AESTHETIX ATLAS ECLIPSE Power Amplifier – Greek Myth or Audio Powerhouse?
Aesthetix has developed an enviable reputation as a manufacturer of elite components at down-to-earth prices. The company’s earliest products, the all-tube Io phonostage and Callisto linestage, have long set the stage for what is possible in modern all-tube designs. As the mainstay of Aesthetix’ top “Jupiter” line, these products have received updates and modifications through the years and have developed a loyal following among audiophiles who value the sound of all-tube electronics. In their latest “Eclipse” finery, the Io and Callisto are major players at the highest echelon of the audio world. The prices have gone up, of course, but Aesthetix founder and designer Jim White still prices these units below the cost of most of the direct competition.
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All in all, my listening experience with the Atlas Eclipse monos was thoroughly enjoyable. They are extremely transparent, thereby curing the major issue I had with earlier versions of the Atlas amps. All music emerges out of a completely black and quiet sonic background, thereby enhancing low-level detail. Further, these amps are very powerful, easily getting the best performance from my inefficient Magnepan 20.7s without any strain or sense of compression. The Eclipse offers many of the sonic advantages of all-tube designs, approaching and sometimes equaling many of those designs in depth and width of soundstage and three-dimensional reproduction of instruments and voices. At the same time, the very extended upper frequencies of the Atlas may seem, on some recordings, not quite as laid-back as some tube amps. Over time it became apparent that these amplifiers do not impose any particular sonic signature upon the music and, far more often than not, reveal air, space, and detail lost on lesser gear. Moreover, in the low frequencies the Eclipse amps seem to exceed the performance of many tube amplifiers in that they exhibit the power and tight control of high-power solid-state amplification, yet without dryness or loss of instrumental texture.
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In short, the Atlas Eclipse monos are highly recommended. They offer elite high-end sound quality, great flexibility and user friendliness at a reasonable cost in today’s market.
– Don Saltzman | Jun 30th, 2020 | TAS