Finding The Best Medium Class Stereo Amplifier

Apologies for the utter audio-gadget-geekiness of this post, but figured I have to share my notes. A Google search for “naim primare densen heed comparison” returned very little useful & recent material when I embarked on a search for a stereo amp recently. I hope the below somehow helps the next person trying.


For reasons beyond my control I was stuck at home for a few weeks in a state that allowed for little talk or work, but the more for light reading and writing and most of all – listening to music. While at it, I came to a conclusion that I’ve outgrown my good old Arcam AVR200, one of the most “musical” AV receivers in its class and at its time about 10 years ago. It’s the usual story of being too busy to sit down and just listen, and the limits of sleeping kids in the house set to the volume you used to operate on in college. My current setup has been quite fine for the quiet loungy backdrops for when you have some guests over, but just a bit too… bland when you really focus on it.

To make things even more complicated, my upgrade needs are somewhat “temporary” (as in those things that usually end up becoming permanent). After my awe over the sound of the Estelon speakers late last year (disclosure: followed by an investment into the company) it is only a question of time when I’ll make that upgrade step too, just not sure to which model yet. So for now I needed something to match my “temporary” Audes Maestro 145 floorstanders – a good price-performance bet any time, with capacity to fill the room (especially at the lower end), but definitely not the easiest to drive.

As a source I’ve effectively moved away from CD-s (played via Arcam DV88+ or even plain Sony BDP-S383) to Sonos ZP90 streaming either MP3 or ALAC files locally or live from Spotify or Rdio (when available). Everything is increasingly digital, with all the benefits and problems coming with it.

In this context, I set myself on quest to buy a good, musical stereo amp between 1000-2000 EUR, available in Estonia immediately for home audition or purchase.

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On Estonia at The World

To share another recent radio appearance (the previous one in Estonian only, sorry) here is my interview for Marco Werman at PRI’s The World that aired on a network of radio stations across the US in January: MP3, 4.5 minutes. We talked a little about Skype, but more about the factors that have enabled tiny Estonia to introduce a number of tech innovations both inside the country and for the world.

To understand the context for the interview, please listen to (direct MP3 link) Cyrus Farivar‘s report on Enterprise Estonia opening offices in Silicon Valley, featuring also Andrus Viirg and Steve Jürvetson.

PS: on a totally different topic, I got reminded of the above audio files being available by a blog post on The Future of Newsrooms. Interesting reading around journalists’ changing role (information broker VS investigator). I’m afraid this specific post above here creates a crashing meta-referral of “my own thoughts” back to “mainstream media”, El Oso?

Kukul Külas

Nädal tagasi käisin Kuku raadio saates Kukul Külas. Aukartustäratav – 15 aastat saadet ja üle 700 külalise, mitte keegi neist rohkem kui üks kord.

Olin kutset saades mõnevõrra kõhklev ja ebakindel – raadio otse-eeter ei ole küll nii hull kui televisiooni oma, aga kaks tundi isiklikel teemadel grillimist, ilma vigade parandamise võimaluseta võiks iga inimese tema mugavustsoonist pisut välja tõsta.

Tegelikult juhtis Janek Luts vestlust väga mõnusas võtmes. Rääkisime eelkõige Skype’ist, Eesti majandusest, riigi tulevikust ja muust. Liigsesse isikukultusesse laskumata.

Nagu ikka, on audiosalvestused võrgus olemas: esimene tund ja teine tund.