Heed Obelisk SI
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Heed Obelisk SI Home Cinema Amplifier, size: 351 KB
Heed Obelisk SI
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Integrated Amplifier Heed Obelisk Si Previously unknown in France, Heed is entering our territory. The brand was founded by two Hungarian brothers named Huszti, who had been passionate importers of renowned English marks including Nytech and Ion Systems, as created by Richard Hay. From the beginning, they demonstrated an enthusiasm for the kind of high-quality discrete circuitry that in this day and age seems almost quaintly relegated to the past. Their philosophy draws undoubtedly on the innovative talents and unconventional know-how of Richard Hay since the three men continue to collaborate closely. So the resurrection of the Obelisk name here, of course, appropriately reflects its predecessors distinguished heritage. Heed also perpetuate its original modular design concept; separate components, offering additional levels of performance, etc. The compact size of the Si has something attractive, elegant and perfectly formed about it; even more so in association with its optional power supply of like dimension, the X-2, also strongly recommended. The circuit design and execution demonstrates originality: the designers have sought to obtain, and (for once) have succeeded, in presenting "a sound which approaches that of the tube" exhibiting the same nuance, the same distinct signature. Two substantial knobs on the facade are responsible respectively for source selection and volume control. The Obelisk employs two Darlington transistor pairs per channel, operating in push-pull. Manufacture and buildquality is in the finest English tradition. Power & Finesse It is a rare occurrence indeed that a component under review sets itself so far apart from the pack. Is this the fruit, for the time being, of a real musical culture claimed in this case, by the Hungarian? It can never be stressed enough that the development of the best products cannot be achieved without aesthetic purpose, and furthermore, without subordination to the music. This explains the preeminence of English devices and perhaps only a certain very few models from our part of Europe. From the first note, we are stunned by its silken quality, particularly noticeable on the strings that suddenly begin to breathe naturally. By comparing the Obelisk to our dear Etalon ("Diapason D' Or" award winner; of Hungarian origin also) we clearly prefer the Obelisk. It is unquestionably more refined, while preserving the indispensable freshness and undeniable
wealth of those aspects that comprise the charm of the Etalon. Its frequency response glides along on the edge of perfection, demonstrating impeccable harmony throughout the spectrum. The Obelisk deftly negotiates dense passages with aplomb, yet is always accompanied by finesse and simplicity, indeed, consider the best tube amps. It is much closer to the "live" magic of a reference-quality 300B than it really has any right to. Stereo imaging is resolutely three-dimensional, wonderfully spatial, all the while delivering an absolutely precise rendering of source material. Its character satisfies fully, providing the highest resolution imaginable, but without the slightest hint of artificial brightness. Finally, the Sis dynamic range approximates the spontaneity we hear attending a live performance, evoking the very same impression. A genuine revelation at a price, after all, without competition. Characteristics Type: integrated amplifier Power: 2 x 42 watts Remote control: no (at time of review, but forthcoming) Phono stage: optional Headphone out: no Origin: Hungary Prices: Summary Musicality Frequency balance Fidelity Sound quality Refinement Transparency Dynamics Soundstage Build quality Heed Obelisk Si Heed Obelisk X-750
Strengths: Finesse and exceptional silkiness. Remarkably beautiful musicality. Weaknesses: Hardly any.
DIAPASON, July-August 2008
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