Roksan Caspian M2 Amp
So, I'm sure that you are all sitting with bated breath - wondering what system the bears now use for their music listening. Having jettisoned the Apogee Duet 2 after continual issues with it, Curly decided that it was best to move back to something more offering a more high fidelity approach. That meant running the audio from the Mac through a DAC, amplifier and speakers.
The initial purchase was a Rega Brio-R amplifier and DAC. Whilst the DAC seemed to perform well enough, the amplifier just didn't have the dynamic approach to music that the bears require. On hearing a Roksan amplifier (actually the Kandy K2), the bears finally found what they had been missing. They liked the look and reviews of the Caspian even more than the Kandy, and decided to splash out for the more expensive model (it won the What Hi-Fi Best Stereo Amp £1500+ award).
The Roksan manages to combine a dynamic sound - full of detail and rhythm - with a full bodied sound that never strays into the over-analytical or wearing approach that some hi-fi amplifiers can show. This is an intensely musical amplifier. It is also no shrinking violet - if you want a relaxed and laid back sound then this probably isn't for you. The Roksan amplifiers can make you notice things that you never heard before - and the clarity of some instruments can almost make you jump.
The Caspian (and the Kandy) also show some very impressive stereo separation - and they seem able to define instruments very clearly within a piece of music. Drum beats start and stop crisply, guitar strings have a beautiful tonal quality that (if you close your eyes) makes you feel as if the guitarist is right there.
Roksan's styling is quite individualistic. You may like this, or it may clash with your existing kit. There is a 'Black' version of the Caspian that (in addition to having the black faceplate option) has black dials and blue lighting. Very nice it looks too.
You get a Roksan programmable remote with the amplifier, which controls the motorised volume control, as well as switching of inputs.
There is little to complain about. While the Kandy has a headphone socket, the Caspian does without. The amp runs pretty hot - so don't put anything on top of it unless it is heat resistant. And Roksan recommend that you leave it in standby, which may not suit everyone.
So, to sum up - I'd recommend the Caspian M2 very highly indeed. If you haven't heard either the Caspian or the Kandy, you owe it to yourself to audition them.