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Crafting spectacular high-end amplifiers in NYC

Alexus Audio isn't trying to compete with Bose or make a better phone. No, it's just elevating the craft of audio design to an art.

Alex Chorine built his very first amplifier when he was 15, and one amp led to the next. He kept building amps for friends and friends of friends. This was in the Soviet Union, where there was no established high-end audio industry. Chorine went on to earn an electrical engineering degree from the Moscow Institute of Technology, and started working with TVs, but audio was his passion. He took on side projects building guitar and bass amplifiers and pro sound systems. He modified European VCRs to work with Russian TVs. He came to the U.S. in 1992, and a few years later landed at the high-end audio store where I had once worked, Sound by Singer. He was there for 15 years, and put in thousands of hours repairing and installing some of the world's best gear. With that background he continued to refine his designs, and recently started his own company, Alexus Audio. He's still in demand and handles repairs for a number of NYC's best hi-fi shops.

The Alexus Audio mono power amplifier Steve Guttenberg/CNET

He currently makes a power amp, stereo preamplifier, and a phono/turntable preamplifier, which I heard at the Audiophile Society meeting a few weeks ago. The sound was spot-on, tonally neutral, vivid, and most of all, musical. Which is to say, not like a hi-fi reproducing music -- it sounded like music. Chorine doesn't have a factory, he hand builds each component at his home in Brooklyn. Considering the amount of time he puts into building his components the prices are more than reasonable. He fine-tunes his designs with a series of "blind" listening tests, comparing Alexus electronics with much more expensive high-end gear, with experienced listeners.

To me Chorine is an artist who works in circuit design, he said he thinks of his soldering iron as his "sixth finger." Improving sound quality is his life's work.