Cairn Aspen Integrated Amplifiers

Aspen

100 watts

User Reviews (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2  
astravitz   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 29, 2005]
Strength:

The sound was excellent when it actually worked.

Weakness:

Very poor quality control and design. The remote had problems, the feet were unbalanced, cheap speaker connectors, weird control knobs, did NOT work when turned off and back on.

This review is actually for the Cairn 4808 North Face, which is a 100 WPC Class A/B Amp. I purchased the Cairn 4808 from an authorized online Cairn dealer AudioWaves. Alan the owner has always been honest and knowlegeable about his various products. I own a number of Triangle Speakers, Celius 202's, Zerius 202's, Titus 202, and Comete 202's. I was looking to replace my Rotel RX-1052 100wpc receiver with something a little more. It's not a bad receiver, but it wasn't allowing my Celius to fully sing. I knew this because I hooked up my Arcam AVR200, which I use for HT, and it was slightly more detailed and musical. So, I read a review that recommended the Cairn 4808 as a good match. I was a little hesitant to purchase the 30 Watt Cairn pure class A, so I went with the 100 Watt Class A/B. Well the sound was extraodinary. You can see in the chassis of 4808 two very large transformers in a sort of dual mono configuartion through the top vents. The design was beautiful. Well the first thing I noticed was the unit absolutely refused to work with the remote. No big deal, just use the manual controls (two circles on the front of the unit. So, I was able to get a beautiful sound from the unit, pure, powerful, authoritative, voices that really sung out, with incredible orchastral reproduction. Then I turned off the unit and finally got it to respond to the remote. BUT.. NO sound, just a gargled small, little sound. I couldn't believe this was happening. So, I unplugged the unit, let it cool down, and then turned it on again after 10 mintues and it played again. Turned it off and turned it on and same problem. Spoke to my dealer, they arranged for pickup and replacement of the unit. Plugged in the new unit, it played great, turned it off and on again. Heard that familiar POP sound, and zero sound. So, I got so frustrated I called the dealer and am going to return the second unit two. It is my understanding that the original design of the 4808 was a pure Class A in 220 volts. The Northface came after and the 110 volts also came after. So, I'm going to assume there is a serious design flaw that keep triggering some sort of surge protection. Regardless of what caused the problem on the two units I'm sending it back and requesting a full refund. I don't know what kind of quality standards this French company Cairn has, but it performs like somebody made the thing in a garage. Also, they put terrible speaker connectors, the cheapest I've ever seen on a unit over $1,000 dollars. The feet on the first unit also were unbalanced. I never owned a receiver by any manufacture that couldn't have a balanced unit without wobbling on my stand. They also didn't have a 12 volt trigger for source components. Overall: I'd say stay far away from this manufacture, they have serious quality issues. At least my Rotel RX-1052 is built like a tank with a 5 year warranty. I was able to get a killer deal on a used Arcam FMJ A32, so this will probably be my new amp if it pairs well with the Triangle Celius 202's.

Similar Products Used: Rotel RX-1052, Arcam AVR200, etc.
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
Andy   a Casual Listener [Jul 24, 1997]

Cairn is a new name from Frence. They only have several model of CP players, tuner, amplifiers and speakers.I brought the Aspen which is an integrated amplifier for half a yr. It got 100 watts * 2 Ch. with a Pre-out for bi-amp, 5 line inputs, optical encoded volume and balance control, a remote control, finished in black Aluminium panel and with 20 Kg.
If you think British sound is warm, rounded and American sound is open, dynamic, then Cairn is at the mid. of them. It's details and punch give me a great impress. I got two CP players ( one Denon and one ES from Sony) and I can just hear the different after having Aspen.
What I don't like is the relays and the Microprocessor inside the unit. It make me feel like going with a AV amp. The four rubber nipple like feet are just a pain as well.
But overall as an USD1700 amp., it is worth to try and enjoy.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-2 of 2  

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