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So how about a non professional review? – Allegri Reference

“I ordered one of the first Townshend Allegri Reference passive pre-amplifiers to give it a try. Sale or return so to speak

Now at this point I could spin a few stories and flesh out my conclusion, but I won’t. Its just not fair to keep you waiting. After just two weeks I put my £25,000 world-class pre amp up for sale and learnt another important Hifi lesson, that less is more – especially when less is done well.

Townshend have developed and pioneered the Fractal process and brought to market the fractal F1 interconnects. Just like my balanced power supply from z-axis I can’t explain how it works or what is even done to the copper and wire. All I know is that their interconnects done with this Fractal wire bested my eye wateringly expensive interconnects and the Allegri Reference did the same with my eye wateringly expensive Pre-amp.

Now I understand that there are quite a few specialist hifi reviewers currently listening to the same Allegri Reference so I suspect the professional reviews will start to emerge soon.

So how about a non professional review? Just simple feedback, in the form of pen to paper, from someone who listens – and I mean listens – to music.

I have not been paid for this review. I will not benefit from this review and I will not buy another Allegri so I can call this as it is. No bullshit and no marketing team telling me some other company keeps the magazine afloat with its advertisements. Just me, and a pair of superb 22hz – 60khz Gamut speakers, a pair of very transparent world class Gamut monoblock amps, a class beating Totaldac D1 Direct DAC, a comfy chair and both my ears. Oh and a glass of Balvenie – the 21 year old port wood (another masterpiece)

In such a case my review really starts here, and the fact I am in utter disbelief at what this unit has done to my system. How is it that when one removes a world class, beautifully made valve pre amp and replace it by a rather bland box (sorry Max), with some fractal cable and a volume control, it takes a huge step closer to being magical and real?

The three dimensional sounds which emanate from my speakers can now easily be perceived as ‘whole’. Every song I played experienced some magic. There is not even a power supply as it is truly passive so i am not sure what it actually does, but I can tell you that it makes a big difference and leaves my source to deliver its signal to my speakers as naturally and purely as physically possible. I have ever enjoyed music in my living room as much as I do with the Allegri reference in place.

After some thought I realised what had fundamentally changed – I am now smiling whilst listening to music. This is the best way to explain what this little unit has done, it makes me smile. It does this because it brings me closer to the real musicians and the real sounds and tones.

It lets me visualise the breath resonating on the reeds on Daze Days from Manu Katche’s wonderful 2016 Jazz crossover album Unstatic.

It lets me see the drum skins vibrate when the percussion is struck on Led Zeppelins classic Moby Dick

And it allows me to imagine what it would be like to be standing in the smokey bar at Blues Alley whilst Eva Cassidy casts her spell.

It is wonderful.

There are some other other advantages also…. Being Passive i now have a spare outlet in my balanced mains unit, for a server maybe? I can also sell one of my expensive mains cables because the Townshend Allegri Ref does not need it.

And, for the first time ever in my changing system, I am selling equipment and not losing money, even when factoring in the new Allegri Reference pre amp cost. This is not how it works in home audio. Lets face it, we all know that to get a better sound we have to fork out more money. Lots more money. Its’ the law.

But no, I feel like this is an Audio Hack, as my 10 year old would call it. I have bettered my system and it will not cost me money.

This is quite something – my advice is Try it, Buy it, Keep it. The Allegri Reference is an audio masterpiece.

James Darbyshire