This didnít stop me from being able to listen to these amplifiers though, although the clear interaction with other devices in my listening setup did worry me somewhat. The character of these amplifiers can best be described as accurate and deep in the low end. Much like many other class-D amplifiers they offer excellent control and punch in the lower regions of the audio-spectrum. The mid-range and treble left a whole lot to be desired though; these amplifiers turned my very broad and open sounding loudspeakers into something best described as a í80-s hifi-set. Lots of detail, but no definition, with plenty of fresh treble, which wasnít present in the original recording however. But the most disappointing was the fact that the stereo image was flat and narrow, and kept the sound inside the loudspeaker, rather than spreading a broad stereo image across the room.
Frankly I was baffled by this abysmal performance. My loudspeakers are normally driven by a class-D amplifier of a different design, which does manage to paint a proper stereo image. And to be honest I expected the NuForce Reference 8 to fare a bit better, considering the rave reviews it has gotten elsewhere. So I decided to lend the amplifiers to a good friend of mine. This person has over 25-years of experience with designing and building loudspeakers and is always able to accurately pinpoint the flaws in a system, or a component thereof, hence Iíve come to value and appreciate his opinion.
I wasnít surprised when he came to the same conclusions as I did and couldnít quite understand how others couldíve written rave reviews about these mediocre performers. And to make matters worse, he too was unable to use his tuner or TV by using an antenna, which shows that my experience wasnít an isolated case. Hooking the amplifiers up at another friendís house, whoís also using a tube preamplifier, quickly reminded me of my own experience. Again there was a clearly audible noise coming from the loudspeakers and that same artificial edge in the treble I heard before.
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