SUMO: Rich May of Sumo: An Audio Dynasty

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John Atkinson wrote in 2010 .....

Way back in the mists of time, around 1980 to be exact, the Marantz company in Europe introduces a range of ostensibly cost-no-object solid-state electronics under the "Esotec" banner. Manufactured in Japan, but apparently designed in the USA, these ruggedly constructed components are noteworthy in that the power amplifiers are capable of being operated with the output stages running under class-A bias as well as class-B. The relatively expensive Esotec amplifiers sell in small numbers in the UK—remember that this is before the rebirth of the British high end—and pass into the history books. I am reminded of them, however, when I visit my friend Ivor Humphreys of Gramophone magazine at Christmas 1987; he is using a pair of the 30W mono class-A Marantz amplifiers to drive KEF R107s—and making very nice sounds.The paragraph above sounds like something of a digression, but bear with me. The scene changes, to California in the mid '70s. A forceful personality named Jim Bongiorno, once responsible for amplifier design at Dynaco, forms a company called Great American Sound to market his humongous solid-state designs, notably one of the first-ever muscle amps, Ampzilla. For various reasons, GAS fails to .....

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