PATHOS Éthos

MJ06.10.2015

Integrated amplifiers

Another integrated Pathos amplifier, Logos, was reviewed by Audiodrom few years ago. I noted its sense for robust reality and the 'be there' presentation, however, I missed a bit of delicacy and tiny details. The Éthos is much more advanced in this sense.

Function and form

83%
Ease of use
76%
Sound
97%
Appearance

The edged exterior of the Éthos does not provide any clues about how to control the amplifier. Like with the Logos to operate the Éthos is a hit and miss trial and error affair. The both recessed buttons on the front panel are diffcult to access and they carry no marks or descriptions. The remote controller (by the way very elegant slick piece of metal) will not help a lot as it laso has just anonymous buttons. Either a user looks into the amp's manual or just presses something to see what it does. This is a kind of trade off for the clean Italian design,

Other than that the Éthos is built with great attention to detail, the selection of parts, craftsmanship and internal layout scream with quality and care. I loved the amp's heatsinks that are cast in the shape of Pathos' logo.

The central part is occupied by a turquoise alphanumeric display that is dimmable. The power switch can be found at the rear panel and there is no need to power the amp off as it stays in a stand-by mode at idle, A 'progress bar' on the display will inform you that the Éthos is waking up - it takes no more than 30 seconds before all circuits are stabilized.

Bass management

Weight
85
Slam
83
Articulation
82

The preamp stage contains two ECC88/6922 tubes, has its own stabilized power supply and works in Class A. The volume control works with resistors in 180 steps which I found to be enough for precise volume setting.

The output stage is of a dual mono layout. The Éthos provides 2 x 200 W into 4 ohms (2 x 100 W into 8 ohms), alternatively, in a bridged mode, its power goes up to 1 x 270 W.

The Ethos combines the integrated amplifier with the versatility of DAC - the import of digital data is possible via 2 USB ports or a SPDIF input. The DAC has a fixed sampling frequency 24bit/192kHz. The software of the amp also allows for renaming the inputs or bypassing some of them.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
85
Air
83
Transparency
83

The Éthos is a very balanced amplifier - I could detect no anomalies across the whole frequency spectrum. Even with Iron Maiden's difficult 2 Minutes to Midnight, that is not a track for the best mastering awards, the instrumental parts were nicely laid, with quiet background, nice resolution and no tonal lumpiness. I compared both remastered and original versions of the release - the original issue had softer and rounder sound that was very dynamic (which was confirmed by the connected RTA analyzer of the Accuphase DG-58 ) and featured the bass guitar that was the right blend of authority, definition and punch. The remaster, with seemingly much clearer sound, became boring after while and even the Éthos ccould not help it.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
84
Dynamics
82
Temporal resolution
82

The royal instrument - a violin in hands of Alina Ibragimova in Siciliana (J.S. Bach, Sonata #1 in G-minor on Hyperion) - was presented with beautiful voicing, fast transitions and nice harmonies that were elevated by the  Pathos Ethos into magical listening experience,

Spatial resolution

Holography
90
Soundstage width
90
Soundstage depth
90

At the time of this review I had another integrated amplfier on hand, the Mark Levinson No. 585. Honestly speaking, the Éthos cannot challenge the No. 585 but succeeds in serving the music with no apparent drawbacks - the music always takes over.

Note: The heatsinks of the Éthos become quite hot after an hour or two. I would not recommend to bury this amp into a shelf without proper ventilation.

Price as reviewed:145 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

High-End Audio Studio, Praha, tel. +420 224 256 844

Associated components

  • Sources: Accuphase DP-720, Accuphase DG-58
  • Amplifiers: Accuphase A-70
  • Loudspeakers: Bowers & Wilkins 802 Diamond
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Cardas Clear, Audioquest Redwood
  • Power conditioning: Nordost Thor (modified), Nordost Valhalla, Block Audio Snakeblock

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