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Tenor | Tenor Audio | Audiophile-Magazine Audio Nirvana 2016 Award

Singapore Client’s Haute (High) Praise

Anup from Singapore had purchased vintage Tenor OTL 75 Mono Blocks privately and discovered when he powered them up that they had been damaged in transit somehow.  Anup called the Tenor factory in Montreal to remedy the situation.  Hearing about the fantastic Kharma Midi-Exquisites Anup was pairing these OTL’s with I confidently recommended that to experience their full impact he should perhaps consider something better suited to the low 4Ω impedance load imposed by the Kharmas.  Tenor would take the OTL’s on trade towards our current production so that would be no problem.  Like many Audiophiles, Anup happened to have another amplifier on hand.  In this particular case they were the revered Wavac Mono Blocks.  Anup was hopeful that the OTL’s would complete his musical journey past the Wavacs.  Imagine his disappointment with the unfortunate OTL damage and now an 8  month wait for a new 175S?  

Making a good thing out of a bad thing, Anup chose to trade the OTL’s in and have Tenor build him a new 175S stereo amplifier that would better mate to his world class Kharmas speakers.

Anup waited patiently for almost 8 months before receiving his new Tenor.  (at the time, Tenor was delivering into the next year - but I assured him it would be well worth the wait!)  Wavacs are world-class amps so Anup would not suffer - but NOT getting immediate gratification from the Tenor was challenging at times I presume   The 175S was painstakingly completed then Anup took delivery of his new Tenor as planned.  This is what Anup emailed to me upon powering the 175S up for the first time:

“Jim, just a quick note, the 175S is bloody spectacular!!

It is funny you don’t know what you’re missing until you hear something like the Tenor in your system…  I never realized I was missing a whole nuanced mid-range.  At the very top end and in terms of transparency, the Wavac is just as good as the Tenor is (though not nearly as silent), but in the mid-range and bottom end, the Tenor just pulls away.  I’d say the Tenor is the most balanced and transparent Amp I’ve ever had.

Now, I’m seriously wondering how much better the the 175HP (Haute Puissance) or the 350M’s might be!!  Other than in increased power, are they sonically very different from the 175S?

Thanks again!!

Best regards,


I explained that all Tenor amplifiers share that same sonic signature he is experiencing with the 175S.  The Haute Puissance upgrade for both the 175S and 350M, the pinnacle of Tenor’s achievements, on the 4Ω Kharma’s the 175S Haute Puissance would develop 475 Watts whereas  he 175S would deliver the normal 350 Watts.  The Haute Puissance however has a lower internal resistance thereby doubling the damping factor.  If you can imagine, the sonic impact of more and increase in power with damping factor doubling is like controlling or holding your speaker motor effect with one hand with your 175S whereas the 175S Haute Puissance holds your speaker motor effect with two hands.  The sonic character is unchanged with the exception that you receive a more front row immediacy … whereas the the 175S is much more 7th to 10th row at a concert.  Both are fantastic, but, front row for the real music lover is always preferred!  I then reviewed Anup’s room size and characteristics and felt the 175S Haute Puissance would be sufficient power for the Kharmas.

At this time Tenor is taking orders for delivery in July - some 4 months later), so we let Anup enjoy the 175S and finally picked up them up a few weeks before we could begin and air freighted them to Montreal where master technician JP Paradis undertook the necessary metamorphosis to the higher power. 

Anup literally just wrote the following after powering on his new 175S Haute Puissance:

Anup Packing

“Jim, I just got back home today and connected and powered up my Amp … ABSOLUTELY F’ING PHENOMENAL!!!  

(Please excuse my language :)

Strangely, there’s a much more significant positive difference with the Haute Puissance and the 175S, then there was between the 175S and my Wavac mono blocks! …  Which might suggest the additional power is making a huge difference?  Have you guys or your customers noticed that compared to other top end amplifiers, where the Haute Puissance pulls so much further ahead?

Once again, thank you so much!

Best regards,


My response was as follows:

“To increase the power of the 175S from 175 to 250 Watts @ 8Ω Michel our Chief Engineer had to lower the internal resistance of the Haute Puissance which, in combination, gives a more immediate and powerful presentation.  The truth be known, increasing the power could not be done without the other!  The final effect was way beyond our wildest expectation!”

Readers may wish to review these press releases for further specifications:

175S Haute Puissance Press Release

350M Haute Puissance Press Release

I think Anup’s evolution from Wavac to Tenor typifies what many Audiophiles go through in their journey to musical nirvana. Tenor sound is not characterized as solid-state or tube but simply as musical and the most satisfying!  Tenor’s unique hybrid technology has mastered the human harmonics associated with live music making listening to a Tenor the most musically satisfying experience available!

It is nice to hear from clients appreciating the effort that goes into making every Tenor… well, a Tenor! 

jim fairhead, president, Tenor Inc.

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