Since the birth of CD it seems that there have been moves to justify its sound; emphasized two-dimensional leading edges, attack and dynamics achieved through forwardness and a lack of body.
In demonstrations, this type of sound initially impresses many customers because there is a feeling of more detail achieved by means of a stark, spotlit soundstage. Long term this type of synthetic sound doesn’t satisfy. Welcome to the ‘brave new world’ of dry, mind over heart hi-fi, stripped of tonal colour.
A counter-reaction to this was the re-emergence of some single-ended designs which are initially entertaining with honeyed tones but long term you feel that you are seeing things through rose-coloured spectacles and missing insight into the recording especially at the frequency extremes.
The new Croft range of amplifiers include the Series 7 and 7R power amps which are directly coupled to the speaker like an OTL, yet more user-friendly and universal in application.
The latest Croft pre-amps have greater `speed` than their predecessors due to a simpler circuit while still retaining the body, detail and a midrange to die for. They include a superb phono stage which when compared to the vast majority of non-valve outboard phono stages on the market, give a feeling of depth and body unlike the grey, metallic-sounding transistorised competitors. The fad for stepped attenuators has evolved into one for passive transformers such as the Music First. This too is stark, hyper–detailed, initially impressive but not musical unless used with overly-rich ancillaries.