Confession: As my 002i has settled in, I find I am playing it all of the time with the EPS, as is my first 002i customer. On truly critical speakers, like my new Jean Marie Reynaud Abscissa Jubilees, the body, mid-range clarity, and beauty of the 002i - EPS are extraordinary. As good as the OO2i alone is on more modest speakers, I now feel that the EPS makes it twice as good. On Penderecki concertos (flute, horn, clarinet), the solo instruments are dramatically real and present, the double bass and low brass are both solid and clear. I'll have to say I'm finding its modest 80 watts sometimes sound more powerful than my 022i; and the amp itself, for those who crave refinement, clarity, and natural weight, even better. I did not expect that. The O22i has the 1022's beefy voice, and many have to have that, along with its deeply saturated tonal colors. But the OO2i - EPS is definitely the more refined amplifier of the two. It really does bring to mind the NSC/NSL sound for those with 80% fewer dollars.
I get into a parallel version of this comparison over on Audio Asylum in talking about the differences between the sound of the Reynaud speakers designed primarily by the late Jean Marie and the newer ones designed by his son, Jean Claude. It has to do with blending and natural warmth. The older Reynauds had a tendency to blend instrumental voices a bit, resulting in a naturally warm atmosphere; the new Reynauds have no atmosphere: they leave the blending to the listener, the warmth to the warmth of individual instrumental voices. The comparison with the 1022 and 002i - EPS sound is not exact but it's suggestive.
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