24 January 2016
- Product Reviews
Dan D'Agostino Momentum Integrated Amplifier Review
This is where D'Agostino has been able to make his mark and establish a brand which is truly high end in every way as he has been able to produce items that have his name stamped on them and that means he wants them to be the best that they could possibly be with no parts or cost to be an issue. I think with the Momentum series we have seen how incredible these amplifiers and Pre-amplifiers can be, as they are state of the art with no expense spared and they look as good as they sound. It is now not the case of just having a black box sitting inyour cabinet but a luxury item which could also be called a workof Art. My girlfriend even commented on how beautiful the D'Agostino Amplifier looked, and this is something that she never does, as she usually always comments, "just another ugly black box" but the D'Agostino is a completely different kind of amplifier. It is one of the most if not the most beautiful looking amplifiers I have ever laid eyes upon. Dan D'Agostino Momentum Integrated Amplifier Features and Build QualityWith the Momentum Integrated Amplifier features are not high on the list of priorities rather the build quality and sound of the amplifier has been focused on. Dan has built an amplifier which takes on both the best of the Momentum Stereo and Pre-amplifier electronics and manages to get the same quality from the one unit instead. He has managed to do this by using a two box design, with the power sections sitting in the bottom unit which is a solid piece of aluminum billet with three toroidal transformers into the rather slim casework. This keeps all the sensitive electronics away from the high currentsand magnetic fields that are generated from the power supply. The amplifier and electronics section in the top unit. It is a clever design and uses an umbilical chord to attach both units together which negates the need for two power inputs.

The design and build of the amplifier is the best I have come across of any kind of amplifier and I would class this as a real luxury item as it is engineered to be the best it can be. To be honest it sits in a class of its own when it comes to design as their is nothing quite like the Momentum with its industrial looks and the front dial and bezel which looks stunning and is more akin to the looks of a Swissdivers watch in its quality and the way that the well damped dial moves and glows a beautiful green color when turned on. It is a joy to use and watch as the volume is engaged and turned up as that needle starts to move so elegantly.The case work feels so solid and with copper being used for its unique heat dissipation properties the Momentum does not use the familiar fin type heat sinks, but rather they are venturi style holes which run through the whole of the case work. This improves ventilation and heat dissipation for the amplifier.Their are six inputs for the Momentum and all are of the XLR type so the amplifier is a balanced design and therefore excepts only balanced inputs. If you are unfortunate to not have all balanced type equipment then adapters can be used to convert RCA to XLR. It has Theater By-pass as one of the inputs so that you may use the amplifier with an AV Amplifier should you so wish to integrate it into your Home Theater.

An unusual feature was the inclusion of Tone controls which can be initiated by pressing the front button on the amplifier and then using the control knobs on the front of the amplifier. I could possibly see this being of some use with older recordings which are more top heavy than today's standards so could do with some of D'Agostino's magic. There is also a Headphone input but it is on the back of the unit which can make it a little tricky to get to, but then again why would you want to use such a high quality amplifier with headphones, but the option is there anyway.With regards to the electronics of the unit D'Agostino built the Momentum Integrated with THM (Through Hole Mounting) rather than SMT (Surface Mount Technology) as the THM is a much more reliable and robust way of making electronics which can withstand heavy usage. You really only see this type of design in military and aerospace grade equipment as it is more time consuming, but the advantages of reliability is what D'Agostino wanted and the very best from his product.You will need a strong rack to mount the Momentum Integrated as it weighs in at a hefty 54.4Kg with both sections fitted together and also some fair amount of breathing space above the unit as it does heat up fairly quickly when up and running.Last but not least is the remote control which is a beautiful design and in the same rotary style of the volume control, made out of the same aluminum and with all the necessary buttons to use the Momentum Amplifier, it is easy to use and oozes the same quality.
Dan D'Agostino Momentum Integrated Amplifier Momentum RemoteSpecifications
Power 200 watts @ 8 Ohms / 400 watts @ 4 Ohms / 800 watts @ 2 Ohms
Frequency Response 0.1Hz to 200kHz, -1dB / 20Hz to 20kHz, 0dB
Distortion (200 watts @ 8 ) <0.1%, 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 95 dB, unweighted
Inputs 6 stereo balanced XLR Input Impedance 1 M Ohms
Output Impedance 0.12
Dimensions 8 x 18 x 16 inches (including power supply)
Weight 120 lbs (150 lbs including shipping case)

Sound Quality and Performance
For reviewing purposes I will be using my reference Wilson Audio Sophia 2 Speakers with Transparent Speaker Cables and for sources I have the brilliant EAT C-Sharp Turntable with the Keotsu Red Cartridge fitted, which is a stunning addition to the C-Sharp. I still have the Chord Hugo TT DAC which I am using in conjunction with J River Media Center to stream all my music to the Momentum Integrated Amplifier, this is connected via balanced interconnects so no adapters need to be used. For the turntable I am using RCA to XLR adapters which are running from a Tom Evans Audio Design Phono Stage.

It is a fairly simple and easy design to connect to with only six inputs but it helps to keep things nice and tidy at the rear of the unit. Power is supplied by the bottom unit so only one supply and the umbilical chord connects and powers the three sections of the amplifier.

First up I have an album on Vinyl from the legendary late greatFrank Sinatra called the Ultimate Sinatrait is a brilliant album with 24 tracks taken from Columbia Records, Capitol Records and Reprise Records on two 180-gram heavy weight LP'sand the recordings date back from 1939 through to the late 1960's. It is amazing how well the Momentum handles the earlier recordings of Sinatra with his vocals so powerful just as they ever was. But it is the later recordings that really shine and with full orchestral arrangements which sound immense, with a huge sound stage which extends way beyond the walls of my room and also the depth of the room. The Momentum seems to make my speakers simply melt away and disappear leaving Frank center stage. And if you close your eyes you could imagine the old Capitol Records microphone coming down from abovewith Frank singing into it. It is a real being in the moment feeling that this album brings to you but it is also the great resolve of the Momentum Amplifier which is making it happen and bringing you closer to the music. Ultimate Sinatra on Vinyl Frank SinatraTheir is so many tracks that I like on this album and lots that many will know but my favorite is It was a Very Good Yearwhich is on the second album and was recorded in 1965. It has a wonderful melody with Franks voice taking center stage, off to the right the Harp plays so eloquently with each pluck of the strings felt and then the orchestra plays around him with such powerful and intense feeling. The violins play in unison to highs which are loud but the Momentum handles them so delicately. It portrays the music so perfectly that each instrument has its own space around him but never over takes his voice which has a lovely tone and one that I could listen to all night long. The D'Agostino Momentum Integrated and Frank Sinatra on Vinyl is an incredible sound and brings in a bit of nostalgia that I am seriously enjoying.

Next up I have another album on Vinyl from the group Fleetwood Mac called Rumours which was their number one album in 1977 and also won them a Grammy. Side two track one The Chain is a famous piece of their music which has been used many times for TV and films and sounds incredible on the Momentum. It starts with powerful kick drum beat and then the famous sound of the Fleetwood Mac group which sounds expansive across the sound stage. The bass that the Momentum kicks out is so strong and one of its most potent points that it can muster as it just seems to come out of no where when least expecting it, but it is so controlled and refined too. Then that famous bass guitar chorus comes in that this track is so well known for and it seems to have so much texture to it. Then the guitar rift follows suit with such swift accuracy that the Momentum captures it perfectly and it zips along meanwhile the dynamic and blunt power of the drum beat follows quickly behind and catches up. It is a classic track and the Momentum captures it exactly as it should do with all the vibrancy that it had when it was first produced, that is the how a great amplifier like the Momentum shows what it is made of bringing back that soul and life to music in all its glorious colors. fleetwood mac rumours vinylNext I move on to some high resolution music streamed from my laptop to the Chord Electronics Hugo TT DAC fed straight into the Momentum via balanced cables so fully balanced signal path from DAC to Amplifier.My next album I am going to listen to is one that I have used before to review other equipment as it is such a well recorded album and I love the sound from this Norwegian Jazz singer that I wanted to hear her voice through the D'Agostino Momentum to see what potential it had. The artist is called Randi Tytingvag and the album is RED at 24bit 44.1Khz sample rate.It is a wonderful piece of music which is more Jazz/pop fusion that is the diversity of the music but it has such melodic and captivating tunes that are incredible to listen to on a good system due to their use of such diverse instruments and the way they are implemented into the music.

The opening track Read or Dead is a captivating song which has great vocals and the Momentum depicts a nice and wide sound stage with the percussion, accordion and string instruments all being peeled away as the track gets into full flow. It is amazing how well the Momentum gives the illusion of a stereoscopic image as the band play it seems to be all around you. It handles each level of frequency so well which is so balanced and never too much. The overall tonal balance is just right but yet so powerful.My favorite track is My Heart Belongs to Daddy which uses a Baritone Saxophone which goes very deep indeed and the Momentum handles this with absolnute ease pressuring my room and me along with it, making you literally feel the music as it caresses you. I cannot help myself but play this one very loud as it is a delight to hear and feel the music. The melody is a fantastic track from Randi with her vocals which are so powerful and yet again the Momentum gives you a sense of 3 Dimensional sound as the room is filled with instruments which are clearlyseparatedand you can make each one out. It has great dynamics on this track and also a rich tapestry of harmonics which her band must take credit for also. But yet again the Momentum brings you that bit closer to the original music score and does it so easily without making a fuss, it seems to be able to handle anything that you throw at it. Randi Tytingvag Red AlbumMy last album is from a relatively new band Misha Mullov-Abbado and the album is called New Ansoniathey are Jazz band which are very good indeed. New Ansonia is the debut album from bassist and composer Misha Mullov-Abbado, winner of the 2014 Kenny Wheeler Music Prize. Son of the late, great Italian conductor Claudio Abbado and Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova, so from a great musical background. The album is at 24bit 96Khz sample rate so a higher resolution than the previous album and it is quite noticeable in the clarity of the music.Track one the Circle Song has wonderful separation of instruments and with the double bass playing the notes feel tactile in the way that they are presented such is the resolution and amazing clarity of the music. The Momentum's sound stage presentation is again vast and wide giving you a good sense of scale and grandeur.In track two Lock Stock and Shuffle it is a real Jazzy number with fast and snappy percussion, with the Momentum revealing each layer of the band in front of you and the piano sounds so natural, so real in its presentation that each instrument has its own space with great dynamic shifts and attack. It is one of my favorite tracks on the album.New Ansonia AlbumTrack four New Ansonia has the brilliant Saxophone playing with drums snapping with great spatial balance and timing which is spot on, even down to the micro-dynamics that you can hear from the Momentum everything is controlled beautifully. The bass is just glorious from this amplifier and it has to be the best I have heard from any amplifier. The bass notes all have textures that just seem to unravel in time with the music which is just magic and I have not heard bass this good before it is just so well controlled. Listening to the trumpet section on this track with the volume at well over halfway and it is like rock steady and no hardness at all just incredible stuff.

There is another point about the Momentum and that is the complete silent background that you have when listening to music, it is like no other amplifier I have reviewed or listened to, but it excels in this area. It is noticeable as soon as you turn it on, with every kind of music that is played. Just like a painting with a blank canvas but once you start to turn that volume up the beautiful colors of music flow out and it paints the perfect picture.

Conclusions and Final Thoughts

Dan D'Agostino has created an Integrated Amplifier to which all other Integrated amplifiers will be judged upon. He set out to create an amplifier which is as good as, if not better than a separates system and I believe he has achieved that goal with the Momentum Integrated Amplifier as it is simply sublime in every way when it comes to listening to music. He is the master of Solid Dan D'Agostino Momentum Integrated AmplifierState Amplifiers and continues his success story now with his new company under his own name. I honestly cannot get enough of this amplifier and its purity. It is just incredible how music can become so realistic with this amplifier and with the right speakers to do it justice. I cannot think of any issues with the amplifier as it is just so good at what it does. It looks so beautiful too which is a bonus.Price of the Momentum Integrated Amplifier at the time of review Approx 46,895.

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