GLOW Audio Amp One Review

Audio/Speakers&Amps by KeithSuppe @ 2009-03-15

Glow Audio´s Amp One reflects what many industry professionals see as the future of home entertainment. The role of the Personal Computer as a multi-media center. Apple has been on top of this for sometime but even Apple doesn´t build sound systems per se. So what does the GLOW Amp One offer

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The Glow

The "glow."

Madshrimps (c)

Vaccum tubes have been a mainstay in "HiFi" since the term was coined. Perhaps no other area of consumer electronics derives its materials and designs from such esoteric and exotic sources. As far as single ended tube amps many are based on tubes made in the early 1900's. As an example the Western Electric 300B vacuum tube, originally manufactured for telephone transmission in 1938, was found to be an exceptional device for audio. The 300B is widely considered to be one of the most quiet, natural sounding vacuum tubes with recent demand's so great Western Electric re-issued their 300B, you can learn more in this Antique Radio Classified article; The 300B Lives Again! As audio components become more detailed and accurate in their presentation, the underlying theme is neutrality. At some point cohesiveness between audio devices becomes critical and the slightest change replacing one device for another can have a major impact on sound. This includes cables and for testing I chose the Oyadie Tunami Nigo speaker cables which will be included in my upcoming cable round-up. Below the Tunami Nigo cables terminated with their SRBN banana plugs.

Madshrimps (c)

Musicality is a term tossed around like a direct heated triode. Yet this is what separates "listening" to music from an involving musical experience which most people have only heard at a live event, rarely is ever in their homes. What the Audiophile craves is a musical presentation so convincing you swear the performers are in the room. Many Audiophiles have spent enough on the hardware to actually hire the performers to perform in their homes. What has prevented the rest of us music lovers is either a wall of midfi mass-market, lack of knowledge such products exist, or lack of funds. GLOW Audio has spent considerable R&D in an attempt to bring musical realism to those once unable to afford the hardware. One method they've employed to keep costs down is direct marketing and I've chosen the often difficult task of describing how a specific product "might sound" in your home. My motivation is simply to share the auditory amazement and pleasure of my "first time." Whence in a small High End shop I sat, as 3-dimensional images infused with life and tonal accuracy convinced me I was there in the Studio. Some claim the ability of a product to re-produce recorded music can be "measured" objectively utilizing even more (costly) electronic instruments. The majority of the Audio Enthusiast community would disagree. While there are a plethora of SEP designed vacuum tube amps out there with the same specifications each has its own sonic characteristics. However, the Laws of physic's take no prisoners and when it comes to single ended Pentode and Triode amplifiers speakers make or break the sonic deal. With a power rating of 5W the Amp One requires a highly efficient (92B ~ 100+dB @ around 8 Ohm) pair of speakers. After many, many hours of research I chose Lovecraft Designs Cain & Cain Abby speakers and consider myself fortunate they were sent. They are an amazing product, emulating the source signal via the preceding electronics. Seen below in my hodge-podge system photo, their near-field drivers (white) were matched to my room dimensions.

Madshrimps (c)

Test System
CPU Intel Quad-Core Q6600 Kentfield (SLACR) Socket-775
Mainboard Foxconn Black Ops (X48/ICH9R chipset) BIOS P05)
Memory Patriot Viper DDR3-1600 2x1GB (CL7-7-7-20)
Graphics XFX 260GTX PCIe
Power Supply PCPower&Cooling TurboCool 1200W
Cooling D-Tek Fusion S-775 cpu cooler, Danger Den Black Ice Xtreme III triple radiator, 3x12cm Sunon fans (98CFM), LAING D5-38 Vario (setting #5) 1/2ID Tygon
  • Decco 50W hybrid integrated amp (USB-DAC Phillips TDA1541)
  • Tecon Model 55 single ended integrated amp (USB-DAC Burr Brown PCM2707)
  • GLOW Amp One Single Ended Pentode integrated with internal USB-DAC (C Media-102S)
  • Cain & Cain Abby single driver loudspeaker
  • Era Design 4 satellite loudspeakers
  • Zu Audio Julian speaker cable
  • Unity Audio Basic Link speaker cable
  • Unity Audio Solid Link speaker cable
  • Oyaide Tunami Nigo speaker cable
  • Unity Audio Basic power cable
  • Oyaide Tunami power cable
  • Operating System Windows XP SP3

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