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Matisse Reference preamplifier
7 Reviews
rating  4.14 of 5
MSRP  8800.00
Description: Point to point solder British high end tube preamp with phono stage


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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Harry Poon a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: June 27, 2003

Bottom Line:   
On sound, Atom should not disappoint you. It is delicate and musical. However, on built quality and workmanship, it is disappointing. My Atom came with the following defects :-

- face plate slightly tilted to the left, with scratches at the bottom edge
- two wires, one in power switch and the other in mute switch, are not properly soldered. I discovered this when I could not turn it on one time. I opened the cover for inspection and I saw sparks coming off from the switch.
- the ring holding one of the screws on the PCB was not tightly fitted into the case so that when you pull out one of the tubes, the PCB also come off

From other reviewers and having communicated with one of them, I believe that Matisse’s sub-standard workmanship and QC are not by chance. It is quite unexpected that the built quality of this much-acclaimed brand is actually inferior to most of today’s China brands.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $9800.00

Purchased At:   Hong Kong



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by jkulk a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 13, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Hi,

I think this will be my last Preamp I will ever buy.
I've tested many amps (intergrated and separated Preamps / Poweramps, but this one is the best.
I bought the Matisse some time ago, it was delivered with Golden Dragon tubes (argh....), replaced with a pair of Philips Miniwatt tubes of an old Intergrated Philips amp I had, and still have by the way.
Then the Matisse was really playing.
What a sound !!!
After testing many Tubes (Philips, RCA, GE, RFT, Valvo, Mullard, Siemens etc) I saw the "light" with Telefunken Tubes, unbelieveble, it's really amazing everytime I switch on the machine.
I've tried many things with this Preamp, so people who wants advice, let me know.
Don't look any further, try to get a secondhand if you see one, and enjoy it for the rest of your life, but pay attention of the Tubes you use.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Matisse Newowner a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 15, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I have been sort of familar with the Fantacy 2 when I was living in Hong Kong. Freqent visit to one of the dealer in Mon-Kok and set my goal to save up for one of them. The opportunity finally arrive years later (just now) !

Purchase a brand new Reference last month and ship direct from England to the US. The amp arrived in a rather weak packaging. Although it's double boxed, the box are rather thin.

Unpacking the amp reveal some horrible expereince. The PCB of the power supply was not fasten to the chassis at all. Only 1 screw was lock down to the chassis, the entire PCB rattle and move within the aluminum case. This one is the new tube power supply. Somehow the PCB are not align with the pre-drill holes on the case and as a result only one screw can align and fasten to the case. The EL34 was knock out of it's socket slamming inside the power supply during shipping, I am rather suprise it didn't shattered ! This is very disappointed. Apart from that, there are a few more loose screws and that's about how it was delivered.

The main unit, nicely design and arranged, very neat and quality parts except there is no more stepped ladder volume pot. It's replaced with a less expensive Elma pot. Well it's up to you to decide the sound, the value and durability. Don't expect to see that impressive looking volume pot like in the brochure anymore. Apart from that, knobs are not tighten to the shaft and one of them even fall out. The worst part is even the gold dot fall out of the knob !

At this point, I have to conclude this is a poorly delivered unit, it looks like a non finish, non QAed DIY product. Very poor workmanship.

I am currently using Audible Illusion Moduls 3A and compare with this unit that builds like a tank, I hate to say the Matisse Reference is rather weak when it comes to workmanship and build quality.
I have also own AI's Mod 2D and original 3. Conrand Johnson Premier 10, PV5, 8.
CounterPoint, etc. etc. Just to say I have own and seen a lot of pre-amp and I have opinion and knowledge about what a quality build pre-amp should be.

So much for my negative comment, I figure it can't be that bad. After all, it was my dream pre-amp ! Hook it up, turn it on, play some music, wa-la, even without broken in, this things sound awesome !
It's the sweetest tube pre-amp I ever listen to.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001

Purchased At:   Matisse



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jkulk a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 16, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Best Pre-amp I've heard so far.
Everything is there, very open sound.
Sound depends very much of the tubes used.
Phonostage MC+MM use the 2 x ECC81, for Linestage 2 x ECC83.
I'm using Telefunken ECC81 (better then GE 12ATW7 and Golden Dragon) and Philips Miniwatt ECC83 (tested RCA, Sylvana, Golden Dragon etc).
Try to get these tubes if you can quickly, they are almost gone guys.
With the above tubes it's everytime a pleasure listening to this great amp.
Try to get the test of Peter van Willemswaard (dutch), otherwise I can send a copy bu Email, it's a usefull descripton of the layout of Matisse.
The Phonostage is very good, I liked it even more then the (Tube)phonestage of the Audio Research.
I can fill a complete page, but try to listen to the amp.
Price paid was 2100 euro.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $2100.00

Purchased At:   second hand



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by William Lam a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 10, 2000

Bottom Line:   

LAST TIME I GAVE WRONG INFORMATION. THE COMPLAINT ON THE PREAMP LYING ON FANTASY LINE, NOT REFERENCE. FANTASY SOLD AND REPLACED BY MANLEY REFERRENCE LINE. SOUNDS BEST. HOWEVER MATISSE REFERENCE PREAMP STILL MY POISON. WORKING WITH MANLEY 300B MONOBLOCK AMP., TAD 300 SPEAKER WITH 88DB IT SOUNDS QUITE LIVELY AND COMPARATIVELY POWERFUL THAN THE MANLEY ONE. I WOULD SAY THIS WOULD BE MY LAST PREAMP OVER ANOTHER THREE YEARS.

MY REVISED SYSTEM AS UNDER :

CD PLAYER : SONIC FRONTIER SFCD -1
MATISSE REFERENCE PREAMP WITH PHOTO STAGE
MANLEY 300B MONOBLOCK AMP.
18W SINGLE END / 36W PUSH PULL
TAD 300 SPEAKER
CABLES :

- PREAMP TO CD PLAYER : MATISSE GOLD REFERENCE RCA
- PREAMP TO AMP : CARDAS GOLD REFERENCE RCA
- SPEAKER CABLE : MATISSE GOLD REFERENCE SINGLE WIRE

POWER CORDS :

A/
CD PLAYER : TIMBRE

B/
PREAMP : MATISSE GOLD REFERENCE TYPE I

C/
300B MONO BLOCK : MATISSE GOLD REFERENCE TYPE II TWO PAIRS.

ANYBODY COMMENTS TO MY SYSTEM ?

I GIVE MY SYSTEM FIVE STARS EXCEPT THE POWER CABLE FOR THE CD PLAYER.













Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $3800.00

Purchased At:   hong kong




Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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