Jim Merod Positive Feedback Online Issue 41

“What’s with this pairing, Robert? How come you’ve hooked your great little Adagios to those sexy wood-enclosed thing-a-ma-jigs?” Robert looked at me with that look of bemused inscrutability that I’ve sometimes accused him of offering in lieu of explanation. “Why not,” he enthused, “they sound fantastic together.”

And so they do. And that’s the bottom line of my beflusterment upon finding that kindred listeners truly are (against other odds) partners in the audio crime of hearing with acute similarity. And that’s the inner truth of my long listening months with these genuinely powerful, truly musical Red Dragon amplifiers.

Therefore, my covert confession: that I’ve indulged myself in far too much listening with (and “to” or “through”) these beautiful creatures—and the Red Dragons ARE, in fact, “creatures” of a different sonic sort, given their raw animal power—more like panthers than somewhat scary old “dragons.” But I digress for the sake of truth-telling here because I find these amps, strapped with Kubla-Sosna’s Emotion speaker cables, to be magical.

the Red Dragons own a degree of musical and sonic transparency in the service of a necessarily “tactile” bulk of harmonic layering. Together they create an illusion of being in the room “with” the men and women who made it. Among audio illusions that conspire to craft the sense of (re-created) “musical reality,” this one is the most fragile but satisfying.

…what the Red Dragons offer—both relatively, in comparison to these and other refined amps; and absolutely without the invidious tug of comparison—is a touch of musical magic which sounds and feels utterly right in the subjective but totally palpable “there-ness” of music in real space and time.

…Therefore, give me these Red Dragons. They combine the most virtuous tactile qualities of tube audio reproduction with the drop dead no nonsense “dig all the rhythm out of the basement” of the strongest, most seductive non-tube amplifiers you can reach for…

At $6000 a pair, the Red Dragons are not door-buster, cyber-market bargains. But, they’re worth every dollar of their price in an audio universe that boasts $6000 plus one meter pair cables, and, alas, power conditioners that approach (and surpass) that price point. Do I want to keep these teasingly crafted softly-glowing boxes? Yup.

I dare anyone on a restricted budget, now de rigueur in our dried-up economic cosmos, to build a world-class audio system, beginning with superior amplification, to find a better price/value ratio than these hot rod audio engines with their sweetly purring silence locked on music brought to truthful glory for those who truly listen. Jim Merod