It's always interesting to see what's in the 'against' column of a review, in this case there were 'minor ergonomic issues'.
After listing the issues (see review), WHF's conclusion was that, 'these things are minor irritations at most'.
Sorry WHF, but if I ever pay 3 grand for an amplifier, however good it sounds, I will not be expecting any irritations.
looking forward to the group test on this... with RoksanBlak and Supernait 3... did my own A/B testing... for what its worth it really did come down to my preferring the Rega sound. There is something about this amp that shows you that you are getting your monies worth...
My setup is: Rega P6, Dynavector20x2l, Aria phonostage, Chord Epic interconnects/ mains/speaker cables. Buchardt S400's, Apollo CD. Node2i Streamer.
Overall I found the Aethos more engaging, richer and detailed. It sounded great at low vols, this was a big surprise as my Buchardts prefer higher vols but the detail and control at lower vols is really enjoyable and with vol up I could play at higher vols because of the control the Aethos has.
My 4ohm S400s sound incredible with the Aethos. The volume control is slightly annoying agreed, loved the Elex r volume control but hey... the ‘balance’ was notable too. Naim PRaT is better but the Aethos is no slouch... I like relaxed listening and found the SN3 a little dry and thin sounding. When it comes to Vinyl the Aethos dug out a little more detail than the SN3 and sounded richer again, fuller somehow.
To balance this out the SN3 is lighter where bass is concerned but more controlled than the Aesthos, SN3 has more grip of it but it doesn't reach the low ends that the Aethos can.
Surprisingly the Rega Apollo r sounded great with the SN3 they really complimented one another. The SN3 actually reminded me of my listening experience with the Hegel H390 which is a huge compliment because that Hegel is a cracking amp. Bang for buck I'd get more from the Aethos personally.
Soundstage was a tie but Rega edged it with depth, in another review a 'walk in' depth is quoted & I hear that. The SN3 was slightly more detailed in the highs on some tracks. Johnny Cash's Hurt for example but the Aethos gave Cash’s voice more texture, realness. The SN vocals generally are more forward sounding.
Conclusion : I loved my Elex-r and was slightly reluctant to let it go but am glad i did as the Aethos definately gives more controlled power, crispy detail and textured layer to sound that doesn't forgive crap recordings... it really does come down to 'what sound do you prefer'... I chose Rega...the SN3 just isn't as much fun to listen too.