The journey HPI-300
The journey begins with the love of music, the fascination of sound, the experience of being there. Music that carries you away, like at live performances, where you really go wild on the dance floor, or in the concert hall, where the size and depth of the whole and the subtlety of individual instruments get under your skin.
Live, these impressions seem to come easily, but what if you want to enjoy them at home as well?
At the beginning of the journey, as is probably the case with many, one sits down and reads test reports. There are plenty of books on the subject and, if you're lucky, you may even know someone who can advise you. Ideally, you have a friend who owns a hi-fi system or is even a dealer.
After about a year of searching and listening to various hi-fi shops and friends, with my girlfriend always there as my personal design and sound consultant, I finally bought a pair of speakers as the starting point for my system. Add an integrated amplifier (hybrid), a good player and off I went.
And like many people, this is where you start looking for improvements. A little bit is still possible, but is it due to the capacitors or the tubes? There was more emotion live, wouldn't another device be even better?
Thankfully, I was able to draw on listening experiences from my friends, some of whom had experienced first-class systems for more than 100,000€.
After a few tuning attempts, I decided to buy another amplifier: Monoblocks. This time used, much cheaper than new, and better of course.
Great device, unfortunately the speakers are too small now, they just lack that boom I don't want to do without.
New speakers: big, used and better. Great boom, but it's spongy, the whole sound is just soporific.
But is it the monoblocks' fault? Another new used integrated amplifier, this time in a similar price range as the speakers. 15,000€ Yes, good decision, goes very well.
After a total of four years of tuning, swapping and spending a lot of money, I finally reached my goal, I thought. Actually, I was tired of investing more. I had already arrived, a few percent more sound cost a fortune, I knew that, I wouldn't go along with it. Nevertheless, there was always something missing in the sound.
How could it be otherwise, a good friend, also from the hi-fi world, told me about a guy in Graz who builds his own amplifiers. Namely tube amplifiers, and he has been doing so for decades. So it was all the more obvious that, in order to keep up with the times, a hybrid model was added to the portfolio. I had the chance to listen to it at this friend's place, who is also responsible for distribution in the Vienna area.
After the demonstration, I was very impressed. Present dynamics, attack that is unparalleled and yet the subtlety that can so easily be lost.
The next day I borrowed the instrument and from the beginning it played better than anything I had played before. Attributes such as joy of playing, transparency and realism, if I may borrow them in this way, were simply not in the vocabulary of previously heard amplifiers.
Out of interest, I visited Mr. Paltauf personally in Graz in his small factory. He took his time and showed me the internal construction and circuitry of his hybrid:
The inner essence of it is the interplay of the circuit itself, which probably does not exist as a whole anywhere else in the world, and the use of parts that only arise because of their function. The whole thing is still based on very good supplies, which provide a solid foundation. The construction of the circuit itself is clean and made with emphatically few components in the signal path, in order to avoid sources of error in the first place, he explained to me.
In short, I bought a Paltauf hybrid amplifier.
This is now the centre of my system, as it has to handle most of the variables within a hi-fi chain. The speakers and I demand and the amp just serves. As good as no other before.
In the course of time, first-class power, RCA and loudspeaker cables were added, from which the overall sound impression benefited considerably. Also, the so-called feet under the units have a decisive effect on the sound and are indispensable.
And now? I have arrived, a long and instructive journey, but at my destination! Experience is always gained shortly after it is needed, as the saying goes. I urge everyone who is planning a similar journey to take a look at this amplifier in order to cover fewer empty kilometres.
Yours sincerelyMarcus Kohl