% silver gives agile bass and great highs but just not enough of percentage, whereas the 15% copper composition is robust-sounding but insignificant to give its own signature sound.

as i write this review, fierce competitor, dynamic active power (DAP), is also planning to release it own version of GE2008 ref mono, giving BN a run of its money. DAP's implementation is vastly different from BN's in terms of transformer topology. DAP's advocates regenerative power supply (ROCKET) to give a clean and corruption-free supply to the 8 units of 2020 power tubes. pundits think it is the best time for DAP to snatch back the pie from BN.

in conclusion, BN's GE2008 is only an empty promise. it is glamorous but ultimately unfulfilling sonically. we at desirable audio predict the downfall of AAB as the chief designer.

6 comments:

mk liong said...

Wow the Election bugs has gotten to you too.

Im happy because most of my audiophiles friends thought that election is a term coined by HP to describe a certain high pitch note when the singer scream.....

yap said...

Maggie,

I like the Dynamic active Power{DAP}more because of its use of ROCKET technology.You get a more honest ,clean sound..

wkyeo said...

Certainly you could see why the people in east coast prefer MOON audio.For peple in Kinta valley and Penang I think they want more power from their hi fi thats why the prefer Rocket driven Dybamic active power[DAP] hey even you fellow blogger JEFFerson OOINar also has move over

Anonymous said...

Fellow Audiophiles,

As a modder, after dickering with both BN and DAP Power Amps for long enough, I have come to the conclusion that it is not so much the design topology of the amps, as much as the balance of the components used, that causes the distortions we hear.

What is needed is to increase the value of the MCA resistors and PGRM diodes in the mix, and a swap of approximately half the UMNO-sourced capacitors in favour of PAS Labs capacitors to balance out the sound.

As I see it, it is the overwhelming percentage of UMNO capacitors in the BN amp that has influenced the delivered BN sound. It is the overuse of UMNO capacitors that has overwhelmed the sound of the resistors and diodes, rendering many to think these components have no sound at all!

As appealing as Barang Alternatif Audio's advertising is, and the appeal of the DAP sound to many audiophiles, the DAP is not an amp for all systems. At its core is still the PAS Labs capacitor, and paradoxically, the fault with DAP amps lies in it's over-reliance on the PAS Labs capacitors which again flavors the sound in a direction that will have less mass appeal.

By virtue of BN's overwhelming purchasing power, control of their advertising in the mass media is absolute and there will still be far too many purchasers sold on the BN advertisements. On that score, choice of DAP amps in systems driving the Pizzicato Pinang speaker may invariably tilt the sound to one dominated by the UMNO-caps instead, exacerbating the problem.

Alas, the joys of high-end audio. It’s all about balance in the choice of parts …

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

mk,
falsetto?

yeo,
i like your MOON audio, cool name ;-)

hi anonymous,
wow, your knowledge dwarfs me and i like your style of writing ;-)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, that's a very wise thinking. Many desperate for total change but what future upgrades has to offer still "unsure". trial & error is not good.

We still need BN but with upgraded capacitor..i.e V-cap and Mundorf and no cap in signal path should be alright..