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To Howard Kneller,

Thank you for your audio reviews. They have been well written and much appreciated by me. I purchased a full set of Marantz Reference gear based upon your findings in SoundStage! Hi-Fi. And I have been thrilled with their performance.

Currently I am using these electronics with YG Acoustics Carmels. Cabling is Nordost Tyr and Valhalla. I feel I am approaching that level of sonic bliss that I have been chasing for over a decade. I will be trading up to the Kipod II Signatures soon, pending research concerning the soon-to-be-released passive subwoofer version.

Could you enlighten me on your thoughts about your Esoteric amplifier and how it may compare to the Marantz MA-9S2? I could happily live with the Carmels, but my undying audiophile desires lust for that last octave, hence the Kipod, and then possibly the Anat. My dealer will accommodate trade-ups, so I can slowly buy my way into audio heaven. Thank you for taking time to indulge me.

PK Das.

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you are enjoying the Marantz and YG gear. 

I think you will find that the Esoteric amps offer an increase in performance over the Marantz amp. They are both great amps. They sound rich and full-bodied, but the Esoteric amp also sounds a bit cleaner, faster, and more detailed.

I am currently using the Esoteric A-03 class-A amp in favor of the A-02 class-A/B amp that I reviewed. Other than the class-A/B amp's better leading edge, better grip overall on the drivers, and better microdynamic spark, the class-A amp outperforms the A/B one. The class-A amp is faster sounding, as well as more open, dynamic, and musical.

I think that trying the Esoteric gear would be fruitful. It certainly would not be a waste of time. On the other hand, the Marantz is probably one of the more underrated amps out there and is very good, too. Give a listen and see what you think. . . . Howard Kneller