Sherbourn 5/1500A Five-Channel Amplifier Page 2
As I mentioned in last month's Energy Veritas review, there were occasions when the 5/1500A and Veritas V2.4 front speakers were too laid-back in the upper bass. However, considering that I didn't hear this trait with other speaker systems I tried (the Snells and the Canton Karat M80s) or from other amps I used with the Energy system, I'd have to chalk this up to one of those occasions when two very solid performers don't get along as well as you'd expect. Bass—whether it be low, mid, or upper—is definitely not something you'll usually have to worry about with the 5/1500A.
A couple of raucous Guy Ritchie soundtracks—Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels—let me further test the 5/1500A's propensity for grace under fire. Neither of these movies is shy about its use of the surround channels, especially during the music and effects-heavy action scenes. Snatch's chapter 17 is particularly dense. This scene, along with a few from The Haunting, proved to be the undoing of a few amps I tried with the Snells, but the Sherbourn worked its way through the screaming, the hard-driving techno music, and all of the other sonic mayhem with little trouble. As important as it is to note the obvious power that was available to the surrounds and center channel, at no time did I feel the front channels were lacking the juice they needed to set the stage. Front-channel performance is clearly the best indicator of whether there's a drawback to the five-smaller-amps-in-one-chassis design versus using one or two big community transformers, and I found no such evidence.
Multichannel music essentially unveiled the same result. The distribution of power was noticeably more balanced here than with many five-channel amps (and most receivers) I've tried. This was especially evident with classical tracks, where the surround speakers are occasionally asked to deliver quick bursts and then fade back into an ambient role. Even with the front channels blaring, the surrounds were clean, dynamic, and true on tracks that other five-channel amps have botched because they simply don't have enough power left for the surrounds when they need it.
Going into this review, I naturally had certain expectations about the 5/1500A, considering that it comes from a company that primarily makes amplifiers and was started by two people who've been doing just that for many years. I can easily say that the 5/1500A met or exceeded almost every one of them. It's a solid performer sonically. Although it's not immune to the occasional grain that affects just about every solid-state amp I know of, the 5/1500A is as accurate and dynamic as you can realistically expect a multichannel amp to be at anywhere close to this price. It's got power to spare with movies and music. In terms of value, what more can I say about a five-channel, monoblock-based design with 200 wpc and balanced inputs that performs like this for $2,000?
Like many small companies that make quality product, exposure seems to be the main hurdle that Sherbourn faces. As their shroud of anonymity continues to fade, though, I have a feeling that their underdog status will be quick to follow.
• Five monoblock amps in one chassis
• Solid sonic performance with movies and music
• Exceptional value