By: Zeke Pliskin
5th Jul 2018
"An oldie but a goodie..."
I picked this amp up used at the same time I grabbed a Goldring Lenco GL75 vintage transcription turntable from a friendly and knowledgeable chap on Gumtree. The turntable impressed me a lot, but that's a story for another review.
I grabbed this as I also needed something with a phono preamp built-in, a lot of modern hi-fi and AV amps are completely lacking this feature. As such, I've only ever used it for the turntable, but I have to say, the tone is incredible.
The mids are so well-detailed and defined they don't need a control on the amp or a graphic EQ inline to "fix" them. The bass and treble controls are very responsive and sweep on or off a lot of either in a way that's very conductive to almost any style of music you might choose to listen to. The Loudness button is a godsend, pushing in some extra low and high end, so much so that I rarely turn it off as it helps brings the vinyls to life with clearer kick drum and cymbal tone especially. Usually EQ controls horribly colour the tone; in this case it's a nice benefit.
So the signal path for me is Goldring Lenco GL75 Turntable -> Sherwood AX4050R Amplifier -> Cambridge Audio SX60 2-Way Stereo Speakers (impedance matched to the amp). Everything I play on this fairly inexpensive setup has punch, clarity and really gets your head bobbing, making owning and playing vinyl a real joy again. The only problem is keeping the volume levels below deafening so as not to upset housemates and neighbours, something I regularly fail to do sadly for them.
In conclusion I would say, great bit of kit and very cheap to grab due to the age. Mine doesn't have the weird 200Hz hum problem that is related to capacitors in the A/C supply going, maybe it only applies to US 120v models rather than my 240v UK one, but either way, as long as it lasts I will continue to use it. I thought eventually I'd need a valve amp but honestly, it sounds pretty warm and full to my ears. I sometimes run it in a pseudo 7.1 surround sound by having the tape loop out of the Sherwood feeding my Sony STR-DE595 set to Dolby Pro Logic II for a massive room filling sound that almost mimics being in the room as the album is being recorded! The tape loop is also pretty good for feeding to a USB adapter to rip vinyls, if a little flat on bass/treble response (maybe I should use the headphone out and see if that helps, so I can add some extra tone that way).
Would I recommend this? You bet. Performance on a tight price point, if that's not a bargain I don't know what is!
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