Pre/Power Amplifiers

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Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jun 18, 2019  |  0 comments
Are the ambitious Edge streaming preamp and power amp combo the considerable bargain they appear to be?
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 04, 2019  |  0 comments
There’s much debate about the direction the UK economy will take post-Brexit, but we’re already seeing a shift to things being made in Britain again. With this in mind, it’s good to discover that this flagship pre/power amplifier combination is made here in Blighty. While we expect Bremont watches and Aston Martin cars to be manufactured here, it comes as something of a surprise to learn that Mitchell & Johnson is turning out this £2,598 amplifier combo from a factory based in the Midlands. As the first two pieces in the company’s new top-of-the range 800 Series, they are entirely designed, engineered and built in the UK and company boss David Johnson says that making its top series here means better control of product quality.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Sep 11, 2018  |  0 comments
This new ‘Anniversary Edition’ of Leema’s well-regarded Hydra II power amplifier marks 10 years since the original amp made its debut. Company co-founder Lee Taylor has sought to improve and update the design, seeing what extra magic could be achieved with new, modern components and approaches, without changing the qualities reached a decade ago. 
 The Hydra II Anniversary Edition is an intelligent and flexible stereo power amplifier that can also be bridged for use as a monoblock, should you lust for even more power. Rated at 148W power output per channel into 8ohm, it may not appear overly muscular but it is claimed to tolerate even the most recalcitrant of loudspeakers.
 |  Feb 02, 2015  |  0 comments
Who would have thought it? Obscure manufacturer of decent Chinese optical disc players starts spin-off company (Oppo Digital Inc. ) in California to make high-quality hi-fi products. It’s not a typical tale of hi-fi success, but the story is getting ever more believable with every product launch. Less than a year after the excellent PM-1 headphones were released, the company now has its own matching DAC/preamp/headphone amp too – in the rather pleasing shape of the HA-1.
 |  Feb 02, 2015  |  0 comments
For those that love music, there are going to be times where you want to hear it in other rooms apart from the listening room. One solution is to have extension speakers wired up to the main system, but that means running speaker cables everywhere. It also means having your system running full tilt when all you wantis some background music in your kitchen. A better solution is a completely separate, standalone system that doesn’t take up too much space and won’t break the bank.
 |  Jan 26, 2015  |  0 comments
Somewhere around the turn of the millennium, hi-fi started getting interesting again – with DVD-Audio and SACD arriving, MP3 going gangbusters and computer audio taking hold. Then asynchronous USB conferred hi-res capability on Macs and PCs, and now easy wireless has come of age thanks to aptX Bluetooth. Cambridge Audio’s new flagship DAC is a product of all this. Packed with most of the functionality that has popped up over the past decade, it purports to be a ‘greatest hits of digital’ in one convenient package.
 |  Jan 21, 2015  |  0 comments
If you’re a dyed-in-the-grain hi-fi aficionado, you’ll remember the classic Nytech CTA252 receiveras something of a giant killer ableto better some far more expensive pre-power amp combinations. It was launched by Richard Hay in the early seventies; a man who had served his audio apprenticeship at Radford Electronics. His company made respected, middle-market equipment for around 15 years. Phil Balaam was Nytech’s original test engineer, and worked closelywith Hay, learning every aspect of the company’s fine-sounding designs.
 |  Jan 19, 2015  |  0 comments
A preamplifier’s life is not a happy one. In the olden days, when mammoths roamed the wild planes and Duran Duran were at number one, its job was clear. A preamp sat in front of the power amp, because without it there was no way of getting music from your sound source. Music came from vinyl, and its meagre output was such that plugging it directly into a power amplifier would have produced all the power, as Captain Blackadder once said, of an asthmatic ant.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Densen B-200/B-310 Densen plays it cool, Scandinavian style, though very flexibly – but does the sound quite match? There’s no denying that these two units look uncommonly smart and timeless with their perfectly rectangular looks. And also worthy of honourable mention is the impressive remote control, all metal and streets ahead of most of its breed. The basic specification isn’t too unusual, the power amp putting out a notional 80 watts into the usual eight-ohm load, while the preamp has effectively six line inputs. There’s an unusually prolific array of phono sockets, though, not least because there are no less than four preamp outputs.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Quad Elite Pre/Mono Quad's new Elite series may appeal strongly on visuals and simplicity, but we found lots to like sonically too With its track record in audio now exceeding three-score years and ten, Quad remains true to its original aims in offering unique audio products that are immediately recognisable. The Elite range, which over the last year or so has replaced the respected 99 Series, aims to incorporate audiophile design in small, smart and easily connected matching units, with source and amplification components sharing a basic case design. They can all be connected with the usual phono sockets, but Quad’s default hookup is the ‘Ampbus’, a 15-way D socket on the back of each unit which is connected to the next unit in the chain with a supplied ribbon connector, carrying balanced audio (and control) signals. There is a stereo power amp in the range, but for this test we chose a pair of mono amps, each rated at 150 watts output.
Ed Selley  |  Sep 27, 2011  |  0 comments
Rotel RC-1580/RB-1582 Lots of power, lots of features – but also plenty of good quality sound to get worked up about f this test were principally about specifications, the other manufacturers might as well not have bothered submitting kit at all. The RB-1582 puts out nearly twice as much power as most of the other amps in the group, while the RC-1580 offers more inputs, more sophisticated switching, tone controls, MM and MC phono as standard, headphone output. . .
Ed Selley  |  May 16, 2011  |  0 comments
Triumphant return Get ready - Onkyo is back in 'serious' hi-fi after a 20-year gap and HFC's Ed Selley reckons this new pre/power is a real tour de force Onkyo has been out of the high-end hi-fi market for almost twenty years – long enough for us to believe that they had left it for good. But the brand is back and it has come out shooting. The components you see here are part of a new range of elite, flagship hi-fi products for 2011. This on its own would be good news.
Ed Selley  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Cayin and able Jimmy Hughes auditions newcomer Cayin and its retro-inspired pre/power that's giving the high- end establishment a run for its money Cayin is the brand name of Zuhai Spark Electronic Equipment Co. – a Chinese company making good-value, high-end electronic products. The unashamedly retro- looking SP-30S and SP-40M tube pre/power amp is one of its tastier offerings, with the promise of excellent performance at a realistic price. But, what should one expect from an amplifier like this? It used to be oh-so simple; tube amps sounded rich, warm and friendly, while solid-state types were lean, mean, and bitingly sharp.
Ed Selley  |  Dec 07, 2010  |  0 comments
Britain has the X-Factor Jimmy Hughes auditions Musical Fidelity’s 260-watt M6 pre/power and thinks its place in the grand final is guaranteed Musical Fidelity is taking on the high end at its own game, whilst lowering the price of entry. Take the new M6PRE and M6PRX preamp and power amp combo, for example: balanced inputs and outputs (including USB); high-quality MM/MC phono inputs; 260 watts per channel; a regulated power supply system and (claimed) low distortion levels are impressive credits indeed. And, unlike similar products, this duo is ‘high end’ at a more realistic price. Well, okay, they’re not exactly cheap, but look around at the high end and you’ll see that there’s a lot on offer here.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 12, 2010  |  0 comments
Universal panacea Can a preamplifier costing as much as a small car really make a difference? Jason Kennedy ponders the accepted order What better time than the new era of austerity for us to discover how much difference a really good preamplifier can make to an already impressive high-end system. Mark Levinson was one of the first to build seriously engineered high-end amplifiers. We don’t mean excessively large or massively powerful, although it was ahead of the power game, we mean Rolls Royce or SME-style build quality. It’s unusual for us to review a preamplifier on its own, but the new No.

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