Hsu TN-122HO Review, Cont.


The next option up is the TN-1220HO with a 250-watt outboard amp ($849 package price), or you may want to spring for the $1198 package that comes with 500-watt amplifier. Finally, you may just decide it's time to break the lease and go El Maximo—Two TN-1220HO's and one 500-watt amp ($1697, 3-piece combo price, not including bail bond for disturbing the peace).

The Hsu-exclusive amp is a very solid looking, high-end looking affair, with a thick aluminum front panel. On the panel are an on/off rocker switch; a blue LED indicator light that flushes purple when the amp's soft clipping feature is activated; and a large, very solid feeling sub output level knob. On the amp's big rear are located speaker level inputs for connecting to a system that does not have line level inputs available.  In addition, there are line level inputs for hookup to units with sub out or preamp outputs.

The Hsu amp has two sets of line level outputs. One set is an All Pass full range output for daisy chaining. The other set are line level High Pass outputs for connecting to your main system amplifier when you want to keep the low frequencies out of the main speakers, which also reduces the watt carrying load on your main amp. In addition, there is a crossover switch for bypassing the low pass crossover built into the Hsu amp that is used, for example, when you have an external crossover, like one in your home theater processor or receiver.  There is also a phase switch. Finally, there is the small panel that you unscrew to access the three crossover modules and to adjust the equalization settings.

The Hsu amp's crossover is a Linkwitz-Riley design with independently settable high and low pass filters. The Hsu amp comes standard with a 51Hz crossover, and there are optional crossover modules for other frequencies available from Hsu Research (28, 34, 43, 62, 75, 91, 109, 131, and 155 Hz filters are listed by Hsu).

Most of my Hsu listening was done with the TN-1220HO in a stereo system, although I also tried it in a home theater rig. In the stereo music setup, I used my truly remarkable Analysis Omega flat panel ribbon speakers. With Apogee sadly gone, and then when the company that made the Omega's, which was located in Greece, also went out of business several years ago, a large and very unhappy hole was made in the high-end market for great ribbon panels. The good news is that Omega is back in business, and also now has a U.S. distributor, Analysis Audio USA, (Mountainside, NJ)

The Omega's are awesomely musical speakers, and unlike many in the now dearly departed Apogee line, these big Greeks do not present amp-punishing loads. To drive my pair of panels, I use an unusual amplification setup. The amp I use is a Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature, a multi-channel unit intended for home theater use.  This amp, which puts out 400 watts into 8 ohms (810 watts at 4 ohms), all channels driven, can be easily setup such that the front main speaker outputs can be used to drive the high frequency speaker driver, and the rear channel outputs can drive the low frequency driver. This is known as a biamp configuration. Each Analysis Omega panel has its own separate crossover box, as well as separate binding posts for the high/low ribbons, so running the Sunfire amp in its biamp mode is a snap.

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