VAN MEDEVOORT PA472

MJ01.11.2020

Power amplifiers

Back in 2013 I was given a CD with Amsterdam Symphony’ s New Year Concert. This recording, on JBR label, was conceived with Van Medevoort electronics and thus it immediately qualified for the amplifier review.  On the selections from Mozart’s Don Giovanni dramatic opera the PA472 did not try to recreate the event, rather it grabbed me with the seat and transported me to the event, to the gothic Grote Kerk van Naarden during the performance.

Funkce a forma

92%
Ergonomie
76%
Zvuk
60%
Zpracování

The PA472 is a purist’s dream. Van Medevoort devices (with the exception of flagship  products) share same chassis design, with black painted steel body – heavily perforated on top as there are no heatsinks outside – and rather simplistic aluminum black & white fascia. The compact dimensions of the PA472 make the amp quite ‘stiff’ so I was pleased that its top did not resonate like the one of Van Medevoort’s PAQs flagship power amplifier.

The PA472 is exceptionally quiet amplifer – I could not hear anything from the concentric driver of my TAD speakers, not even with my ear pressed to the grille. No hiss, no hum, just silence. No amplifier that I ever reviewed was so quiet. Therefore it was pitiful that the transformer inside the PA472 was rather noisy, especially when the amp was not in the rack. The purr of the transformer is not audible during listening, however.

The Van Medevoort PA472 is a dynamic class A dual mono amplifier, with separate power supplies for each stage. For Van Medevoort amplifiers were made for professionals at first (and found their homes in labels like Channel Classics) the goal was to have devices that can drive any speakers at any volume without suffering from dynamic and tonal limitations. Thus the output stage of the amplifier tracks the input signal and adapts itself for class A, while all other stages run in class A all the time. The company says that this helps maintain stable tonal balance regardless of dynamic stress.

On paper the PA472 reads really great with its nominal output of 250W per channel (8 ohms), a fantastic damping factor of 1200, and >104dB signal-to-noise ratio. Its back panel allows for routing the signal in through RCA or XLR inputs, and routing the amplified signal out through single speaker terminals.

The PA472 can be controlled by the CA470 preamplifier via a DC communication link on an RCA cinch. Other than that there is just a single black push button on its fascia to power on and off. I auditioned the PA472 in two modes – without a preamplifier, driven by variable output of my Accuphase SACD player and – alternatively – by variable output of the Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC, and with preamplifer, its CA470 stablemate.

Nízké frekvence

Váha
88
Výbušnost
91
Artikulace
87

Even without the preamplifier the PA472 is amazing. It reminded me of Bryston’s 28B-SST2 amplifier which had been a beast selling at 20k€. The Van Medevoort had thick and quiet background on which all the sounds were painted with striking contrast so the acoustic guitar and piano in Big Tears Fall (Nils Lofgren, Acoustic Live, Analogue Productions) were extremely natural with their subtle dynamic shifts. The PA472 did not project the sound into the room, rather as if it was trying to absorb you and let you melt in the music. Usually this is not what I am hearing when a preamplifier is left out from a combo. The Van Medevoort PA472 was as sweet and transparent as the best valve amplifiers but without any signs of coloration or distortion, and with much more authority and power. I would love to reach such a combination with triodes but they are too noisy to provide the dynamic range that I am looking for – the PA472 had no noise at all. As such the PA472 can be easily paired with a good DAC or other source, provided that it has a variable output. A passive attenuator is another solution if you have just 1-2 signal sources. This way one can keep purist signal path and save substantial amounts of money.

Čistota rozlišení

Detail
87
Vzduch
86
Transparentnost
86

A very slight softening of transients went hand in hand with the analogue presentation of the PA472. Now, I mean this in a positive way, the sound was free of any sharpness and could be listened to for hours without fatigue, yet it stayed highly dynamic and powerful.  The feeling of being embraced by music was further supported by round and punchy bass that could resonate really deep if the music asked for it but without any overhang and bloating. Spectrally everything was just all right with the PA472 and it should have been – how else a device can be used in the recording studio? I remind you that the descriptions above apply to the power amplifier sans any preamplifier – isn’t it intriguing?

Tonální věrnost

Témbr
85
Dynamika
88
Časování
88

Let’s be back to Amsterdam Symphonic and the New Year Concert that I mentioned in the preface to this review. Live opera provides loads of spatial clues for it is not a static performance. Performers are moving on the stage, and the live audience generates vast sonic envelope with coughs, rustles and other noises. The PA472 threw a huge soundstage at me, as wide and deep as the venue was. The acoustics were quite live and that helped the natural connections between the soloists and the orchestra. Considering the price of the PA472 there was nothing to complain about, though I still remember hearing even better soundstage through the Van Medevoort’s PAQs power amplifier.

Prostorovost

Trojrozměrnost
88
Šířka scény
92
Hloubka scény
90

How does the sound of the PA472 improve with the CA470 preamplifier? Well, you can learn this in our review of the Van Medevoort CA470. As much as I like the PA472 unaccompanied I had to acknowledge that the CA470 lifts up its performance even higher. The basic sonic character of the PA472 was entirely preserved, yet it became more refined, natural, colorful and effortless.

The Van Medevoort PA472 perhaps neither does look sexy nor expensive (and it is not expensive in the end) but it succeeds in playing music better than others. I could not find weak spots in its sound – highly recommended!

Note: The SOUND score relates to the combination of the PA472/CA470 for this is how the manufacturer designed it. The scores of other attributes relate to the power amplifier alone.

Cena v době recenze:129 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

AudioRanny, Praha, tel. +420 777 003 134

Připojené komponenty

  • Sources: Accuphase DP-720, Mark Levinson No.5101, Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC
  • Amplifiers: TAD M-2500, Leak Stereo 130
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: AudioQuest Dragon Bass | Zero, Krautwire Numeric Digital, Krautwire MAX-S, Ansuz Signalz C2, Ansuz Signalz D2, Accuphase RCA, AudioQuest Carbon
  • Loudspeakers:  TAD Evolution One E1, Sonus Faber Gravis I
  • Power conditioning: Block Audio Snakeblock, Shunyata Research Denali, Synergistic Research Atmosphere Level 2, Nordost Qv2, Qk1 and QPoint, Stromtank S-1000 and S-2500 Quantum

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