Aesthetix Calypso Light Preamplifier Review

11/1/2012 9:12:03 AM

Aesthetix Calypso is preamplifier designed of light, especially useful for stereo music because of natural, sophisticated and exact sounds.

Description: Description: Giá tham khảo 5.000 USD, ~105 triệu đồng.

Price: about 5000USD

There are two versions of Calypso pre-amp: Standard using gold Rel Cap capacitors (about USD 5000) and Signature using red Dynacap capacitors (about USD7000). Calypso is designed and assembled manually in California, USA. It has 2 colors - black or silver and weighs 18.1kg with Aesthetix logo in front and steel A-shaped keys. The case is made totally by aluminum with 0.7mm of thickness, so it can resist noises very well. The lid of the case doesn’t use screws that easily take it out to observe by hand. The version we tested was Calypso Standard gold silver Cap Rel capacitors.

Being a machine processed thoroughly in terms of technology and art, Calypso preamplifier is a great mind of the 2-channel hi-end stereo. In experience, we have connected with main sources: Denon DCD 3300, professional cassette Beocord 9000 of Bang Olufsen and Pioneer XL-1550 (metal Pioneer MM) via phono pre Music Hall pa1.2.

Description: Aesthetix Calypso has smart control, even preventing children from turning buttons.

Aesthetix Calypso has smart control, even preventing children from turning buttons.

We experienced power function of the integrated amplifier Technics SU-V100D 150W power/6 Ohm with the design using two power transformers by OFC copper in two mono parallel circuits. Sound was reflected strongly, fully, thoroughly and clearly. Bass was full and flexible; mid sound was bright, clear; high sound was full but only moderate, not satisfying if we listened in a long time…When listening to Beethoven Violin Concerto (Royal Concergebouw Orchestra) and Bruch Violin Concerto No1 (London Philharmonic Orchestra) by Kyung – Wha Chung pianist along with Klaus Tennstedt conductor, the system played Beethoven well but the part of Bruch, Kyung – Wha Chung was not as beautiful as Pinchas Zukerman.

We switched to try Bozak 929 power amplifier which had the total capacity is 520W/8Ohm and run 12 iron Motorola shells. Calypso and Bozak 929 was the combination between old and new. Bozak 929 power amplifier was intended to be invented for large speakers of the company such as Bozak B-410 Moorish The Concert Grand, so when it went with large preamplifier and speakers, they were still “perfect couple” though they were not made up in the same era. The difference between Bozak 929 and Technics SU-V100D was just “American accent” with Calypso preamplifier and Infinity speaker.

When being paired with light Calypso preamplifier, Bozak 929 also created a good coordination of light and semiconductor which was sharper each time we listen. With Calypso, bass of Bozak was deeper and wider compared with Technics SU-V100D; the mid sound was impeccable, especially with original records on cassette and LP; the high sound was excellent. Guitare/Cello Faro Robert Wolf und Fany Kammerlander CD published by GLM in 2004 in Germany was a good album whose category was hard to identify. It was played by classical instruments but the program was not restricted in classical authors. Over 11 songs of the album, track 6 La Vida Breve of Manuel de Falla (the greatest classical author of Spain) was still the most impressive. It was a polish transcription for guitar and cello. Listening to The Glenn Gould Edition – Bach – Toccatas BWV 910 – 916 CD box, we met soft piano sound as clavecin (harpshichor) of Gould.

Listening to Wandering River of Viet Anh in Thanh Lam Acoustic CD or StarsSet You Free in Stockfisch Records – Closer To The Music – Vol. 2, we found that not only instruments but also voices were supported by light Calypso. Righteous and jovial voice of John Denver in John Denver’s Greatest Hits LP was also moving and able to break many hearts of young ladies.

Description: Calypso has a large number of features…

Calypso has a large number of features…

In another experience, Calypso ran with Monoblock Rogue Audio M180 180Wpc capacity for impedance 8 Ohm/a lump. These two monoblocks beat AR TSW 610, Infinity Studio Monitor 150, Paradigm Monitor 11 v7 (new 100%) and especially Reference 3A Episode (new 100%) speakers. They used Analysis Plus Big Silver Oval wire.

Calypso had met “its partners” when being paired with M180 monoblocks of Rogue Audio. Together with AR TSW 610, especially with Infinity Studio Monitor 150, the system became powerful, strong, subtle but still rustic; whereas playing with Paradigm Monitor 11 v7 or Reference 3A Episode, they turned to be perfect because they were manufactured in the same year with the same price range (3A Episode). If the main idea of Calypsp and M180 was reckless in design, 3A Episode was simple and romantic. They filled each other and brought a perfect and balanced solution.

Playing back a cassette tape recording Bach’s hymns by Beocord 9000 with the system above and Episode, we saw that bass was deep, rounded and moving the body but it did not shake the furniture. Orchestra and chorus swirled. All huge tower speakers in Episode were smooth and there was no music grit.

Technical specifications

Input: 5 RCA or XLF (balance) lines, add 1 Tape (RCA or XLR)

Output: 2 RCA and XLR (balance), 1 Tape (RCA)

Volume control: 88 step volume control circuit, 1dB/step

Control monitor: input, volume, balance, phase, display, mute, bypass

Remote control: input, volume, balance, phase, display, mute, bypass and standby

Response frequency: 20 Hz - 20 KHz at -0,25 dB

Vacuum tubes per channel: 1 12AX7 tube, 1 6922/6DJ8 tube

Power consumption: 20 watt standby, 60 watt active

Dimension: height x width x depth: 11.1 x 45.4 x 45.7 cm including connectors

Transport volume: 18.1 kg

General remarks


Light design, sustainable with two monoblocks inside


Not taking advantage of older equipment (Technics SU-V100D).


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