Portal Audio Panache Integrated Amplifiers

Panache

100 watt per channel dual mono integrated amplifer with passive preamp section.

User Reviews (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3  
deadsexy   Audio Enthusiast [May 09, 2008]
Strength:

just plain good all around performance: it really gets you into a high-level playing field without paying stupid money for your anti-social hobby

Weakness:

not very sexy looking

This is certainly a quality product. I'd best describe it as a buy it and forget it type of amp, because it's good enough all around ,that you won't be sitting in front of you system wondering how you could improve this or that.
The power is high-ish, the bass is not overdone; in that it comes on strong when called upon, as apposed to being overly rounded, or too warm. As the reviews have mentioned; the mids are quite special, and realy is what sets this beast apart from the ordinary NADs and Rotels of the world, as there is a bit of tube-like sparkle there.
There's not a single thing that is bad about this product, other than its utilitarian appearance. I liked it, but ultimately I'm a Naim kind of guy and simply had to go back to Naim product, as it suits me best. ( the Naim sound is a bit more "attacking", which may bite some in the arse )

Customer Service

huh?

Similar Products Used: consonance A-120(nice trebble,but one-note bass..... ace), Kora Explorer(real good value)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Ivar   AudioPhile [Jul 11, 2006]
Strength:

Power, simplicity, build quality, overal neutral amplification

Weakness:

No pre-out

As with any review, my opinion is as good as anyone else's. So let me first describe the kind of system I am used to, since the term "AudioPhile" is too far off from being general.

I have always been a fan of hybrid speaker designs, but done right. I downsized my system from a Genesis/Audio Research tubed system to Infinity/ARC and now to a heavily modified Maggie 0.6QR/SE since I lack space and time to appreciate a finer and bigger system. I have a vast experience with other Genesis / Cello / ARC / Jadis systems and I am always looking for a planar/ribbon system, ideally powered by tubes on mid/highs and solid state on the bass.

Although my Maggies are not that hard to drive, they like a stable amp to kick some butt. I also wanted a serious amp with regards to build quality and internal design. Last but certainly not least I wanted an amp that would not sound like solid state, more like tubes. Some manufacturers have tried, resulting in either dark sounding amps, or better efforts (Pass, etc) but without serious power or stability for the money.

Along came the Portal Panache. In theory, it sounded like the ideal amp for me. An extremely simple design, passive pre-section and a beefy 200W/ch. In fact, it's an attenuated power amp. It's built like a tank and has enough inputs for any normal (downsized) system. I figured I order one and give it a go...

Now let's not get into superlative terms and stuff. A USD 1795 amp will never ever sound as good as a 10K+ amp, nor will it completely waste an amp in the same price range. But let me tell you this: every once in a while there is an amp that brings some magic. This is one of them. It easily competes with separates in the 3-4k price range, so I have to admit Portal's statement is not just advertising talk.

The Panache is one of the most honest amps you can get for the buck. Not in terms of absolute clarity, or stunning imaging, but it performs extremely well in what it should do: amplify. This amp grips the Maggies, delivers awsome power and has no signature sound. It's just not there and basically lets my CD-player drive the speakers.

The bass is rock-solid, a tad strong but going from ultra-low servo-controlled bass to not-quite-full-range Maggies this is a welcome feature. Other than that, the amp has no sound of its own.

Finally, a word on the Panache's features. Personally, I can do without a remote. I only skip tracks and hardly ever touch the volume. The imputs are enough for me, though I would have liked to see an attenuated output (pre-out) instead of the record-out (who still tape records these days, especically via an amp???). The reason for a pre-out is simple: even Joe of Portal said quite some Panache owners are Maggie or other planar owners. In that case, it's not uncommon people want to use an active sub for the ultra-lows....
The speaker binding posts are good quality, though non-isolated ones might have been better since some spades are not small enough to fit the slots of the isolation.

No component is perfect, so 4 stars for this impressive amp. However, since I cannot reward it with 6 or 7 stars, a big fat 5 star for value!

I highly recommend this amp to anyone who would otherwise be looking for a Perreaux or Krell integrated or the likes.

Customer Service

Outstanding!! Joe redefines the term customer service. Fast response, perfect advise and a pleasure to deal with!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
shoe   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 25, 2005]
Strength:

Sounds damn good

Weakness:

No remote

A few more details about the product: The Panache is an integrated amplifier with short signal paths and a passive pre-amp. It has a headphone jack, four sets of RCA jacks, record output, detachable power cord and left/ right gold plated speaker terminals. Dual mono Class A/AB . Weighs in at 32 lbs ( dry weight ). Remember that quote from the T.V. show Dragnet? " Just the facts, Ma'am " Well that's kind of how the Panache is except it's more like, " Just the music... thanks"! I was looking for a simple power source to drive my speakers that sounded good! No pre-amp to hook up, no multi room DTS decoding, no swapping tubes, you get the picture... After reading all the great reviews I decided to give it a shot. Well the Panache does the job and does it very well. Grain less, detailed, dynamic clean power and plenty of it. The Panache will deliver 200 watts into a 4 ohm load, runs quiet, cool and doesn't even flinch when played at higher volumes. I've compared it to three other amps costing about the same price, here in my home. The Panache seems to bring out more of the details yet is easier to listen too, provides more air around the instruments, gives a greater sense of liveliness, images are spread out just a bit more and bass is deep , powerful but tuneful. ( No bloated or rounded out bass notes ). Highly recommended if you are looking for a simple high quality amp at a reasonable price and don't need or want to pay for all the bells n' whistles. Portal will actually let you have a 60 day free home audition. What do you have to loose?

Similar Products Used: Onkyo TX 8511, Naim Nait 5i, Musical Fidelity A 3.2 , Arcam A85 , Unison Unico
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-3 of 3  

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