Audcom seems to have captured the 1960¡¯s classic golden sound, feeling, and the retro look of a Harmon-Kardon Citation II power amp with their 60 lb. AP900 A integrated tube amplifier. Don¡¯t be fooled, it is also a preamp with only two knobs and an on/off button with red LED indicator light. A volume control and an input selector for choosing from four auxiliary inputs, one being labeled as CD, are indeed all that is necessary once you power on. At the rear, a computer-style fused three-prong 110V plug in, gold plated 5-way high quality binding posts for speaker output in the 4, 8, and 11W range. Atop the chassis are two massive, potted output transformers and a centered power transformer with a polished nickel-plated top cap telling you that this is no ghost from the past! This is a modern musical hot-rod with beautifully lacquered deep mahogany colored real wood side panels held in place by gold-plated retaining hardware. After you are moved by the aesthetics, the time has come to remove the side panels, take off the well executed black cage-type cover and insert the tubes of Chinese manufacture into their perspective sockets. The tubes have been tagged with numbers to follow a pattern of insertion from the manual. Pay careful attention to that pattern, as it may not be as you expect.
Once that is completed, you may place the cover back over the tubes or leave it off and merely replace the side panels and their retaining hardware. Depress the power button and watch the elements inside the tubes get to a nice, orange-red glow (It is a sight to behold without the cover, with the tubes lit!); wait about two minutes and play a CD.
A jazz CD with piano and a female voice is good. Close your eyes. If it feels like you are sitting in the front row of a jazz club, open them periodically to remind yourself that you are not. The only things that are missing are the cigarette smoke and the sound of glasses clinking amidst tableside chatter. You realize that you are listening to one of the best sounding amplifiers that you have ever heard for the price or much more. There is a switch in the midst of the rear speaker outputs that changes the gain, and feedback. In the lower position it has lower sensitivity with a higher depth of feedback. It seems to soften the upper treble of the program material. In the upper position, the sensitivity is higher with a lower feedback depth and the timbre seems ultra crisp and noticeably well defined.
I auditioned two types of speakers. Both pairs were of 3-way design. The first set is a slim, modern tower profile with 10¡± side firing woofers, 4¡± midrange with titanium dome tweeters at the top. The second pair is an older, more traditional floor standing, front-firing combination with 10¡± cast aluminum frame woofers and a dome midranges with glass element tweeters. I listened to many types of musical offerings including modern rock, classic rock, R & B, classical, Spanish guitar and piano. There were a number of purely instrumental songs alternated with a wide selection of vocal tunes. Both speaker pairs produced equally smooth and sweet midrange, crisp detailed voice reproduction, brilliant highs and deep bass with a punch that is missing from most solid-state amplifiers. This amplifier will take your breath away! What more could you ask for?