The Italian firm Pathos Acoustics is well-known for several things. First, it makes some beautiful-looking electronics, all chrome and wood and shiny metal. Second, it uses hybrid circuits in many of its best-known designs. Also, third is the fact that they sound outstanding; often out-performing many considerably more expensive designs.
Pathos is also well known for its InPol amplifier circuit, which effectively creates a hybrid, pure Class A amplifier, but this tends to appear on the company’s smaller products (and, paradoxically, its heavyweight flagship InPower Mk2 amp). To retain a degree of financial sanity (and not require a physiotherapist on speed-dial), the company’s big integrated is a non-InPol hybrid design, meaning the input section and preamplifier stage is pure Class A (and uses a set of Tung-Sol ECC803 valves), while the 200W per channel MOSFET-based solid-state power amplifier is a Class AB design. It also comes with a headphone amplifier that’s capable of delivering a very healthy 2W at 32Ω. In short, it’s little wonder Pathos Acoustics named this big shiny beast after the Greek god of strength; this thing could arm-wrestle a tree!
Don’t view its lack of InPol circuit as some form of compromise, however. Under the hood, the Kratos hides some innovative new design concepts, put in place to significantly close the gap between conventional hybrid designs and InPol. Pathos couldn’t and wouldn’t have made Kratos a few years ago, as the company would not sacrifice sound quality for added power, but recent advances mean you can have your cake and eat it.
With great power comes great connectivity (hopefully) and the Kratos as standard comes with five line inputs and two balanced XLR inputs. There are options for a built-in DAC and phono stage too, although we went with the standard line-level option.