|Test: Johannes Maier Photos: Julian Bauer|
The original Igel was tested by Stereoplay back in 11/1986. However, after the latest update these Monos are springing back to life in a truly sensational way.
Model upgrading has led to a great sound
Even if SAC happily present the new and fresh Igel 60 for 1300 Euro per pair, the Essen based team are not hell bent on pushing their customers into buying a new amplifier. Walther Fuchs and Axel Schäfer take on the ageing Igels with great affection. Those being the original 40 and Mk2 as well as the stronger variant the 50 and 50 T
For a moderate 250€ per pair (upgrade of older models) thorough testing is done and, wherever necessary, a replacement of components is carried out. And, in every case, the new power supply Elkos from Panasonic as well as, next to low induction emitter resistances, fresh end transistors. At first, this is somewhat astonishing as we are talking about, as was the case before, the types 2SC2837 and 2SA1294. They originate, however, not from Sanken but from the Chinese-Indian company ISC who have raised their semi conductors with considerably greater music friendly distortion behaviour. As SAC found out and the “Stereoplay” harmonic distortion test (see right) on the relevantly equipped new Igel 60 quickly indicates.
With the newcomers the basic circuitry, which Stereoplay once named “the Germans” due to them also being implemented by AVM, T+A, Fidelity and other German amplifiers has also stayed the same. With that an input amplifier-IC (while its actual output is rounded off with a small load resistor) creates the following push pull stages through its plus/minus supplying cables, causing with that, in a stroke of genius, a perfect symmetry.
And-with the fine tuning- a perfect sound.
Right from the first tone, the testers were fully taken in by the Igel 60. Amplifiers in the same price category could almost be ashamed of themselves. Because as opposed to with them, the SAC’s bass drum hit right on the spot, with exactly the right verve and energy.-irrespective of if they were controlled by a high end Cello Encore or by a self made passive amplifier.
Vocals were reanimated by the Igels with every quaking lip and every breath.
Instead of just bringing hissing and similar, the 60ties showed very clearly, how a drummer gently stroked the Hi Hats or even lets the sparks fly off them. It became clear very quickly that the SAC’s had no limits, neither high nor low. Instead of a “round about” experience these 1300-Euro Mono blocks delivered hard music facts.
The Igels demonstrate with clarity and enjoyment how a Brad Mehldaus („Largo“/Werner), not only plays with the keys, but also with the felts of the piano. At the latest with the high cords and bass sounds, the exposure seems fuller and more flexible so that he comes out of it with the minimum of damage. He who has to calculate before a purchase and yet wants to hear the highs in astounding clarity, should bring this SAC pet into his home.
The Igel 60 from SAC is a further development
of a proven concept: On the other hand they represent
a quantum leap. There has never been so much quality
in sound for such a small budget.