Liberty Audio B2B-100 Amplifier
“I’m occasionally sent review samples of components that sound very neutral and relatively free of flaws, but that, for whatever reason, fail to fill my emotional sails. Then I’m sent other stuff that I really enjoy and that brings a smile to my face, but that I know is doing something to the sound. What I hear may be attractive, even addictive, but I know it’s not entirely accurate. Then there are those special products that manage to blur these lines. Their sound seems inherently almost flawless and neutral, while at the same time drawing me into the performance in a way that tends to send my lower jaw floorward again and again. That, in a nutshell, is what the Liberty B2B-100 did for me during its time in my system.
It did everything extremely well. Clean, tight, tuneful bass? Check. Extended, clean, airy highs? Check. Micro- and macrodynamics aplenty, with no sense of strain or restraint? Check and check. Precise imaging throughout a voluminous soundstage? Check. Silent backdrops that let every element pop, clearly in its own space? Check. Speed and pace that always make music sound real and on point? Check. But in addition to all this good stuff was something that was, in my opinion, the B2B-100’s calling card, and probably a combination of the aforementioned strengths: its ability to completely reveal the natural sound space of a recording. The clearness of space between entities, and the ability of each to naturally and definitively occupy its own space in three dimensions, was exceptional. It was as if a layer of grime I’d never known was there had been stripped away, letting me more clearly and effortlessly “see” each player in his or her space. I fear this quality may be lost on those who tend to be more concerned with the dynamic and tonal portrayals of musicians and their instruments. But among the “audiophile” types, who listen and yearn for this type of information, the B2B-100 was a juggernaut, especially for a purely solid-state design.”
Tim Shea, www.goodsound.com, January 15, 2014
Liberty Audio B2B-100 Amplifier
“There is no doubt that the B2B-100 is a formidable amplifier capable of sobering amounts of power, and the ability to tame just about any cantankerous speaker with a nasty impedance curve. Yet there is more to the amplifier than just brute force, as it is capable of reproducing music in a refined and genteel manner that is far beyond what is expected from a typical solid-state amplifier residing at this price point. The B2B-100 excels at displaying musical texture, highlights the subtle nuances and phrasing contained in a musical composition, and revels in communicating the essence of an artist’s performance. This type of interaction between listener and audio system is often found in the realm of vacuum tube amplification, and the Liberty amplifier does have certain traits that could be found in a well designed tube amplifier.
Peter conceived this amplifier to be a serious piece of audio gear, and the manufacturing process is focused on building to the appropriate level needed to achieve this goal. The overall sound quality of the Liberty amplifier is superb, with the ability to finesse the delicate nature of acoustic music, and in turn throw down some serious power when music such as electric blues or rock and roll requires this. This amplifier is well suited to drive almost any difficult impedance load, and does not shy away from speakers that would melt down your typical Class D amplifier. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the B2B-100, and found it to perform in the same vein as the classic solid state amplifiers such as the Jeff Rowland, Classe, or Bryston products. For those frugal hobbyists looking for a high quality amplifier, I would strongly suggest auditioning this one. There are very few amplifiers at this price range that can equal the B2B-100 in terms of sound quality and flexibility to drive a wide cross section of speakers.”
John Hoffman, www.positive-feedback.com, January 15, 2014
Liberty Audio B2B-1 Phono Preamp
“I just hooked up my B2B (B2B-1) on Monday this week and am extremely pleased with the sound. I’d like to add to the review a bit from my own perspective.
As I’m sure that many people realize, a phono stage has two difficult tasks. One is to increase the voltage of the signal from (in my case) a MC signal of merely 0.3 millivolts to a line signal of 5 volts- that’s over 10,000 fold, and it must do it with as little error as possible. The other function is to equalize the signal. When cutting the laquer from the tape master, RIAA standards mandate a curve that sets the 1kHz area as 0 db, with maked compression below that (-20 db at 20 Hz) and marked expansion above (+20 db at 20 kHz). This is necessary to fit the signal within the grooves (low frequencies) and reduce the noise at higher frequencies. In my experience, phono stages fall short of faithfully following this curve, particularly at the low end. Remarkably, the B2B is extremely precise in following these standards.
The B2B accomplishes this feat by Class A design with FET components. It is huge compared with my NAD PP-3. Peter showed me the circuit boards and the unit is heavily shielded to avoid RFI. It just reeks of quality, both in design, component selection, and assembly. I had tried the PP-3 with the MC input but found the sound shrill and distinctly lacking in bass. Later I added an SUT and hooked it up to the MM input, with great increase in bass. Still, I thought that I could do better as some of my collection of SACD’s did sound better than the vinyl versions, so in came the B2B.
I can say now that the bass is as rich and powerful as one could ever want. Also, there is a noticible reduction in the background noise of the vinyl, and the small hum that my SUT produced was gone. My vinyl is not only superior to CD in frequency response, it has a greater soundstage particularly in the z axis. Were it not for the occasional pop in some records I couldn’t tell it from an SACD recording.
For reference, I am using a Pro-Ject 5.1 with Audio-Technica AT-33e cartridge, MingDa APS 300 tube preamp using 300B’s, McCormack DNA-250 SS amp, and Ohm 5000 speakers. I set the B2B for 100 ohms, MC for an exact match to the needle (this is the default out of the box).”
Liberty Audio B2B-1 Phono Preamp
“In the end, this (the B2B-1) is a superb phono preamp that is extremely quiet (I said it again) and musical, with top to bottom coherence and an enveloping wide and deep soundstage, all of which I believe is the result of excellent low level information retrieval afforded by outstanding signal-to-noise and separation specifications. To all those Audiogon enthusiasts that want to know if this phono preamp is any good, I wholeheartedly say, heck yeah!, So how much did I like it? It’s not going back; enough to purchase the unit Peter sent to me, and it has found a home in my Krell/Thiel system. My audio buds also agree with me this is the way to go. Perhaps it’s the way solid state components work with each other from an integration or output/input impedance optimal-matching point of view, whatever the case, I know it sounds better than any phono preamp I’ve had in that system before, and I spent the day today listening again and again as I was putting the final touches to this review to try and find any more shortcomings of this fine phono preamp. So far, I can’t, and it sounds better the more it breaks in, going on a month now of almost daily listening.”
Steve Chamberlain April 2013
“In my book the Liberty Audio phono stage turned in quite a performance. There is a lot to admire about this component, as it does so many things incredibly well, yet is still priced within the reach of most audiophiles. I certainly appreciate the dynamic nature of this unit, for it brings music alive in a way that many other products simply cannot accomplish. The B2B-1 phono stage is also a treat for those people who value imaging, and spatial relationships of performers and instruments in music…”
“The defining characteristic of the Liberty phono stage is its ability to present a dynamic portrayal of music. This phono stage not only has plenty of gain, but more importantly, recreates the drive to music in a realistic manner. With this phono stage the music is vibrant and alive, with all the presence and impact that the record can impart. Throw a diverse array of material at the Liberty and watch it do its thing because it does not care if it’s big band jazz, rock and roll, or a symphonic work…The Liberty phono stage certainly excels at macro-dynamics, and in this aspect breathes life into the music.”
John Hoffman, Positive-Feedback.com
“Tonally the B2B-1 is remarkably even, and the noise floor is extremely low. Great low level detail, and excellent layering to the sound stage. Capable of recreating large dynamic swings, but also does the low level dynamic contrasts very nicely also. While it doesn’t possess tube warmth, I really don’t believe this piece has any significant flaws. This one is a keeper, and sets the foundation for analog playback in my system.“
Audiocircle.com Customer Review (pseudonym)