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I did not grow up in a house where any German music was ever played; the Nazis exterminated more than one hundred members of my family and my grandparents were survivors of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. My mother was born in a DP camp in Stuttgart on Israel’s Independence Day in 1948 and the family has struggled with the concept of anything German for more than 75 years.
My heart has gravitated to Italian, American, Japanese, French, and British products over the past 51 years and I don’t see that changing; Thorens is technically Swiss, and I proudly own 2 of their vintage tables that I had restored by Vinyl Nirvana.
I have enormous respect for Clearaudio as a company and the wonderful people behind it. I spent some time with Peter and Robert Suchy in Italy at the Top Audio/Video Show many years ago and could not say enough nice things about them. Excellent people who really build fantastic audio components. It did not shock me at all that Naim selected them to build their new turntable.
The Vincent SV-737 Integrated Amplifier that I reviewed last month was the first piece of German hi-fi that I’ve ever spent time with in over 23 years of writing about our delightful hobby. It is Schnecken of the highest order.
A little more context before I add some additional listening impressions.
My childhood featured the music of Simon & Garfunkel, Dvorak, Edith Piaf, the Beatles, Chuck Mangione, Donna Summer, Leonard Bernstein, and anything in Hebrew or Yiddish.
It was not acceptable in my home to ever play anything recorded in German. My Safta who was raised on Kibbutz Yagur outside of Haifa encouraged us to listen to Arabic, Yemenite, and Kurdish music – but German was verboten.
I was never one to follow the rules.
I remember the first time I listened to Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen” and immediately fell in love with those two words.
Ferris Bueller drove that even further into my thick skull and I’ve been known to partake in the schnitzel, spätzle, and bratwurst without too much prodding.
I listened to the Vincent SV-737 Integrated Amplifier with 9 pairs of speakers but I’m going to focus on the two that really loved the German amplifier the most; the Magnepan LRS and PSB Synchrony B600.
The LRS are only $650 but present a rather demanding load to any amplifier; I know a lot of listeners who use amplifiers that are far expensive than the baby Maggies and those of us who love this speaker understand that we’re not being crazy doing so.
The Vincent proved to be ideal for the LRS; stable and energetic with excellent low-end control. The SV-737 is a wonderfully clean and transparent sounding amplifier (the internal DAC worked well with the Bluesound NODE serving as my primary digital source) but there is a clear emphasis in the bass; the LRS are never overloading your room with bass but I felt the impact far more with the SV-737 than other amplifiers that I’ve tried.
Bass notes had greater definition and slam in my 16′ x 13′ x 9′ den compared to the Schiit Ragnarok 2 Integrated Amplifier which sounds great with the LRS but runs out of gas much quicker. The Vincent is twice the price of the Schiit amplifier and a lot more powerful so that needs to be taken into account as well.
Esther Ofarim is a renown Israeli singer from the 1960s and 1970s who was voted Germany’s Top Female Singer in 1966 and someone whose music has been a constant in my home for many years. Esther was released in 1972 and has become much more difficult to locate on vinyl.
Ofarim can sing in Hebrew, English, Yiddish, Arabic, and German and she was one of my first experiences listening to songs in German as a child.
The Vincent’s warmer tonal balance and more forward presentation filled with listening space with an almost palpable version of the Queen of Safed and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a few moments of intense sadness thinking about my late-grandparents and time spent in Israel and Toronto with them.
The Vincent is really good at that — recreating all of the nuance and detail that makes really well recorded music envelop you if the speakers on the other end are up to the task.
Switching to the far more neutral sounding PSB Synchrony B600 speakers, the SV-737’s warmer tonal balance was a definite plus. The B600 do not sound like stand-mount loudspeakers at all, bending the rules of physics delivering powerful and driving bass that is not the norm with 2-way loudspeakers on a pair of stands.
The Vincent doesn’t have the iron grip of something like the Aragon 4004 MKII power amplifier or Cambridge Audio Edge A, but it’s damn close.
Paul Barton has done something special with his Synchrony B600 speakers and they are not the right speakers to throw wimpy watts at; they require power and a lot of control to really hear what they can do.
The Vincent SV-737 fits the bill here and then some. Listening to Metallica’s “One” from …And Justice for All really got the blood flowing and created some angry glares from the family.
The Vincent doesn’t carve out the largest soundstage I’ve ever heard but it’s rock solid in the middle and a very dynamic sounding piece of metal.
If you’re looking at spending up to $4,000 on an amplifier, the Vincent SV-737 needs to be on your shortlist. It has flown beneath the radar for too long and is extremely capable with all genres of music. It’s also built like a Leopard 2 MBT and very reliable.
For more information: Vincent SV-737
Where to buy: Pangea Audio