Audible luxury they said. This was the review of the Alabaster bu Son & Image. The original was in French, but they, courtesy of the reviewer Jan-Erik Nordoen, provided us with a complete translation. Here it is on full to download: Sonneteer-SON-&-IMAGE2016_EN. They seem to have like it quite a lot.
Here is an extract as a taster:
This Amplifier has a real talent to draw the listener into the music. The naturalness of the presentation is uncanny…Never a false step, the Alabaster manages every time to transport the listener into the music with ease, grace and resolution. This integrated amp does not impose its presence, but convinces with a natural and insightful approach
and a level of transparency unseen at this price point. Its rhythmic tracking is spot on and captures the pulse of any type of music without fault. Whether you need to immerse yourself in the splendour of classical music, the intimacy of baroque, the reverie of psychedelia, the calm introspection of meditation music, or any other musical space for that matter, the Alabaster will guide you with a sure hand…If I had to summarise this amplifier in one statement, it would be its utterly reliable ability to draw me into music regardless of my mood. That is a rare talent and one that usually requires spending considerably larger sums of money. I can give it no higher recommendation.
Audiophilia of Edinburgh also added their thoughts the Alabaster that year:
..what a revelation! I’ve rarely heard such a smooth, coherent and dynamic sound in one package, let alone at such a price.
And Ember Audio of NC.USA added:
[The Alabaster] is an audiophile’s dream – a hardy machine well-built and purposeful to its task of delivering all the crisp nuances without interrupting the signal path… As an amp it doesn’t just take you to the concert it puts you in the front row..The soundstage is ..almost engulfing the listener. However, not without lack of depth, as the tones..swell from a deep blackness extending back into the distance…The Alabaster is certainly an impressive sub‐$3,000 amplifier, and one that any listener seeking a great value in a well‐built chassis should consider. Excelling in microdynamics, presence, and detail, the Alabaster will make your music upfront and lively, showing hidden gems in your recording and presenting them in a grand and dramatic soundstage. The machine is built from quality materials, with simplicity and perfection in mind, as is easily seen from the hefty dials on the face to the solid binding posts and inputs on the rear. With over 20 years of production under its belt for this specific amplifier, Sonneteer has devoted endless passion, ingenuity, and engineering mastery to making the Alabaster a rare and valuable product. Find a way to hear one yourself and discover why the best sound is always found when companies strive for manufacturing purpose‐built electronics using only the highest quality materials and designs.
Before the year was done the Orton was able to sneak in another review. This time from Audio Magazine of Poland.
Sonneteer plays in a really convincing, often enchanting, sometimes magical way. The effects are spectacular… they are extremely rich in content, diverse, juicy and colourful.
Sonneteer has developed a distinctive and charismatic character in the direction of “analogue” , which everyone agrees, no matter what degree of style they meet. I would advise, however, in this unique case not to focus on previous expectations, leave them aside, on another occasion, and listen to Sonneteer “in the open”, allow him to reach us with his arguments rather than demanding our conditions. The results can be quite unexpected. translated from the original Polish
We think they liked it.