We found the amplifier’s happy place was in a system comprising the excellent B.M.C. Audio BDCD1.1 and DAC1pre (in DAC mode) driving the Triangle Antal Anniversary also reviewed in this issue. Cables in this case were from the Chord Sarum TA range. At the time, I had no idea of the cost of the amplifier, but in assembling this particular package I made a system where the ancillary components all wound up costing more than the amplifier does (OK, so taken individually, runs of Sarum TA cost less than the amp, but as a complete system, they significantly exceed the cost of the Aeolos Super Plus).
The thing is, this shows I approached this in the manner you should approach all things audio; namely, with a completely open mind. More specifically, I approached it with a completely open mind as to price point. I had no idea whether this was a £2,000 amp or a £20,000 amp (it’s sometimes hard to tell). This means relying on gut feel as to its place in the world, and as such I felt the aforementioned system was ideal. It was only later, that I realised the amp was the cheapest part of the whole deal, which highlights just how good the Aeolos Super Plus really is. It more than stepped up to the task I had given it.
The amplifier has a lovely midrange, and ‘lovely’ is the best word that fits the job. It makes a sound that is warm, yet energetic, inviting, clear, and open. And lovely. It’s almost made for female vocals, whether solo voice or something like Elizabeth Fraser’s vocal on the excellent ‘Teardrop’ by Massive Attack [Mezzanine, Virgin]. Her voice has an intrinsic sense of beauty anyway, but the Aeolos Super Plus really brings that front and centre. You find yourself seeking out vocal and piano music as a result, because that midrange is so enticing.
This sweet midrange also extends to the treble, too. Overall, the sound is extremely civilised, as you might expect from a society that gave us Plato, Euclid, Sophocles, Homer, and Gerald Butler in his battle shorts. It’s a sound of great refinement, control, and honesty, which is at home with a wide variety of sounds. It is perhaps more geared away from the more ‘full-on’ aspects of music; there are amplifiers more comfy with pumping out Metallica – or for that matter, Mahler – at full tilt, but if you are in the market for some sophistication, whether in string quartet or jazz combo, the Aeolos Super Plus is a refined and elegant sounding performer. It carefully avoids the pitfalls of sounding ‘too’ valve like and warm, but makes its music sound so very sweet in the process.