Model 4706 Gaincard Review

The 47 Laboratory 4706 Gaincard

by David W. Robinson

Exerpt from "SACD, SETs, Lowthers, and Other Life Forms: In Which PF Takes A Magical Mystery Tour!" , Positive Feedback Vol. 8, No. 4

      Here's a shocker: imagine a solid-state amplifier that would rest in the palm of one hand, rise to only a little over 1 inch high, that's a true dual monoblock design. With an input to output distance measured in a few inches, total. Dual inputs and dual stepped volume controls; grounding posts; built-on mini-tiptoes; a proprietary power input. Nothing else. Visualize an external power supply that's round, much larger than the amplifier that it powers, exceptionally heavy and named Humpty. (Yes, you read that right.)

      Now realize that this unique little powerhouse tandem pumps out 25WPC into 8 Ohms.

      Got it?! If so, then you're imagining the 47 Laboratory 4706 Gaincard amplifier.

      Yoshi Segoshi waited more patiently than anyone for us to get the low-powered system together. I appreciated his perseverance enormously, so immediately put the Gaincard into place right after the V20. Once again, we ran long leads from the CD-12 and SCD-1; only this time, we went directly to the Gaincard without any intervening input switching sections. This is one of the few times that I've run straight to amp from a source. Normally, I'm not a fan of skipping the preamp; it's too much bother to switch the leads, and a good active preamp "fills in" the sound, keeping it from being too lean, at least in my opinion.

      The results were nothing less than spectacular! I could scarcely believe my ears - the quality of the music coming from the Lowthers was spectacular! For such a small and unusual amplifying system to produce sound of this level of excellence, was a thing unprecedented in my listening room. The Lowthers continued to show their strong suit, an exceptional midrange, as before. But now the bass was at least as well controlled as it had been with the V20 - a tubed mini-powerhouse - and the dynamics were even better than they had been with the V20. The sound was clear, uncolored, effortless, and at ease. High frequency extension was very fine; timbral resolution was detailed, without ever being etched or fatiguing.


      To confirm these impressions, I had Tony Glynn come back by the listening room, and had my Assistant Editor, Rick Gardner, sit in as well. Both were struck by the synergy between the Lowther PM2A's and the Gaincard. Tony was particularly surprised. He knows his Lowthers quite well, and has heard them in tandem with a number of fine preamp/amp combinations. He was completely unfamiliar with 47 Laboratories and the Gaincard. Rick Gardner didn't know the Gaincard either, but gave it an immediate rave. (As an unrepentant rock E roller, Rick found the sound of the Gaincard with the Lowthers to be far preferable to any of the 2A3's that he heard in my listening room.)

      We put some fine SACDs through their paces: the Sony Music Kind of Blue and superlative Mingus Ah, Um; DMP's Quality of Silence; Telarc's Brubeck: The 40th Anniversary Tour of the U.K. (love that piano!). The results were superb - never fatiguing, and yet clear, very detailed, unveiled. Which is what SACD does: it delivers master tape or mic feed level signal. In this case, the destination for that signal was sitting us right up in our chairs, getting our heads to nodding and our feet to tapping.

      In other words, children, we were connecting to the music.

      Tony conceded that the Gaincard did a marvelous job with the Lowthers. "Jeez, I'll have to remember 47 Laboratory, I guess!" Given Tony's strong preference for SETs ("I hate those goddamned sand amps!"), this was quite an achievement. Rick was emphatic about it: "Now I could really get into the Lowthers when they sound like that!"

      So, for those looking for a heavily dynamic experience ("gotta have lotsa' slam, dude!") with the Lowthers, or with any other speaker happy with its rated 25 WPC, the 47 Laboratory Gaincard is a slam-dunk.

      This is absolutely one of the most surprising and pleasant discoveries in my listening room during the past several years! The Lowther/Gaincard system therefore rates a Ye Olde Editor's highest recommendation.


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