Majeel Pristine A-S10
|Majeel Pristine A-S10|
Dual Monaural Power Amplifier
5 November 2002
Power: 100 watts into 8 ohms, 200 watts into 4 ohms
Inputs: RCA and Balance
Dimensions: 18 1/8" W ×8 7/8" H × 15 7/8" D
IEC Detachable Power Cord
US Retail: $5,000
#06-12 Redhill Industrial Estate
Telephone: (65) 878 0491
Fax: (65) 878 0492
Science, Style, and Sound from Singapore…
From the exterior, the Pristine is a stylish unit with flowing heat sink fins, a precision-machined aluminum front and rear plates, multicolored status indicator, and sound wave across the faceplate. Internally, at the core of this 100 Wpc amplifier from Singapore, is a proprietary patented technology called Floating Error Cancellation Technique FECT that is said to reduce overall signal error and distortion. The result is an amplifier that offers warmth not found in many other solid-state power amplifiers and a style to compliment the sound. I have listened to many solid-state amplifiers, each with their own unique design, and I must say that compared to other amplifiers in its class the Majeel Pristine is one of the more tube-like sounding.
Some of the FECTS…
Jun Makino, a Japanese maestro, invented the FECT technology to attempt to alleviate the undesirable electrical signals caused by the mechanical movement of drivers within loudspeakers. The problem occurs when electrical signals are sent back to the amplifier through negative feedback (NFB). Distortion occurs when this unwanted signal from the speaker is mixed with the audio signal. FECT technology is an effort to provide the linearity of NFB design and the signal purity of a zero feedback (ZFB) design. Without going into all the details behind FECT, which can be found on the Majeel website, the FECT design is said to work by reducing errors and distortion by isolating the error signal and feeding it through the negative speaker terminal. Therefore, the incoming audio signal on the positive terminal is separated from the error signal. The design goal is to allow the amplifier to maintain linearity, wide frequency bandwidth, and low total harmonic distortion.
The FECT technology of the Majeel Pristine is complimented by the dual-mono design. Each channel has it's own internal power plant that consists of a high capacity toroidal transformer and six capacitors. I found this design to provide the Pristine with the power required to exhibit control over each channel even when connected to demanding loudspeakers. Although I cannot validate the technical merits of FECT, I can say that the Pristine amplifier provides consistent sonic characteristics and speaker control from the lowest volume all the way through pushing it to the extreme.
I noticed Majeel paid close attention to all the details with this amplifier. The smooth sound of this amplifier is represented by the elegant design of the faceplate, rear plate, and heat sinks. This esthetically pleasing amplifier stands reasonably tall compared to other 100 Wpc amplifiers and weighs in at approximately 80 pounds. Moving this amplifier around is not the easiest because of its weight and the heat sinks, which cover the entire length of both sides. The Pristine A-S10 provides two pairs of binding posts per channel for bi-wiring, XLR inputs, a removable IEC power cord, and a set of impressive unbalanced RCA connections with a gold-plated, spring loaded cover that maintains an additional point of contact with the interconnect, all located on a thick precision machined aluminum rear plate similar to the faceplate. On this amplifier, the rear panel is as stylish pleasing to the eye as the front. So at first glimpse, this amplifier caught my attention. But I was really impressed when, after pressing the large oval power button and seeing the status LED turn blue indicating the amplifier was stable and ready for operation, I started listening.
I used two pairs of loudspeakers during my evaluation of the Majeel Pristine. The first pair was the Rosinanté Dulcinea monitor. This speaker is one of the most detailed and transparent monitors that I had the pleasure to listen to, and the small three-driver design is easy for almost any amplifier to drive. Although I am very fond of this speaker, I do find that it is not very forgiving to many solid-state amplifiers; the Dulcinea speakers immediately expose high-frequency harshness or the existence of an uncomfortable high frequency edginess of an amplifier. When I connected the Pristine the Dulcinea monitors, the result was an open and warm sound, very similar to that of a tube amplifier. The bass response was tight and controlled and the midrange was pure and transparent. The midrange, especially piano and vocal registers, was delivered with strong attack and then careful decay as the sounds slowly faded from the soundstage. The instruments maintained their own space within the soundstage, providing a very open and three-dimensional sound with excellent channel separation. The high frequencies were delivered smoothly, without any unwanted brightness or edge, however I felt that the Pristine did lack some upper end brilliance that gives a system thatcrisp sound. In my opinion, an amplifier at this price should be able to provide not only a warm, open, three-dimensional sound but also the brilliance that allows the listener to completely hear the initial attack of a cymbal or the sharp blast of a trumpet.
After several weeks I connected the Pristine A-S10 to a pair of Isophon Europa loudspeakers. For those of you not familiar with these speakers from Germany, they are large floor standing towers with 1 tweeter, 4 midrange drivers and 2 enclosed 9" low frequency drivers. I have witnessed this speakers cause other amplifiers in the same power class to clip and distort when pushed hard. But the Majeel Pristine showed no signs of struggle with the 6-ohm load of the Europa, even as I watched Stereo Times editor Clement Perry push the amplifier harder than I ever did in my listening. The power reserve of this amplifier easily handled strong transients, demonstrating a good control over the drivers when needed. The Isophon Europa's are very soft sounding speakers by design, with excellent midrange and imaging. The combination of the Majeel Pristine and the Isophon Europa provided amazing midrange presence, very forward and natural sounding, as if the musicians were performing in the listening room standing ten feet away from the listener. Unfortunately the combination of the two components did restrict the upper high frequency detail, which I find disappointing for a $15,000 speaker and amplifier combination. However, this amplifier will nicely complement a speaker that is naturally bright by reducing the edge and adding warmth.
With this amplifier I felt I could listen to anything because of its smoothness and warmth - this is not something I can say about every amplifier, especially with the Dulcinea loudspeakers. For those who listen to a wide variety of music, especially any type of rock, you will appreciate the sound of the Pristine. Sometimes, when I listen to some high-end audiophile equipment, especially amplifiers and speakers, I find that I don't enjoy listening to some of music many of my college favor, like Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews or Rusted Root; other favorites like Rickie Lee Jones, Sting and my Jazz collection may sound great, but these college favorites are often harsh and bright. However I enjoyed music from these artists with the Majeel Pristine because does not have the edge found in many other amplifiers.
I found this amplifier to excel with midrange and low frequency control, especially around piano and vocal registers. At times this amplifier sounded more like a tube amplifier than a solid-state, but for a $5,000 amplifier I would expect it to provide more high frequency brilliance and detail. The technology of the Pristine produces a low noise-floor, most likely because of the FECT design, providing an open and expansive soundstage that allowed me to listen for hours without any listening fatigue.
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