The PA550 is a sleeper. Its smaller compact design may lead you to believe that it is just another pre… but… IT IS A MONSTER, it has so much gain potential that it will drive any amplifier made with ease, and not even break a sweat.
The amount of headroom available in the PA550 can only be rivaled by pre’s that cost enough to drain anyone’s bank account.
The PA550 tone is full bodied, letting you know right away that all frequencies are covered and nothing is masked. It never gives you the impression that it is making the treble too shimmery, or that the bass response has been overly fluffed up. This is an all american, bold, strait-forward approach to reproducing your music.The phono input has a lot of surprising overtones that will truly bring your vinyl to the next level. The most surprising feature of the 550 is when you plug your phone into it (yes, we know phones have over-compressed formats that don’t ever qualify to be called “high end” or dare I use the word “audiophile,” but, for us, sometimes you just need the convenience of plugging your phone in and streaming something!) This is truly where the 550 makes its living. The reproduction of substandard formats is what the 550 will be know for. Plug your phone into the 1/8″ on the front panel, adjust the tone controls, and away you go. YES, tone controls, the purist’s worst nightmare… the audiophile’s reason for not even acknowledging a piece of equipment. The reality is that when reproducing some music you need to boost the treble a bit or pump up the bass. Sure, you could sell your current speakers and buy some that cost a lot more OR you could just adjust the controls to your liking, and bring your listening experience to a higher level.