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Accuphase C-290
3 Reviews
rating  5 of 5
Description: The C-290 takes the balanced transmission technology developed for the C-280V to an even higher plane of perfection. All aspects of circuit topology were reexamined, and only the finest parts and materials are used in this ultimate performer. The C-290 is a line amplifier, but the optional phono equalizer unit AD-290 provides lover of analog records with top-quality playback capabilities. Low-noise input modules are mouted on an alumina ceramic base, and the printed circuit boards use low-dielectric polyphenylene oxide (PPO) on a glass substrate.


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Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by carl11529 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 22, 2003

Bottom Line:   
This might well be my final preamp that I will settle forever. Balanced, elegant, dynamic though not over emphasizing bass, precision yet warm. Just let music flow...

Very sensitive to power cord. The enclosed Acrotec power cord makes the sound somewhat lean. Replacing it with NBS entry-level power cord (Dragon Fly) transform the sound completely. Also, balanced interconnects are much better than RCA interconnects.

I used to be a tube nut, but encountering this preamp makes me forget the regret that I might have Jadis JP80mc.….

Though list price in the US is very high, I believe that it is still a fair value if you compare its craftsmanship to other high-end products from US. Of course, finding a mint second-hand unit will worth the effort. Five-star rating for value is for second-hand unit as C-290 has been discontinued.

Wadia 8 transport + 15 DAC
Accuphase C-290 preamp
Apogee DAX1 active crossover
Two Boulder 500ae (Bi-amping)
Apogee Diva
Cables: Cello String one (XLR), Cello String Two Speaker cable, MIT MH750.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ivan Pang a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 23, 2002

Bottom Line:   
My C290 is probably the last batch production before phasing out to C290V. I am using it to pair with P700 to yield a perfect couple from Accuphase suitable for all kinds of music program reproduction. It contains every Accuphase trade marks (see my reivew on P700), most distintive being rich harmonies, extended but very elegant high, and very reponsive sound. The most dynamic the music, the better you will feel this C290 superior to others.

The strange thing is I did have the chance for AB comparsion between 290 and 290V. The gears used were:
Accuphase DP75V CDP
Accuphase P650 power amp
Chord 64 bit DAC (the one with a magnified window seeing the chip inside)
AQ high model cables
JM Lab Utopia loudspeaker
Tannoy ultra tweeter

290 and 290V is of 2 different sounds. 290V is a very little bit faster and energetic but 290 is "more Accuphase" than 290V. By more Accuphase I mean more elegant, musical and accurate. I would imagine C290V would be better to match A50 or A100 or tube amp, for its fastness will just liberate the music from thick sounded amp. But for not so thick sounded SS amp, C290 may be marginally better.

290 is much much better than his next brother 275V. For those who plan to buy a C275V, I would strongly suggest you to spend your budget for a 2nd hand C290----you will never regret. Audition the 2 side by side I am sure you won't go for 275V.

I heard a lot of top-notch pre-amp that can make people moody and cry and never dance or rock ! I suppose people paying this price level for a pre-amp is looking for a pre-defined taste of sound rather than openly audition 10 or 20 choices before making the decision.

I guess it should work with SS or tube amp well and of course the best match would be Accuphase power amp such as P650, 700 and 1000. For A50,A100 or other Class A or tube amp, I guess C290V may be a bit better.

For Accuphase fan this should be their ultimate dream gear. From this C290, I finally understand the power amp is only as good as the pre amp. And because of this, I wouldn't say it is pricey.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001

Purchased At:   HK

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

Date Reviewed: July 4, 2002

Bottom Line:   
While auditioning for a new preamp and amplifier, the thought of spending anything over US$10,000 on anything other than Audio Research, Conrad Johnson or Mark Levinson's top of the range products was not really in my mind. By chance, while living in Vietnam where there is a small but very active Audiophile scene I happened upon an excellent dealer with a large selection of new and used gear. I had listened to a few very good pre amps to replace my LS5 and was almost settled on the Audio Research Reference 1 when I was offered and A-B comparison with a then just out of the box, just released Accuphase C290 V. Now this is one beautifully made unit as all Accuphase products are. Not too sure about the Persimmon case but it was very well finished. No matter what your views on the tastefulness of the design(I like it don't misunderstand) placing this preamp in the audio chain is a simply magical experience. It is just soooo good!! You hear everything, exactly as I believe it is supposed to be heard - no warmth, no over emphasised anything, in short no sonic signature that I could hear - just the music presented in a palpably real way. In my view it bettered the Reference 1 by a wide margin and it is an excellent preamplifier.
I also tried it against my own LS5 - oh dear!!

Now, neither the ART nor the Mark Levinson reference was available for comparison purposes so they could still be better. I don'know but find it difficult to believe anything could be very much better than the C290V. It is that good.

If you, like me pre Accuphase have a slight aversion or are even dismissive of Japanese High End gear then please put aside your prejudices and have a listen this preamp. You will be very impressed. Why hasn't anyone else reviewed this masterpiece?

I liked the Accuphase C290 V so much I listened to and purchased an A50V as well. They are a sensational combination with my Sonus Faber Guarneri's. Just in case you think I'm Accuphase nuts I tried the then DP75 player(now DP 75V) which was very good indeed but I bought a Marantz CD7 for half the price which I think delivers a better paced and immediate presentation.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001

Purchased At:   Vietnam

Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

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