Power amplifiers

The golden cases are a sort of revelation, in the age of silver aluminum, titanium grey, and carbon black. Like Armani amongst mass-produced clothing. I like that these Italians are not afraid to show-off their style, although – to accommodate the masses – the amplifiers are also available in more conventional silver and black. The Armani impressions is highlighted by unusual vent slits and an oversized logo. There is a lack of decadent opulence in the hi-fi market today, so here you are.

Function and form

Ease of use

The PA-1175 is a class AB power amplifier that delivers 2x 200W into 8 ohms (the power into 4 ohms is 250W), and 520W into 8 ohms in bridged mono mode. The amplifier features what Gold Note calls “a proprietary Optical BIAS”; there are two circuits – one regulates the bias of output devices (Gold Note uses bipolar transistors), the other monitors the output current not to exceed the preset values. Inside the PA-1175 there are two transformers, one providing the juice to speakers, the other works outside the signal path.

The two small buttons on the right of the sturdy front panel control the stand-by mode (the master switch is at the back), and the amplifier’s damping factor. This is an unusual feature, but a good one, considering that your selection would alter the sound profile of the PA-1175 MkII quite significantly. Basically, you can choose between the DF of 250 or 25, which corresponds to change in output impedance from 0.3 to 0.03 ohms. Gold Note speculates that the higher damping factor is good to drive large, low-sensitivity speakers, and lower one will be preferred by high-sensitivity and mini-monitor speakers. I wouldn’t go that far – for me the possibility to switch the damping factor on-the-fly is a great idea of subtle equalization, for the lower factor of the two provides extra midrange body and less incisiveness, and both these qualities are good to fight rather flat dynamic mastering that is often accompanied by piercing top end.

Bass management


Both devices status LED lights are blue in the default state. Changing the mode - like attaching the external PSU – turns the LED into green. I likeed that because I could spot immediately that the PSU is connected and working. If I had had a similar indicator on myself, it would have been glowing with pleasure immediately after I cued up Elvis Presley’s Love Me (from 24 Karat Hits, Analogue Productions). This recording is mono, and so was the preamplifier (another green light lit up). The atmosphere threw me back several decades, I could smell cigarettes, coffee, and felt the warmth of tubes and console wirings. There was also limitation of a microphone making no justice to Elvis’ smooth baritone. The amps relied on warm and embracing mids that once again filled the room with comfortable nostalgia. The usual audiophile exclamations like “can you hear this?” did not happen  - the sound was almost ordinary in its delivery, which usually marks a good performance, with no excesses anywhere.

In later-recorded piece, like Are You Lonesome Tonight, the gain in quality was apparent. It was not the Elvis´ vocal but the backing vocals on the right that could my attention. They were – through the Gold Note combo – amazingly palpable and present in the room, as if there were real people hidden behind the curtain. The frequency response extremes were quite decent and complementary to the liquidity of the midrange. I could listen for hours to the sound like this.

Clarity & delicacy


The legendary set of Al Di Meola, Paco de Lucía and John McLaughlin (Friday Night in San Francisco, ORG) was a proof that soundstaging is another strong asset of the P-1000 and PA-1175. I could see and hear the venue, and the ecstatic shouts from the audience were projected through the stereo convincingly and with the right spatial context. Who is familiar with this recording (who doesn’t?) knows how precise the guitar-work is; when I moved closer to the A6 EVO speakers I got the full immersive effect, as if I was listening to headphones. The grip of the PA-1175 on sound was obvious, and it was only with its sufficient watts when the music like this came fully alive.

Tonal accuracy

Temporal resolution

On Coleman Hawkins’ The Hawk Flied High (Riverside, Mobile Fidelity Half Speed Mastering) the tenor saxophone is the hero, singing his song on the canvas of Oscar Pettiford’s walking bass, thus basically replacing a lead singer. The genesis of this record is said to happen like this: Hawkins is approached by the label “Why don’t you pick out the men you’d most like to work with and let’s cut a record?” And that was it. Now, through the P-1000 / PA-1175 the record’s lacquer smells as fresh as it did back in 1957.

Another cut, Herbert von Karajan, Christian Ferras, and Berliner Philharmoniker (Finlandia, Deutsche Grammophon). The seesawing waves of the orchestra lulled me into an alpha state, and I forgot to make notes. Then, suddenly, my imaginative dreaming was disrupted by a fiery brass and winds. They were like an alarm, a high-end one, and I could hear musicians taking their breath, the lips pressed to lip-pieces, the rumble of mechanic parts of the instruments. Hilarious.

Spatial resolution

Soundstage width
Soundstage depth

One more cut. Direct from Tower of Power is a part of Sheffield Lab’s catalogue, and as such it is a live session directly cut into lacquer, without master tapes. The instrument separation was great through the Gold Note, I could follow each instrumental line clearly and distinctly. Should I name one instrument I really loved the bass playing, with its swaying rhythm that became even better with volume control boosted.

If you still doubt that the Gold Note P-1000 and PA-1175 is a great combination of amplifiers that makes great music, then pack your records or CDs and give it a listen.

Price as reviewed:190 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Audio Ranny, Praha, tel. +420 777 003 134

Associated components

  • Sources: Gold Note Mediterraneo Walnut, B-7 Ceramic tonearm, Tuscany Gold MC cartridge, Phono Cable Extra XLR 1,5
  • Preamplifier: phono Gold Note PH-1000
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Actinote Aria Evo
  • Loudspeakers: Gold Note A6 EVO
  • Power conditioning: Actinote Aria Evo, Gold Note PSU-1250 external power supply



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