Integrated Amplifiers

Sort By:  Post Date TitlePublish Date
Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 19, 2024
hfnoutstandingFirst the Nu-Vista series, and now the iconic 'Class A' A1 integrated is reimagined by Musical Fidelity's new owners. How close to the original is this modern version?

Now that Heinz Lichtenegger, president of parent brand Audio Tuning, is comfortably behind the wheel of Musical Fidelity and the marque is churning out a steady flow of new products, including the rather notable Nu-Vista amplifiers [HFN Mar & Aug '23], it's good to see the full history of this British brand being revisited. The £1499 reissue of the 'griddle plate' A1 integrated amplifier is a case in point. Without losing sight of the past – or the original A1's flaws – it has been reworked by Simon Quarry, the engineer in charge of most new Musical Fidelity designs. The result is a fully symmetrical, Class A-biased amplifier that looks, and sounds, true to the original – it is not simply a vintage lookalike with unconvincing innards.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 15, 2024
hfnoutstandingRotel's 'entry-level' Michi integrated, now in Series 2 guise, features multiple component updates – including switching to an ESS DAC – while retaining its huge power output

Listening to Rotel's Michi X3 Series 2 reminds me of that popular paranormal radio series Uncanny: I'm sure the amplifier's all-black, slightly menacing presence is in my listening room, though the sceptical view says it shouldn't exist. After all, some months back Rotel reorganised its distribution in mainland Europe, but with no mention of what was happening in the UK. A conversation with Rotel's distributor at the time, Bowers & Wilkins, had indicated that the lawyers were busy, and things were set to change.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 12, 2024
hfnoutstandingThis new heavyweight integrated blends inspiration from D'Agostino's Momentum HD preamp and MxV power amp into an app-controlled design with modular upgrade path

Integrated amplifiers are a matter of lifestyle choice, and we've all heard the arguments about why they are either better or worse than separate pre/power combinations. Whatever the sales pitch, pro or anti, the bottom line is that you are choosing space-saving over possible audiophile preferences. With the Momentum MxV Integrated – the other one in the family being the less-costly Progression [HFN Nov '20] – founder and chief engineer Dan D'Agostino is giving you absolutely everything in a single box, for a heady £73,998 in silver or black.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 22, 2024
hfnoutstandingThe latest addition to Absolute Sounds' boutique 'Ten' range – the Trafomatic Rhapsody from Serbia – is a single-ended, 300B-based triode tube amp rated at a mighty 20W

As far-fetched as this may seem, given that most post-Millennials have yet to embrace hi-fi, we are living in another audio 'Golden Age'. This isn't the place to rattle off a list of gems that have crossed my path just since the Covid moratorium ended, but the Western Electric WE-91B [HFN Feb '23], a trio of DeVore speakers [HFN Apr '21, Mar & Aug '23], and family of DS Audio optical cartridges [HFN Oct '21 & Oct '23] are among the many that beg my repeating of the homily, 'You've never had it so good'. Trafomatic's Rhapsody (M2-15 Anniversary stereo PSE 300B tube) integrated amplifier joins them, and emphatically so.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 05, 2024
hfnvintageWith the Danish company in the doldrums come the early '70s could this reimagined receiver with phase-locked loop decoder deliver on its promise of 'high fidelity' sound?

Bang & Olufsen's first move into the world of serious hi-fi came in 1967 with the introduction of the Beolab 5000 amplifier and Beomaster 5000 tuner [HFN Dec '12]. These defined the European state of the art at the time and were as successful as their high prices allowed. The company then distilled these two units into the Beomaster 3000, which offered similar qualities at a more accessible price. It lacked the sheer power and versatility of the Beolab 5000 but sold strongly throughout a long production run.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 11, 2023
hfnoutstandingWith solid-state and tube/transistor hybrid models in its range, Copland returns to its roots with an all-analogue, all-valve integrated that supports aftermarket tube upgrades

By Copland's own reckoning, its noughties-era CTA405 integrated amplifier [HFN Aug '07] was an 'object of desire for audiophiles worldwide'. Now, some 16 years later, it has taken the idea of that model and considerably overhauled it – the £6500 CTA407 is both recognisably a descendant of the '405 and also markedly different.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 09, 2023
hfncommendedBased on the slimmer, lookalike TA1, the TA2 features twice as many output transistors, a far beefier PSU and three times the output... All this, a DAC/preamp and FM radio too

You shouldn't even need to see the £1099 price tag of Emotiva's BasX TA2 to understand it's one of the American manufacturer's entry-level products: the clue is in the name. Yet this integrated amplifier is about more than just covering off the 'basics', not least as it's positioned as a step up from the £669 BasX TA1 [HFN Nov '22].

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 19, 2023
hfnvintageWith retro styling currently all the rage how will this integrated compare, especially considering it was the most affordable amp in Luxman's mid-'70s lineup? We find out

The L-30 was the cheapest amplifier in Luxman's 1976 range. Not that it looked anything like a budget model – rather, it had an almost intangible feel of quality and superior finish that in terms of showroom appeal put it above all but the very best offerings from the Japanese big names at the time.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 11, 2023
hfnoutstandingOver 40 years have passed since the 8000A amp broke cover, but it's still recognisable in the flagship 9000A, despite LCD screen and DAC on board, and joined by a CD transport

While some manufacturers' product lines can become confusing as models tackling various price points and functionality are launched, relaunched and discontinued, Audiolab has, by contrast, a laser-like focus. It caters very much to the wallet-conscious audiophile, across a clearly delineated stable of amps and players/streamers, which kicks off with its 6000 series and progresses through 7000 and 8300 to the newly launched, flagship 9000 series. This currently comprises two models, auditioned here, but will be joined later this year by another.

Review: Mark Craven, Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 07, 2023
hfnoutstandingThis latest nuvistor/bipolar hybrid integrated marks a return of Musical Fidelity's traditional 'no-nonsense belter'. Difficult speakers? This amplifier will drive anything!

The conclusion to our review of Musical Fidelity's original Nu-Vista 800 integrated amplifier [HFN Nov '14] announced: '16 years from now, we'll remember it!'. That was the gap between the manufacturer's first Nu-Vista product, the 1998 Nu-Vista Preamplifier, and its then-new integrated descendant. Yet while our reviewer was so enamoured of MF's tube/solid state powerhouse that he imagined it flying the hybrid amp flag for years to come, it turns out the Nu-Vista 800 was not to last quite that long.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 18, 2023
hfncommendedThe high-value Edwards Audio range from Talk Electronics now includes no fewer than four integrated amps, the IA1 also equipped with motorised volume and remote control

While there is a drive to bring (hi-fi) manufacturing back home to Blighty, some brands never left. One such stalwart is Edwards Audio, a sub-brand of the longstanding Talk Electronics range of full-width components. The Edwards Audio IA1 integrated amplifier on these pages is handmade in the UK – yes, designed, engineered and assembled here – and yet costs just £430. Still not convinced? Well, you can have a simpler version of the same amp, shorn of remote control, for £60 less, and you can even buy both versions in red, white or blue – but not all three at once – as part of a range of six acrylic colours in which Edwards Audio offers its full stable of products.

Mark Craven  |  Jul 20, 2023
hfnoutstandingFrom the bottle-focused Italian marque comes an amplifier combining a quartet of power tubes, per side, plus onboard USB DAC, making it more integrated than many...

There's a perception that tube amplifiers are aimed at a specific segment of the hi-fi community, one that favours analogue sources over all others, whether reel-to-reel tape or vinyl. While tube-equipped outboard DACs are not uncommon, DAC-equipped tube amplifiers like the £7999 Synthesis A100 Titan, from the Italian manufacturer's Action series, most certainly are. The Bluetooth-equipped Western Electric Type 91E [HFN Feb '23] is another rare example, although whether either of these 'digitally inclusive' integrateds represents the beginning of a trend is hard to say.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 19, 2023
hfnoutstandingDenon has been in existence for 111 years, resolutely supporting CD playback for the last 40. Its latest CD disc spinner handles SACD too, and joins the 1700 series amplifier

The Denon duo in the limelight here are an obvious refresh of the previous generation DCD-1600NE disc player and PMA-1600NE amp, introduced in 2017, rather than entirely new designs. Partly that's because both the £1299 DCD-1700NE and £1699 PMA-1700NE look very similar, if not identical, to their predecessors. The solid construction, metal front fascia that curves to ensure the Denon logo catches the light, the weighty volume knob in the middle of the amp, the old-school tone controls… it's all very par for the course, as is the choice between black or silver colourways.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 09, 2023
hfnvintageOffering all the functionality of full-sized components, this petite five-part '90s system took micro to the max, spawning imitations industry-wide. How does it sound today?

The first time I saw a JVC UX-1 it was pictured on the side of a bus. The image was part of an ad that carried the simple message 'All features, Great, and Small'. And this turned out to be true, for the UX-1 micro system had every function imaginable, sounded like 'proper' hi-fi and was tiny.

Review: Jamie Biesemans  |  May 11, 2023
hfnoutstandingNearly ten years on from its first 'My audiophile integrated Amplifier', or MaiA, Pro-Ject launches its latest compact, but feature-packed, phono/digital integrated amplifier

Mini hi-fi, very much 'a thing' in the 1980s, is still breathing today thanks to Heinz Lichtenegger's Pro-Ject brand. 'Small is better', according to Pro-Ject's head honcho, stating that modern music lovers want great sound without bulky hi-fi gear. Surprisingly, the MaiA DS3 integrated amplifier tested here is one of the larger of Pro-Ject's 'Boxes', being part of its DS line which, together with the RS line, trades some compactness for improved electronics. The company's budget E and more accomplished S series are the home of truly diminutive devices.

Pages

X