It was five years ago that Victor Sima sold his interest in SimAudio, the very successful company he had founded. He would call us every year or two to say he had projects, but he couldn't say anything about them beyond the fact that they didn't involve audio.
Well, they do involve audio. His new company, Linar, is making amplifiers, just as his old company did and does. The emphasis is on home theatre, with two models that accept expansion modules to become multi-channel amps. There is just one stereo-only amp in the lineup, and this is it.
Its styling is a departure from the rounded curves he favored in the old days. The Linar is all straight lines and angles, though not always right angles. What grabs your attention, though, is the centre of the front panel, a slab of transparent acrylic. Press the large power button, and the panel lights up in bright blue, Victor's fetish color. The 250 might look like a hundred other amps...except for that.
The rear panel looks familiar to anyone familiar with even current SimAudio products. It has WBT output posts, XLR balanced inputs, and four input jacks, which can be combined to convert the amplifier into a bridged monobloc. We assume that, like Victor's earlier designs, this one is naturally balanced.
Which is nearly all he will tell us. The 250 still uses only local feedback but no overall feedback loop. "You don't change your habits," he says, adding emphatically that this is a different circuit from his original "Renaissance" circuit. "I put everything I had into this," he adds.
This is a heavy amplifier, though possibly not as heavy as its size suggests. It is rated at 250 watts per channel, whereas the two multichannel amps offer respectively 150 and 200 watts per section. Ours needed no break-in, since it was exactly the amplifier that had been playing in Linar's room at the Las Vegas CES two weeks before. We grabbed our stack of test discs, installed the 250 in our Alpha system, and listened.
The 250 impressed us from the first disc...
(See the print issue for the details of this review)