Written on: 01/06/2005 by ampmaestro (19 reviews written)
After 2 years of great listening to the Yamaha AX-396 I can honestly give this unit the "thumbs up" for its ability to give beautiful audio reproduction. It has never faultered once and no matter what audio track you listen to, it sounds just perfect. It has enough bass to make the glass in my windows shudder and yet still reproduce those real low notes wihout distorting and the mid-range to high end audio (sometimes where it really counts) can compliment lots of speaker systems and make ever poor ones sound great. You can use the very best headphones on this amp too and appreciate just what can be reproduced into them and into your ears. This amp, I would refer to as "neutral", both in its ability to be be used with many other components and with its abilty to faithfully reproduce the signal going into it. Because of its neutrality, I have found that a quality Graphic EQ can be nicely matched to this amp to compliment its output to the 'enth degree. No matter which way you use it, you can rest assured that you can sit back and enjoy the resultant output.
With its clean lines, it looks mean, just like the neighbourhood bully and yet is surprisingly charming to listen to. Whoever designed this amp from head to toe, did a wonderful job. Whichever way you choose to describe its looks, the AX-396 does what it is designed to do, superbly. No bones about it, it is a champion in its class and would certainly take some beating. Apart from its bigger brother, the AX-596, I would say this is the best amp I have ever owned.
10 out of 10...