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AVM Ovation SA 6.2 stereo amplifier Review

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I took up my position on the elliptical machine at the health club in the front row, the one that catches the morning sunlight. For twenty years I ran outdoors year-round and always enjoyed heading into the first rays of the day. Especially on cold winter days the sun’s warmth on the face was welcome. I have had people tell me that I am wrecking my eyes by facing the sun as I workout, but my prescription for eyeglasses has not changed appreciably over the past 7 years. So, I’m going to enjoy the sun as long as I can because in the winter it sure beats existing in an office until the workday is over, then emerging to… darkness.

This particular day there was a small mystery to solve as I ground out the hour of cardio: To whom did the BMW i8 supercar belong? Usually the stalls in front of the facility hold old sedans or pickup trucks, not carbon fiber 3 cylinder hybrid cars with swept-back lines capable of hitting 60 mph in 4.4 seconds! I was surprised to see a conservative looking young couple in their late 30’s whom I greet daily approach it, then pop open the gull wing doors, slide in and nonchalantly cruise away.

In this article we discuss another German made product, an amplifier that, while not having lines as bold as the i8, features very taut performance on a par with super-amps. We shall investigate the AVM Ovation SA 6.2, a pair of them in fact, which would set the owner back a cool $20K, putting one in the “driver’s seat” controlling a system anchored with ultra-fine amplifiers. Let’s talk high performance amplification.

 

How much better?

Every audiophile wonders the same things: Is vinyl that much better? Are tubes always warmer sounding? Do class D amps measure up? Is streaming audio fine enough for serious listening? Is the very high priced gear always better? While this article is not dedicated to answering those particular questions, it will address one particular question: Is there that much difference in performance between affordable solid-state amps and more costly ones?

AVM GmbH Audio Video Manufaktur, owned and directed by Udo Besser, makes very high quality components for, as might be surmised by the name, audio and video home use. Though the name may be new to those in North America, AVM has been building audio gear in its own facility in Germany for more than 30 years. A search for the U.S. distributor brought me to the site avm-audio.com, which suggests the company does not have a U.S. distributor currently. However, the brand has been seen at shows in the U.S., including the recently held AXPONA 2017. It appears that, for the time being, U.S. customers deal directly with AVM in Germany. During the review period I had faultless communication and assistance from Peder Beckman, Sales Manager of Americas for AVM.

I sought an Owner’s Manual for the Ovation SA 6.2, but it was not yet available in English. Having worked with several products from Asia and Europe it is not uncommon for the attending Manual to be a bit behind the curve. Thankfully, as might be expected from a long time maker of electronics in Germany, the controls of the Ovation SA 6.2 are well identified and intuitive. The “walkthrough” of the operations of the unit are as I discovered them while using the amplifier.

It would be in AVM’s best interest, however, to produce a Manual in new markets expeditiously as the potential for incompetency of less technically inclined owners leading to incorrectly wiring the unit cannot be overlooked. As it is, some features and operations of the SA 6.2 remain inscrutable without guidance. I discussed with Peder whether there was a proper location for the placement of speaker cables considering that the description of the amp’s features includes “2 pairs of loudspeaker connections, separately switchable.” My understanding of switchable speaker connections is that they are independently wired, allowing for multi-zone use. However, in discussion with Peder, he indicated I could hook up speakers to whichever appropriate black or red posts I chose, as they are internally jumpered. I saw no function for switching speakers as I worked with the amps, so I suspect the phrase “separately switchable” is an awkward description of the amplifier’s bi-wire capability.

The amplifiers arrived in style and safety ensconced in two heavy-duty flight cases. This is the right way to ship premium components. Communication throughout the review period was quick and precise.

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