SUGDEN: A21SE integrated amplifier test review

Jorg Dames writes:

Some things you know and like, even if you occasionally don't know why. Naturally, I knew Sugden. Of Sugden. While I always related to the brand as something I'd be interested to look into closer, I never really got around to doing so. I even had to catch up on pronunciation now. Though arguably counter-intuitive, the domestic importer assures me that it's not 'Sagden' with an 'a' and sharp 'S' but -- obvious perhaps to all those unfamiliar with basic English conventions -- 'Sugden' with a 'u' and soft 's'. So much for nonessentials.

On harder facts, Sugden clearly is no Johnny come lately, having plied the trade for a good forty years now. Founder James E. Sugden's first integrated reaches back into the mid 60s and was, at the time, one of the very first transistor amps to be biased permanently and deeply in class A. High bias currents remain a company motto to this day even beyond the power amplifier category per se.

Justifications for class A are the avoidance of zero crossing distortion and the shifting of a transistor's load lines into highest linearity -- deeper into class A -- for theoretically purer truer sonics. In West Yorkshire (England), individuality is further fostered with actual fabrication: Appreciating DIY, one mostly relies on in-house solutions, designs and production. As the website puts it, everything's "in hand, in house and under control!"

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