Main Standout Demos April Music
April Music

April Music hails from South Korea, and they are the parent company behind two impressive brands shown in this room: Stello and Eximus. (April Music also owns Aura, but that was playing next door.)



The sound in the April Music room was all that we expected, given that they were using Magnepan 20.1 loudspeakers, which we know to be excellent performers if set up and powered correctly. Also present for our demo was April Music's new Eximus CD5 CD player ($9000) and the Stello Ai500 integrated amplifier ($3500). The Ai500 was actually reviewed on SoundStage! this month.

We listened to two tracks off a CES sampler CD, and both sounded detailed, with a rich, natural sound. Vocals were full bodied, and there was a sense of a relaxed, flowing ease to the musical presentation. The bass was solid, the midrange transparent, and the highs were to die for -- no surprise given the pure ribbon tweeter in the 20.1. But the real surprise was the little Stello Ai500 integrated amp that drove the 20.1s so well. The 20.1s are a tough load and need a stout amplifier to sound their best. That this little wonder could control the 20.1s the way it did is quite a testament to both its significant build quality and circuit design (April music says it can output 150Wpc into 8 ohms and 300Wpc into 4 ohms). Color us impressed, which is why we'll describe the Ai500 a little more -- it's a product many audiophiles will (or should) be interested in, especially considering its reasonable price.


In his January 1, 2010, review of the Ai500 on SoundStage!, Philip Beaudette said, "I was never close to pushing it to its limits, but it always had heaps of power and gave me the feeling it had plenty in reserve." That statement rang true as the Stello Ai500 drove the mighty Magnepan 20.1 loudspeakers. In fact, the 20.1s were a seeming breeze for the beefy Ai500. No doubt that's due to ...


... the massive power supply that's front and center in the Ai500. But then the interior of the Stello is quite impressive for many reasons, not the least of which is its high-quality parts inventory. We were told, for instance, that the small pieces of hook-up wire seen near the back, top of the heatsinks cost $20 alone! Oh, and there's also a DAC on board should you wish to use it with a CD transport or computer source.

Bottom line: The Ai500 is simply an outstanding product for a very reasonable price. Overall, great room and great products courtesy of April Music. []

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