Pathos Acoustics Classic One Amplifiers

Classic One

Tube Hybrid Integrated Amplifier

User Reviews (20)

Showing 1-10 of 20  
mkools   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 22, 2006]
Strength:

beautifull with voices,instrumental
beautifull high notes/treble,not TO warm but ...euh... perfect!
superb building quality(not in china!!)
beautifull(80's)look(love it or hate it)
RED DIGATAL VOLUME in display(i LOVE it)
simplicity!

Weakness:

not a garage/hardrock/house amp.
needs good paring with speakers for ULTRA sublime sound

i bought the new classic one MK lll (three) last month and i'm as happy as a child!
some things have changed since the mk ll; new "op-amps" for the mosfet power ampl. , new volume control(more linear) , new safer speakerconnectors with circuit to protect for shortcircuit,
but it still sounds supeb and is ever so beautifull.
the trebble IS more balenced and "sweeter"
indeed,no super hardock spiller,but my preferences go to jazz,classical AND hiphop/soul,and this amp plays them stunningly warm and full.
but for me the looks where as importend,because when i pay the ridicuasly amount of E 2000,- euro for any amp.,the least i expect is that it sounds supurb and is of stunning building quality,so if i buy one i want it to be special,with all respect;no dennon or marantz kinda looing amp(don't wanne be a snob..?!)..
i also want to buy something that will last,i will buy a hifi once in the twenty years,i'm no tweaker who is never satisfied and always broke.)

but the building quality is supurb!
did i mention the beautifull way it displays voices and instrumental voices...!!
i coupled it with a NAD c521 BEE (E 199,-)(santa could drop me a rega appolo,aaarghh,but now i'm getting greedy)
and tannoy fushion 4. only those are ready for replacement(i'm saving for sonus faber concerto,...ok,,.i'm a snob) ,and then i will have my first HIFI! system.
speakercables just for Euro 5,- p/m,DON'T believe the cable hype!! and a qued interconnect for 35 euroos,believe me it IS sufficient!...... -1950 euros for speakercables???...as Brando says;"the horror,the horrror" -

take a look at the PATHoS at a dealer,compare it to other valve or hybrid-valve amps of the same price cattegaory(>2500)and you'l see it is a one of a kind,
especialy if you are building a small system;just a cd/scad and two suburb speakers and you are in heaven .....as always LISTEN TO IT FIRST it at your dealer before pending al that evil moneything!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
m.kools   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 22, 2006]
Strength:

beautifull with voices,instrumental
beautifull high notes/treble,not TO warm but ...euh... perfect!
superb building quality(not in china!!)
beautifull(80's)look(love it or hate it)
RED DIGATAL VOLUME in display(i LOVE it)
simplicity!

Weakness:

not a garage/hardrock/house amp.
needs good paring with speakers for ULTRA sublime sound

i bought the new classic one MK lll (three) last month and i'm as happy as a child!
some things have changed since the mk ll; new "op-amps" for the mosfet power ampl. , new volume control(more linear) , new safer speakerconnectors with circuit to protect for shortcircuit,
but it still sounds supeb and is ever so beautifull.
the trebble IS more balenced and "sweeter"
indeed,no super hardock spiller,but my preferences go to jazz,classical AND hiphop/soul,and this amp plays them stunningly warm and full.
but for me the looks where as importend,because when i pay the ridicuasly amount of E 2000,- euro for any amp.,the least i expect is that it sounds supurb and is of stunning building quality,so if i buy one i want it to be special,with all respect;no dennon or marantz kinda looing amp(don't wanne be a snob..?!)..
i also want to buy something that will last,i will buy a hifi once in the twenty years,i'm no tweaker who is never satisfied and always broke.)

but the building quality is supurb!
did i mention the beautifull way it displays voices and instrumental voices...!!
i coupled it with a NAD c521 BEE (E 199,-)(santa could drop me a rega appolo,aaarghh,but now i'm getting greedy)
and tannoy fushion 4. only those are ready for replacement(i'm saving for sonus faber concerto,...ok,,.i'm a snob) ,and then i will have my first HIFI! system.
speakercables just for Euro 5,- p/m,DON'T believe the cable hype!! and a qued interconnect for 35 euroos,believe me it IS sufficient!...... -1950 euros for speakercables???...as Brando says;"the horror,the horrror" -

take a look at the PATHoS at a dealer,compare it to other valve or hybrid-valve amps of the same price cattegaory(>2500)and you'l see it is a one of a kind,
especialy if you are building a small system;just a cd/scad and two suburb speakers and you are in heaven .....as always LISTEN TO IT FIRST it at your dealer before pending al that evil moneything!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Lasse   Audio Enthusiast [May 01, 2006]
Strength:

Sound, details and smoothness.

Weakness:

Nothing.

The new model 70W.
When the amplifier is warmed up for about 5 minutes you just sit there with a big smile on your face and listen, listen to every CD you got. You have to have a really good source to feed this amplifier with. Forget the price / sound quality relationship, you have to put the money on the source. I use a Marantz SACD-11S1 balanced coupled with Audioquest Panther interconnects. The balanced input is more relaxed and better on everything. I have never bought so many CD;s ever. This amplifier will probably be my last. I am a fan of classical music and together with this amp it is a fantastic combination. Highly recommended.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
demos100   AudioPhile [Nov 01, 2005]
Strength:

Resolution, presentation of venue and organs, perfect rythm, perfect pitch. YBA-like inner detail with right amount of warm and weights. No problem with bass. Try Cardas or Acoustic Zen MATRIX copper interconnects.

Weakness:

Forget the price and try to combine it with very good CD/SACD player , x3 times the money and gorgeous speakers. You will never change the amp, I bet .

PATHOS CLASSIC ONE (mkII version). The finest amplifier. First of all, before buying the classic one, you must own or willing to buy a trully class A CD player. The amplifier qualities are far beyond the price and the resolution of classic one is so high that you have to own for example a Cary, Musical Fidelity A5 (best for mating, I own one) or other tube output CDs that I find the best for matching.Foget about harshness, edgy sound. Resolution is Class A. Probably better than Class A. I would say that Pathos Classic One has all the detail of sound of an YBA Passion, with the sweetness and purity of tubes. The soundstage is not huge, starting from just behind the speakers and you could not say its overall laid-back. I think its a big, heighty , wide loudstage but cannot rival the Conrad Johnson depths or the one of an all tube higher priced amp. Its STUNNING with classical music and especially violins (very hard to reproduce) and I rate with A the reproduction - never gave A to any other amp. It ROCKS too, but not with blasting dynamics. I prefer to listen to rock with pathos than with any other. I found the whole performance a step up with my Cardas Golden Reference Power Cord, Shunyata Research Hydra and Neutral Reference RCA interconnect listening via Proac speakers. You will find all the detail, resolution, right amount of weight, clarity and focus you want but: You cannot press stop anymore listening to D.Krall,Mozart violin and piano sonatas,Blues,Jazz,Haydn and your lovely opera records. The presentation of the venue of the recoring is by far the best ever heard. Nothing more. The opposite of boring amplifier. Detail at extreme, purity of class A+ amps from everywhere.

Similar Products Used: Many, many and many.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
alexs   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 15, 2004]
Strength:

See review summary

Weakness:

None

This is a followup to a review I wrote in March of 2004. Having the Pathos in my system has been a true joy. All subsequent reviews are spot on. I would like to add a couple of additional points. I replaced the tubes with a pair of NOS Mullards, circa 1968. The improvement was noticable immediately and even more as the tubes ran in. Turns out that the $80 was very well spent. Increased detail, extended bass and smoother with better focus within the soundstage. I also replaced the stock power cord with one from White Rose Music. This made a more subtle yet noticable improvement in the noise floor, improving the image delineation significantly.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
dgibson2   AudioPhile [Jun 10, 2004]
Strength:

Improvement in bass and treble, clean, vibrant sound, great voices and strings, lively dynamics, improved resolution.

Weakness:

none

Like the others who have reviewed this amp on this site, I had read the glowing reviews by Sam Tellig at Stereophile and elswhere. I had a Conrad Johnson MV-55 which I was very pleased with, powering my Revel M20s speakers. I particularly liked the female voice and strings on the MV-55. I decided to have a listen at Upscale Audio. I was very impressed with the sound right off. I bought one and hooked it up to the Revels. It sounded great. The amp seems to do everything right. The voices are excellent, though not as lush or big in size as the MV-55. They are nonetheless very lifelike, and very detailed. Also, the bass is much more defined and extended, as well as the treble. Dynamics also improved, the extra power is very noticable. Everything in the audio spectrum just sounds natural and right. Thing is, it just gets better as it breaks in. It warms up some. Everything you read in Sam's article is true. Just recently the amp was reviewed in Hi-Fi, with the same virtues as Sam expressed: incredible voices and overall realism. I have subsequently added a Harmonic Technology Pro-AC11 power cord in place of the stock cord with further improvements: blacker background, removal of grain in the sound that I did not even notice initially, extended and more powerful bass. You can't go wrong with this amp, and it has more than enough power for the Revel M20s, which are not very efficient. This one is a keeper.

Similar Products Used: Conrad Johnson MV-55
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jorn S.   AudioPhile [May 22, 2004]
Strength:

Musicality, drive combined with a sparkling brilliance, pleasant, unfatiguing sound at any volume level.

Weakness:

Needs about 200 hours of listening to drive it in. This is not an actual weakness, of course - but be warned! If this amp sounds anything but spectacular, give it more time to warm up and to drive it in.

Like so many others, I got interested in this amp because of the review Sam Tellig wrote in Stereophile. Many others give the Classic One excellent reviews on these pages. What do I have to add to that? Here goes: Don´t short change yourself by getting inferior speakers! Any audiophile knows, that a good amp with good speakers sounds great. Whereas a good amp with great speakers will actually sound less good. The logic is, that the great speakers will highlight the shortcomings of the amp. A rule of thump says to spend about the same amount on your speakers as on your amp. Don´t do this with the Pathos! Not, in any case, if you can afford to spend more than 2k. I started listening to the Classic One with Chario Academy One speakers (1800 euros / pair), moved on to Dynaudio Contour 1.4 (2500 + stands) and, just for the heck of it, checked out the Dynaudio C1 (5000 + stands). The sound just kept getting better! More brilliance, more shining and sparkling. More of everything. Even the C1 didn´t highlight any shortcomings whatsoever, in fact, the Pathos seemed to come into his own, to show his full potential with these speakers, which have been called the best stand mounted speakers available today. So what does this mean? That you make a mistake, if you spend less than 5000 euros on speakers? Of course not. You cannot make a mistake with this amp. (Note, by the way, that all speakers mentioned are relatively insensitive 4 ohmers, so don´t heed the warnings given by some reviewers!). The Pathos Classic One gives you the chance to buy as good a system now as you can afford, and then to upgrade your system over the years by adding better speakers to it, when you can afford to. It also gives you the chance to purchase world class (I mean it!) audio equippment at a reasonable price, because even after years and years in this hobby, I cannot think on any combination that could outshine the Pathos - Dynaudio C1 -pair, linked with Goertz silver cables. And we are talking about 9k for the whole deal - not 19, or 99, as one might have expected (and is told in certain magazines). 9k for music as good as it gets! Add, of course, a good - no, a great - cd player according to taste. I decided on a Densen 400 XS, which, as some reviewers in British magazines stated, "sounds like a very good (!) record player". I aim to be happy with all this for 8 - 10 years, now. I know, I know, we all do, always... But I think this set up has a good chace of going that far. I also think, that the components upgraded in that dim future, will not be the amp.

Similar Products Used: Over the years, to many to mention.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
FatJer   AudioPhile [Mar 25, 2004]
Strength:

Beautiful, pristine, detailed, accurate, non-fatiguing sound

Weakness:

None I have found at this time.

I have been in this "Hobby" of ours over 40 years and have heard a lot of integrated amps. Based on Sam Tellig's review of this integrated I sent away for it sight unseen. This new Pathos turned out to be every bit as good as he claimed in his Stereophile review. Without going into the usual audiophile rhetoric, let me just say this is the first integrated I've owned that sounds "Right" to my ears. It has such a beautiful pristine sound, that I turn it on in the morning on the days I'm off work and just listen to it at various times throughout the day, it is that good. Over the years I've learned to take reviewers "Raves" with a grain of salt, but Sam was right in that this may well be the last amp. I will need to buy (Thank G-d). I'm so happy with Sam's Pathos recommendation I'm tempted to buy the Harbeth monitors he recently raved about, also sight unseen. This integrated (The NEW Pathos Classic one) is a no brainer. Buy it before the damn Euro. goes up again. I recommend purchasing from Walter at www. underwoodhifi.com He is honest, knowlegable, and has competitive pricing

Similar Products Used: Unison Unico, Unison SR-1, Audio Analogue, Jolida 302 & 502-B, Rega Mira, Cambridge Audio, Musical Fidelity (Various), NAD, etc. etc.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
alexs   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 25, 2004]
Strength:

Sound more like music than anything anywhere near its price point. See comments above.

Weakness:

Not enough current delivery for inefficient speakers. Limits speaker choices somewhat.

Some time ago I made the decision to downsize my audio setup which consisted of BAT VK5i, BAT VK200, BAT VKD5, Avalon Arcus speakers. I went on a lengthy search for the perfect reasonably priced integrated amp. I found the Pathos Classic One and was attracted by the looks. Upon doing a little research, I found a glowing review on Stereophile where Sam compared the Classic One to amps costing $20K and more. So, without even auditioning the item, I bought one. As soon as UPS delivered it, I hooked it up to my speakers and my newly acquired Music Hall MMF CD-25 and was immediately blown away. Sam was right! The little Pathos along with the CD-25 completely blew away the BAT gear. Keep in mind that the BAT stuff is all Stereophile Class A rated and costs 5X the price of the Pathos/MMF combo. I would have to say that this little integrated is a HUGE bargain. If you can affort $2K, BUY IT! Run, Don't walk! To my ears, all aspects of hi fi performance were improved over the BAT including tonality, imaging, detail, microdynamics, focus, and even bass extension and definition. Even my wife who could care less was impressed and commented that the Pathos sound warmer and more natural. The problem is, it doesn't have enough power or current to drive the Avalon speakers. Even though the end result was definately an improvement, the system sounded somewhat constrained at times. After speaking to my local Avalon dealer who also is familiar with the Pathos, it became clear that I had a decsion to make. Do I sell the Pathos or the Avalons. Well, the decision was a no brainer. The Pathos is a keeper! The Avalon's went on their merry way and were replaced by Von Schweikert VR1's. The bottom line is: I replaced $20,000 worth of stuff with a less than $4,000 system and can not be happier with the results. The only caveat is make sure your speakers have a stable resistive load of more than 5 ohms.

Similar Products Used: BAT VK5i/VK200, Krell KSA150/KBL, Threshold Fet 10e, Adcom.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Nylund   AudioPhile [May 02, 2003]
Strength:

Mids, highs, soundstage. The looks! (but this really is a matter of taste)

Weakness:

Hmmm...a bit weak bass and maybe a slight lack of strength with insensitive speakers.

Is it a pasta machine? Or is it a new state of the art espresso cooker? No, it's the new Pathos Classic One amplifier. With knobs on. So, this is review of the NEW Classic One, with 75 WPC. Plus some other refinements, e.g. Sovtek 6922 tubes and a new potentiometer. I was at the start a bit sceptical if this beauty would drive my Dynaudio Contour 1.3 SEs which are somewhat inefficient compared to many other speakers. It turned out that there was no problem with any source I tried from rock to classic. Where the amp excells in particular is vocal and acoustic music. Female vocalists consistently induced the thrill/spinetingling factor; The Real Group singing "Bereden väg för Herren" (Make way for the Lord) gave a distinctive lump in the thoat to yours truly. The sound is forward with good sounstaging, both wide and deep. The bass could be better, but the mids and highs are very sweet. I had the opportunity to listen also to the Pathos Logos amplifier selling at double the price. My expectations with the Logos were very high based on the Classic One experience. I was dismayed to find that the Logos sound was flat, unengaging and somehow "unewen", meaning that vocals were way back, almost "weiled" and some highs were in contrast wery much forward. Honestly, I do not know what the fuss is about with the Logos (see Ken Kessler's review for instance). In my system (Dyn 1.3 SEs, Arcam FMJ CD-player) the Classic One was much, much more in balance. So, do try out this little gem of an amp if your budget is aroud 2000 euros. It may turn out to be a good good or very good choice. I found it simply astounding with some well-recorded music samples.

Similar Products Used: Marantz, Cyrus, Classe CAP 101
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
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