Audionet Max monoblock power amplifier

Three years ago, when I first heard Audionet’s Max monoblock power amplifiers, I described their pairing with YG Acoustics Hailey loudspeakers “an absolute winner” and “definitely one of the finer systems at T.H.E. Show Newport Beach.” At subsequent audio shows, no fewer than four other Stereophile Contributing Editors enthused about different pairings of YG loudspeakers with Audionet amplification. Herb Reichert, at the 2014 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest: “Everything had a kind of just right quality. Totally impressive!” Sasha Matson, at RMAF 2015: “Marvelous” on vocals, “rockin’ and tight” on bass and drums. John Atkinson, at T.H.E. Show 2016: “Duke Ellington’s classic Jazz Party in Stereo . . . was reproduced with terrific dynamics.” Larry Greenhill at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show on the sound in the YG Acoustics room, which included Audionet’s Max monoblocks: “the sound on playback of Jake Shimabukuro’s ukulele wizardry came closer to matching his live performance than in most rooms.”

I visited the same room later during CES 2017, and wrote that it produced a huge soundstage, “with the low frequencies remarkably fleshed out and layered. Everything was perfectly controlled, with the speed, power, and weight of bass response astounding. Highs, however, were a bit recessed, and lacking in brilliance, and strings briefly turned wiry on the track’s loudest passage” (footnote 1). What we didn’t know from these auditions was how the Maxes might sound with other gear. A review would answer that question.

The Audionet Max ($30,500/pair), which was designed and are manufactured in Germany, costs almost the same as that of another German monoblock, AVM’s Ovation MA8.2 ($29,900/pair), which I reviewed in the April 2017 issue.

The Max is based on what Audionet calls an Ultra-Linear-Amplifier (ULA) topology, originally developed for medical applications. The company claims that the technology “delivers results that nudge the boundaries of what is feasible…

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