Review : Scythe SDA-35-2000 amp / Scythe SCBKS-1100 speakers / Monoprice Planate cable
Budget Esoterica Review Magazine
May 2023 Issue
Scythe SDA-35-2000 amp / Scythe SCBKS-1100 speaker / Monoprice Planate speaker cable
Here is an excellent mini stereo system i used with the Monoprice Planate speaker cable and a robust sounding cd player and interconnect. This system plays pretty loud and comes close to much more expensive systems.
The Scythe mini amp looks like a high end amp that was shrunk to minuscule levels. The amp is solid as a rock with superb build quality. Three large footers on the bottom , a volume knob and control action that would make expensive full size amps envious. The amp seems hefty for its size. On the front we have a very nice blue power light, a mute button , input II 3.5 mm jack and a USB power jack. The only qualms i have with the build quality is that although the speaker jacks look like they would take banana plugs, they will only work with bare wire. Other than that both the speaker jacks and the rca inputs seem to be of very high quality. A 19 volt power supply is included. Product packaging is also superb.
The Scythe speakers also have superb fit and finish. They utilize a high quality woofer in a flow guided bass-reflex structure which directs the cabinets airflow towards the bass-reflex port. The 25mm dome tweeter sounds a little soft, taking a bit of the harsh edgy sound away. Box size is small at about 6 x 10 x 8 inches. These speakers are an excellent match with the mini Scythe amp.
The Monoprice Planate 16 AWG flat speaker cable is an excellent value at $32 currently on sale at Amazon.com. If you like white, flat speaker cable , it sounds just as good as anything else and i highly recommend it.
So, this is a really cool looking mini system, but how does it sound? It gives up very little compared to larger and more expensive systems. Listening to Like Minds by Burton, Corea, Metheny, Haynes and Holland it was the pace and timing that impressed me on the opening track, "Questions And Answers". Highs were crisp and the vibes had a slight three dimensional quality. Track number two, "Elucidation", had a fast and joyous pace and the highs were a little less annoying than on some of my other speakers. The speakers seem to have been voiced very well. On the title track i turned the amp up to twelve O' clock and i heard good bass energy and the occasional bass thump. Respectable performance for a speaker of this size.
Vocals fared well also. Mark Winklers album , I'm With You, is very well recorded and the Scythe system showed it off well. Listening to track number three i heard robust vocals with a good sense of separation. Dynamics were very good. Track number eleven sounded both natural and accurate. Vocals conveyed the singer's emotions to a great effect. The organ in the background had nice tonal colors.
And if you have an occasional taste for heavy metal it does well with that genre also. "Skeletons Of Society", from the Slayer album Seasons In The Abyss put out a fairly dynamic presentation with good quality bass. The highs might be slightly rolled off , but that added to the listenability of this raucous cd.
So here we have a stylish mini hi-fi system that looks the part and plays the part very well. Highly recommended and excellent Monoprice speaker cable also. A bit of a bargain, me thinks.