Gold Note’s PA-10 is a very capable performer across all the genres and styles of music I threw at it in its standard one box, stereo format.
The Gold Note DS-10 integrated headphone amp/preamp/DAC/streamer is the most fun I’ve had listening to headphones with a one-box solution under $5,000.
E.F. Schumacher’s famous 1973 book ‘Small is Beautiful’ never seemed to have resonance in the world of high-end audio. We like our audio equipment big and heavy, even if the reasons for such scale are at best dubious. But when it comes to Gold Note’s DS‑10 combination DAC and preamp and the matching PA‑10 stereo power amp, small really is beautiful: big amp believers, you need to come to terms with this!
My general impression of their equipment – to varying degrees, partially based on the price of each product – is that their gear is capable of offering lots of hi-fi goodies like fine detail retrieval, soundstage depth, and good extension top and bottom..
Visually, the IS-1000 is elegant with a formidable aluminum faceplate and an array of vents overflowing the top and down the side panels like a waterfall. The “tank” design of the chassis increases mass and rigidity to enhance mechanical stability and damping.
Its strengths are revealed through extended listening, most notably an ability to provide copious amounts of detail whilst maintaining just the right degree of soul.
My head began to spin, my stomach churned, and my mouth grew very dry as I read that Gold Note’s DS-10 ($2995) was a “chameleon DAC” with 192 setup options that enable it to “completely blend in with different music genres, giving the listener the opportunity to adapt the behavior of the unit to the music playing, to one’s stereo system and, most of all, to the listener’s taste.
This is a really wonderful piece of equipment, one that I will be sorry to see go as it gets packed up for its journey back to the distributor in Colorado.
I was very pleased to spend time with both the Gold Note Vasari Gold and Donatello Red cartridges. Both represent a relatively modest investment, but both deliver performance where it counts, with engaging musical presentations.
Like the biblical hero depicted in Florence, Italy’s famous David statue by Michelangelo, the diminutive PA-10 is angular and elegant, but capable of bringing down a giant or two by slinging notes with speed, precision, and wallop.