Unleashed by ION Systems in what only now seems like the twinkling of an eye during the early 1990s, Richard Hay’s original amplifier concept stirred emotions in Hi-Fi freaks and music lovers alike. The Obelisk was something unabashedly different.
This very first 21st century Obelisk sports 5 line inputs, remote volume control, a beefed-up power supply, stand-by facility, and the ability to accept either optional phono stage or DAC modules. And that’s not to mention an entirely re-imagined preamplifier section based upon, and yet newly refined from our innovative 2-box Luna preamp. But we have never lost sight of the pivotal principles set forth by its classic predecessor; the active involvement of Richard Hay throughout the entire development of the new Obelisk range has been indispensable.
Technically speaking, the Obelisk defies conventional measurement. Mere specifications can be wildly misleading here. Consider output power: the Si is conservatively rated at 35 watts per channel into 8 ohms. While this represents a humble enough watt/cost ratio, here 35 watts don’t exactly equal 35 watts, since the Obelisk’s non-DC-coupled design behaves rather more akin to valve amplifiers (roughly speaking, Richard Hay’s approach was sort of a “valve amp built with transistors”) of similar rating. With this kind of power on board, better valve amps are capable of astonishing dynamic authority, and we’re more than satisfied that the Obelisk Si adheres to this paradigm and then some.
But perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of the Obelisk Si, in any configuration, lies in its inherent and exceptional musicality. With each listen, we are keenly reminded of how organic and life-like recorded music can be
| Technical specifications: || |
| Input 1. sensitivity/impedance: |
Input 1. with MM phono module:
Input 2-5. sensitivity/impedance:
Signal-to-noise ratio (A-weighted):
Distortion (THD, 1 kHz, 100mW):
Weight (Obelisk Si):
| 250 mV / 10 kOhm |
5 mV / 47 kOhm
250 mV / 10 kOhm
35/60 W (8/4 Ohm, 1kHz, <0.1% THD)
7Hz-60kHz (1W, 8 Ohm, -1.5 dB)
>150 (8 Ohm)
0 dBm (775 mV)/ <50 Ohm
Digital Audio Review
The Vinyl Anachronist