Matthew James
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Cello

Looking back at the more than 25 years that there has been a Cello, the endeavor has always had the same motto,

"The justification for a great music system is the same as for a great instrument: It makes possible a musical experience that cannot be duplicated by lesser means"

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Amazing information retrieval; limitless power

The Cello Rhapsody power amplifier is the first product designed and manufactured by the Matthew James company, led by Jim McCullough, the Managing Partner. The Rhapsody is a 105 pound, 200w/ch (8ohm), AB mode, balanced from input to output, stereo amplifier. The plus and minus outputs each utilize 3 pairs of Motorola bipolar output devices. In general, fully balanced amplifiers display exceptional low frequency control. The Rhapsody, by virtue of its use of only the best parts available, and it's simple yet direct Cello circuitry, takes the positive aspects of a balanced amplifier to the max.

Another glowingly positive aspect of the Rhapsody is its chassis. An unprecedented amount of human and material resources have been applied to the design and manufacture of the Rhapsody, and these infuse it with a strength of purpose. It does not have the knife-edge corners of earlier Cello amplifiers, instead there is now a fine brushed grain visible in gently rounded corners. A deep blue metal band runs top to bottom and front to back along the center of the amplifier, providing the impression of a waterfall with its intensity of action. The junctures of the top plates and side panels fit immaculately, and there is not a single screw or bolt visible from the top, front or sides. Even the air vents in the top plates are in offset pairs which play upon the double L from the stylized Cello logo. The laser engraving of the Cello and Matthew James' logos are exquisitely delicate and beautiful, in fact everything about the appearance of the Rhapsody indicates simplicity and a sense of high-class gracefulness.

Every aspect of the sound displayed the same absolutely flawless character. Recordings of percussion provided accurate representations of the tautness of the drum skin, as well as the substantiality and weight of real drum sounds, through the Rhapsody. The bottomless power and infinite speed of the Rhapsody makes listening to the best percussion recordings an experience that can take your breath away. The sound of strings are smooth and pleasant, with just the right amount of resiliency against the bow, while voices are infused with flesh and blood, just as they are in real life.

In summary I have found that the Rhapsody has the following strengths with which no other high-end amplifier can compare:

1) Endless power: The DynAudio Confidence speakers have been in the primary listening room for some time, yet I have never heard such real and physically present drum sounds come out of them. The Rhapsody has extended the low frequency power, harmonic body, low distortion, high sound pressure level, and lightning fast transient speed of the speaker to a new level. The unprecedented low frequency achievement makes listening to reference quality discs an unforgettable experience.

2) Crystal clear high frequencies: Again, with the reference discs, the high frequencies from cymbals is absolutely clear, each and every tiniest detail can be heard with astounding alacrity, the metallic sound of the cymbal has not been diminished in the slightest way. High frequencies are fully resolved and super-high frequencies have endless extension. I cannot discern where the upper frequency limits of the amplifier begin to diminish. These delicately illuminated high frequencies are like stars in a cloudless sky. All of these sounds are reflective of the Rhapsody's high standards, to which no other amplifier can compare. In conjunction with the equally superior low frequency capabilities, the Rhapsody provides an uncanny sense that what you are listening to is at it would be in real life.

3) Lightning fast dynamics and true-to-life rhythm: Using the Cello Rhapsody to listen to Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody (No. 2 in C-Sharp Minor, conducted by Stokowski, and played by the RCA Victor Symphony), the tempo changes provide a sensation never achieved with other products. The contrasts between stillness and motion are like flashes of lightning. Amplifiers that are even slightly slower will compromise the intention of the composer. Jim has named his amplifier the Rhapsody, and I can see how it might have been inspired by Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody. I have used this amplifier to listen to a wide range of music and have found that the faster the tempo, and the more dynamic the music, the more clearly revealed are the qualities of the Rhapsody.

-He Sen