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Integrated Amplifiers

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Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 13, 2018  |  0 comments
Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Often when a new product comes my way for review, I’ve read up so much on it that I know precisely what it is and what to expect from it sonically. With the Vincent SV-500 integrated amplifier however, I did no such thing – although it has been on sale for a while now, this particular model is something of an unknown quantity to me. So, I simply remove it from its box, plug it in and start listening.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 10, 2018  |  0 comments
Warp back 10 years and almost every integrated amplifier you could buy was essentially an analogue preamp in the same box as a Class AB power amplifier stage, with a power supply to make them both work. Their greatest concession to modernity was a remote control, and if you were really lucky it would let you toggle between and adjust the volume. Now, the landscape has changed dramatically, and it’s products like this that show the way.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 27, 2018  |  0 comments
Completing Arcam’s trinity of new HDA products, the SA10 is the entry-level amplifier and I can’t help but detect a frisson of concern as you read this. After all, surely leaving its review until last is a sure-fire source of disappointment? It can’t be as good as its bigger brother, the SA20, right?
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 20, 2018  |  0 comments
If asked to come up with the British loudspeaker manufacturer most likely to move into the amplifier sector, PMC might not be the first to come to mind. With a long-standing distribution relationship with Canadian amplifier specialist Bryston and a budding partnership with AVM in Germany, the company isn’t short of quality power options, so why build its own? The thing is, PMC has been building its own amplification for some of its active loudspeakers for some time now and has worked with Bryston to optimise design.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Oct 04, 2018  |  0 comments
Launched in France in 1981 by electronics professor Yves-Bernard André, YBA today is a very different thing to the company that it once was. Some might lament the way the EU is dissolving national borders, but the real story of the past few decades has been the wholesale move of manufacturing from the West to the East. This was already happening in the seventies, with British brands beginning to manufacture first in Hong Kong, then Taiwan and eventually China.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Oct 03, 2018  |  0 comments
Started in 1996 by electronics engineers Massimiliano Marzi and Andrea Nardini, Audia Flight’s philosophy is to use solid state in an interesting way, and the company’s first product – the 100 power amplifier – sported current feedback design, something that’s shared by its distant descendent the FL Three S. Being Italian, style is also a big thing – what would you expect from the land of La Bella Figura?
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Sep 11, 2018  |  0 comments
Arcam has been a British success story ever since it first burst onto the hi-fi scene in the late seventies. From my point of view it has always been a reliable go-to, with products that never fail to perform admirably. The SA20 is one of three units that mark the arrival of the new HDA range. This is the first selection of two-channel components announced since the acquisition of the company in 2017 by Harman International.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jan 01, 2018  |  0 comments
Despite the burgeoning popularity of the one-stop shop hi-fi component – to which one need only add speakers for a complete system covering all modern, non-physical digital media requirements – not everyone wants that degree of convergence and will happily settle for an integrated amp with on-board DAC and a decent phono stage. Canada’s Moon by Simaudio has, perhaps inevitably, just cracked that particular nut with the introduction of the Moon 240i integrated amp/DAC – essentially the company’s highly regarded Nēo Ace streaming integrated amp minus the streaming bit and a helpful £710 from the Ace’s asking price. As such, the £1,990 240i represents a new entry point for Moon’s neatly tiered integrated amp range, which peaks – via the 340i and 600i – with the 2x 175W 700i. We’re some way from that with the 240i, which quotes a more modest 50 Class A/B Watts per channel but, as ever, this is only a rough guide to speaker-driving ability and no guide at all to sound quality, an area in which Moon amps usually excel.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Dec 27, 2017  |  0 comments
American brand, Belles (Power Modules Inc. ) is not one we come across often in these pages despite it being around for some 36 years – in fact the last time we saw anything from it was back in issue 325. David Belles has been behind a host of sensibly priced, high-quality amplifiers since 1978, both under the Belles brand and as a talented hired gun for other leading hi-fi companies. His prowess with electronics even played a part in the space race at mission control a little while ago, so he knows all about important signals getting through correctly.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jul 22, 2017  |  0 comments
Remember the seventies? Early on in that decade we saw a wave of new Japanese products begin to appear in the shops and on our roads. The result was that by the end of the decade, Honda, Datsun, Sony and Panasonic were household names and everyone who bought them couldn’t praise them enough. This same thing is now happening with China. It’s a work in progress I grant you, but some companies have an excellent track record and Mei Xing is one.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jul 15, 2016  |  0 comments
There’s something very reassuring about a high-end integrated amplifier. While stacks of black boxes might have been the done thing in the early eighties, in today’s world, the trend is to downsize, but music fans don’t want to hear anyless of their beloved recordings. The so-called ‘super-integrated’ breed ticks all these boxes; it’s big but not too big, and promises a sound to rival some more expensive pre/power amplifier combinations. Roksan, lest we forget, has always made fine-sounding amplification; it has a distinctly muscular-but-musical character that covers more bases than some rival designs, many of which tend to be one or the other.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Apr 26, 2016  |  0 comments
Ming Da has been producing valve amplifiers for over 22 years and is gaining fans worldwide. Furthermore as with this example here, after the amp’s arrival in the UK, Malvern Audio Research upgrades key internal components, swaps in higher quality valves and adds a three year warranty. Taken altogether, this China/UK partnership feels highly compelling and without compromise. This Dynasty Duet 300 Plus is an incarnation of an existing Duet 300B triode amp design, but now employs zero feedback and claims many other audio improvements.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 25, 2016  |  0 comments
Alongside the vinyl boom, the growth in headphone sales has been one of the big drivers for the audio industry in recent years. As well as headphones themselves, their supporting ancillaries have been on the up, and the latest manufacturer to join the fray is Myryad with the Z40 headphone amplifier. As part of the Z Mini series, the Z40 is a half-width component representing Myryad’s entry level but with the functionality that matches its full-size components. Like its larger sibling it also sports the ‘DC5’ (Double Complementary Cross-Coupled Cascoded Current feedback) circuit used in a number of the company’s products and reworks it for headphone use.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Apr 23, 2015  |  0 comments
In the not too distant past ‘proper hi-fi’ inevitably had to equate to stacks of similar sized and similar looking separates for it to be taken seriously by audiophiles. But with improvements in more efficient amplifier technologies – such as Class D – combined with the move to higher quality streaming from portable devices, compact hi-fino longer necessarily means compromised quality, as we’ve recently seen with Quad’s Vena (HFC 390) and NAD’s D 7050 (HFC 382) both of which come from companies with long-standing reputations for producing class-leading products. Like these two brands, PS Audio’s usual stomping ground also lies inthe high-end separates arena where its DACs and digital products sit alongside a selection of audio power plants. The Sprout is a different beast, representing the culmination of two and a half year’s work by sales director Scott McGowan, son of CEO and founder Paul McGowan.
 |  Feb 05, 2015  |  0 comments
It might not be a household name, but Hegel has a considerable reputationin its home country of Norway and is increasingly winning favour with dealers and customers further afield. The company has a strong technology pedigree and its approach to its extensive audio product range is to do things rather differently from the norm. Unsatisfied with some of the supposed limitations of digital signal handling and transistor amplification, Hegel has gone back to the drawing board for the manufacturing of the H80. This is an integrated amplifier and DAC in one box that is setting its stall out to offer convenience and quality.

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