Channel Islands Audio D200 Amplifiers


  • Frequency Response: 10Hz - 20kHz, +0dB/-0.5dB
  • Input Impedance: 100k ohms

User Reviews (1)

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gme109   AudioPhile [May 03, 2006]

see above.


see above

Whenever I read a review, I go straight to the conclusion. Why waste time reading a review on a so so product. So I'll cut to the chase, then go into more detail. The Channel Islands D200's are a complete revelation! Bettering every amp I've ever owned or auditioned, and by a wide margin.

I must admit that I was not impressed by the small package the UPS driver had under one arm, when delivering my D200's. Most amps that have arrived at my home, needed a firm grip with both hands, and caused the veins in your neck to pop out. Although they're small and light, they appeared to be very well constructed and handsome in appearance.

Although hook up was very easy, due to the lack of real estate, things get a little crowded in back. So it took a little more effort routing cables. Another small issue due to the size of these amps, is their inability to rest evenly on isolation footers, especially when stiff power cords are in use. I finally gave up and placed the amps directly on the shelf using only the stock feet. Those are the ONLY issues that separate the D200's from the BIG behemoth amps.

I've been following Dusty's products with great interest for quite some time. Having owned and loved a Spectron Musician II digital amp, it was only natural to have some interest in other digital amps. IMO the Spectron set new standards in transparency, soundstaging, detail, clarity, bass control, and dynamics. The Spectron also seemed to have a touch of warmth that hinted at the sound of tubes. These were areas that I found the Spectron to be head and shoulders above all other amps I had owned or auditioned to this point. Although the Spectron had set new standards in some areas, it's lack of harmonic richness in the midrange and smoothness in the treble, was not up to par with the best of the best that traditional amps had to offer. Let me first start by saying that the D200's have no such short comings that kept it from competing with the best out there, regardless of topology. The D200's surpassed the Spectron in many key areas. Starting with tonality, from the bass up. This is the one area that I would give a nod to the Spectron, for having more heft in the extreme bottom end. What the D200's lacked in heft, they made up for, by being much more articulate and rhythmic in the bottom end. Moving up the frequency range to the midbass, the D200's took the lead and stayed there. Midbass was more fleshed out, with greater impact and pitch definition. It's amazing how much punch these little mono blocks pack. Listening to the last track on the Burmeister III cd, with the large Chinese drums, will rattle your spine. Once into the all important midrange, the D200's soar past the Spectron and just about every other amp to pass through my listening room. The Spectron sounds somewhat sterile and lacking tonal color in comparison. Comparing the D200's to other amps known for their midrange splendor, such as the Atma-Sphere MA1's, Air Tight ATM-2, and the Pathos Classic one Mk.II, I'd say the D200's more than held their own. They're every bit as harmonically rich and vibrant, but end up serving the music more faithfully by virtue of their supreme neutrality. I don't believe I've ever heard an amp who's treble is as extended, airy, and as sweet as the D200's. Certainly not any solid state amp. Cymbals have a golden bronzy flavor with all the sparkle, shimmer and detail of the real thing. On to transparency, soundstaging, detail, clarity, and dynamics, areas that the Spectron supremely ruled. The D200's are every bit as transparent as the Spectron, instruments and voices float across the soundstage, against an utterly black background. I'm going to give a slight edge to the Spectron when it comes to image depth. Although the D200's throw a very convincing soundstage, it is not quite as carved out as the Spectron. Clarity and detail was one area of the Spectron that was so beyond that of every other amp, I did not expect it to be bettered. The D200's were vastly more detailed, especially in the treble, but never at the expense of musicality. Detail is woven into the fabric of the music, and never stood as a separate entity, detached from the whole. One thing that really astounded me, was how intelligible the lyrics had become. Lyrics that were slurred or smeared or just smothered by other sounds, were perfectly pronounced and very understandable. I know in Greg Weaver's review he gave a slight nod to the Spectron when it came to macro dynamics. But in my system I found the D200's to have the slight edge in this area. When it came to micro dynamics though, the D200's allowed the ebb and flow of the music to pass much more convincingly, revealing the subtlest change in volume.

Most importantly, these amps have moved me like no other, and have increased my enjoyment of the music to new heights. They walk a fine line between satisfying the analytical audiophile, and the music lover in me. High praise indeed for 200 watt mono blocks selling for under $2,500.

Customer Service

No need as of yet for customer service.

Similar Products Used: Lived with: Classe DR 25/ Air Tight ATM-2 push-pull tube amp/ Coda 10.5 ss/ Spectron Musician II ss/ Bel Canto SET 40 tube amp.

Auditioned:Classe Audio CA101,151,201/Bryston 4Bst , 7B st/ CJ MF2500/ Accuphase P450/ Pathos Classic One Mk.II/ Atma-sphere MA 1 Mk. II.2/ EAR 890/ Audio by Van Alstine, I forget which model, but it was one of the Fet Valve amplifiers.
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