The Edge G3 Integrated Amplifier earns my very highest recommendation
The current, updated version of the EDGE G3, now $7088.00 is a very nice 115 wpc, which retains all of the accomplished attributes and accolades raved about in the below reviews from other astute sources, of its lower powered predecessors.
I had made an exceptional statement in my FB post just before our Grand Opening in early July that the G3 in my very first listen, was “THE BEST INTEGRATED I’VE EVER HEARD. I would like to say in my own defense of this premature statement, that in all fairness however, that it was amazingly obvious from the moment I unboxed it and plugged it in. Fortunately, our audition copy was Steven Norber’s (Edge National Sales Manager) personal amplifier, so was already broken in, only requiring the typical 20 minute warm up to be fully ready to strut it’s stuff. At this point I would like to try to put that previously unqualified statement into some perspective. Obviously, from the following reviews, everyone who’s ever tested an EDGE Amp, including the G3’s previous editions, have also been extremely impressed.
I feel that at this juncture, it is important to mention that too often people do not fully appreciate just how important an amplifier is to the overall system performance. So when you get a really good one, or in this case, really exceptional, you sort of cannot put a fine enough point on it! For instance, too often I hear the comment that it is the “speakers” which make the biggest difference in a system, almost as if, that’s all that is really important. But to be frank, that is only a half truth. Speakers will certainly “establish the type of sound” you will get, however, the true character, integrity, and by far, its believability, “or likeness live sound” is absolutely up to the “amplifier”. So underestimating this, often results in an under qualified amplifier being paired with the speakers. Sadly this results in your inability to ever put together a true high end/high performance system. Not to mention, you usually NEVER HEAR what your speaker can really do…EVER! One reason for this naturally is that unless you have a particularly abstinent speaker to drive, such as one of very (low efficiency, impedance, stability, or that requires tremendous power), you can get “sound” from almost anything you plug into them, even a cheap AV receiver, especially if they are of the “very efficient” variety. This does not however, in any way, shape or form, let you hear anything close to what a really good speaker can do. You may quite literally be missing up to 50% of what that speaker can do. So knowing exactly “what a given amplifier is doing” if very important for the best speaker matching.
So to really put an amplifier through the paces, and establish just how good it really is, a competent tester uses an average of about 20 individual values of comparison. Some of these are, sound stage depth, width, and height(measured individually), dynamics, micro dynamics, detail, imaging, a balanced representation of the frequency response (from ultra low notes to extreme highs), and its ability to place various sounds at points in space(and give those sounds a sense of size). These standards are the most commonly talked about, as they can be easiest to identify without the employment of a test bench. And of course, any tester worth their salt should have a qualified reference system to which standards of measurement can then be authenticated. At ADK AV our reference electronics are a complete McIntosh system, amp, pre, and CD, and reference speakers are Flagship PSB’s (Synchrony One), or Fidelity Acoustics RFM-2’s, both 5K a pair (which speaker used depends on what’s being tested). The Mac amp & pre, which weighs in at a cool 11K. The Edge G3 being tested, at $7088.00, or almost half the price. Try to imagine my amazement when I found that with the right speakers, as the EDGE is 115 w/p/c, compared with the MAC’s 350 w/p/c, the EDGE performed as well as the MAC in EVERY CATEGORY!!! That my friends is such a rare feet, that it is extremely difficult to credit. Normally even with two completely matched amps in terms of overall quality, the one with the most power, will sound better. So how on Earth can I qualify this?. I personally believe, that EDGE (as mentioned in my spoof blog – reverse alien technology) may simply be, the best darn design available today, at ANY PRICE, and is clearly built with equivalent quality as is used by McIntosh. Ironically, both companies “literally hand build their products in house” – another extremely rare quality today, especially in the electronics industry. In summation, the EDGE G3 wins my absolute highest admiration, honor and recommendation. I can unequivocally state, it would be my amplifier of choice for any high quality speaker system appropriate to it’s power output. I might even suggest, depending on your own listening habits, it may be the amplifier of choice even for more difficult to drive speakers, as when I mated it with the extremely difficult Totem Wind’s (9K), which normally require a much more powerful amplifier, like our 350w/p/c MAC, to both my amazement and elation, I could find NO DIFFERENCE IN INTEGRITY between the two, other than “the G3’s inability to reach the same volume level” as the more powerful McIntosh.
I cannot give higher praise for the EDGE G3, it is simply, the best Integrated Amplifier that I have EVER heard.