The law of unintended consequence is not always a harsh mistress. Take the Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe integrated amplifier for example. Meant to be collected after the last review, a series of ‘locational complications’ (the polite term for ‘the courier kept delivering it back to the collection point’ style cock-ups) meant we retained the product long after the original review appeared in print; long enough to benefit from the latest round of software and firmware updates. The Gold Note IS‑1000 Deluxe was a good integrated amplifier when we first met it in Issue 175 and it’s a good integrated amplifier today. Physically nothing has changed – it’s the same physical product under test, with the same serial number… because it never even made it back to the factory, so hasn’t been upgraded in component terms. What’s changed is the ‘appvailability’, and a couple of firmware upgrades.
What’s changed is almost everything.
A quick recap on the IS-1000 Deluxe is in order. The Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe is essentially what happens if you let Gold Note’s P-1000 preamplifier and PA-1175 power amplifier meet on a hot date. Well, almost. OK, so the IS-1000 Deluxe doesn’t bristle with the same number of RCA and XLR inputs, and sports a built-in DAC and phonostage, while the PA-1175 is four and a half times more powerful than the IS-1000 Deluxe , but the similarity in circuit design makes the integrated model a very close blood relative to the pre and power.
The all-in-one concept of the IS-1000 Deluxe is clear; it talks to online streaming services like Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify/Spotify Connect, and Deezer like a native speaker, and its Roon Ready standing, vTuner support and UPnP/DLNA network streaming/USB stick replay means almost all the quality post-CD stereo bases are covered. The optional DAC board connectes to USB and Ethernet with equal aplomb, and it supports MQA and even converts DSD64 files to PCM where required. Furthermore, Gold Note steps away from the ‘arms race’ here by opting for the quality Burr-Brown PCM1792A DAC chip (which supports files to 24/192 precision) instead of a numerically superior and sonically inferior chipset.
As discussed in the previous review five issue ago, power is Class A/B and rated at 125 watts per channel into an 8 ohm load, with nary an op-amp in sight. A function unique to Gold Note (I believe) is an adjustable damping factor – ‘high’ is intended for bigger, less sensitive speakers while ‘low’ (which Gold Notes claims enables the IS-1000 Deluxe to mimic a low-power valve amp) is for high-sensitivity/monitor-type speakers. Note that these are damping rather than ‘gain’ settings, so the IS-1000 is adjusting its power output to accommodate different loudspeaker designs rather than changing its volume ceiling to match more or less sensitive loudspeakers.