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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Matthew James’ Showroom’s Cello Encore Monoblock Amplifiers

Yes, Cello Electronics is still alive and kicking, though for most part flying extremely low under the radar since being acquired in 2001 by former Madrigal Director of US Sales (’85-’90) and Wadia Digital VP (’90-’95) Jim McCullough. Based upon the driver stage circuitry originally developed for the Cello Performance amplifier in 1986, the new Encore amplifiers pay even more attention to parts quality, reliability, power supply and resonance control.

What really differentiates this four box Class A/B (each channel has a separate power supply) monoblocks from the competition—not to mention the difference in heat given off between these solid state amps and my conrad-johnson ART amplifiers—is the amplifier's unparalleled ability to effortlessly drive the Martin-Logan Summit-Xs and bring the music to life. These amplifiers bring oodles of dynamics and a sense of ease to the best of my 15-ips/2-track tapes (coincidentally, my reel-to-reel electronics are based upon the Cello Audio Suite's original 603 module). Furthermore, there's no doubt that the amplifier's enormous power reserve (500 watts into 8 ohms or 1 kW into the Martin-Logan's nominal 4 ohm load) is in large part responsible for the system's sense of ease.

No matter, sheer brute force without finesse is pointless. With the highest resolution source material at my fingertips e.g. 15-ips/2-track tapes, the Cello Encore amplifiers cross into the rarified territory only previously experienced with tube amplifiers. Exceptionally transparent (especially when combined with the Cello Strings interconnects and speaker cables), the Encore amplifiers couple tube-like dimensionality with shocking amounts of spatial and harmonic resolution. Couple that with the amplifier's speed, precision and tightness at the bottom end and one has a true world-class amplifier.

- Myles B. Astor