Integrated Amplifiers

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Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 13, 2014
The Editor’s review briefing included the warnings: ‘It’s 29kg – you may need help in unpacking it’ and ‘The S-550i is a remarkably dense amplifier, probably the most self-effacing yet monstrously powerful integrated we’ve ever tested. ’ This new flagship integrated, replaces the FBI while the S-300i remains as Krell’s entry-level integrated at £2795. The S-550i is a true ‘big brother’: the sonic resemblance is uncanny save for a brutal power delivery. While the front panel suggests minimalism, that’s only because all minor settings are relegated to a menu system, eg, balance setting and input trim, which can also be accessed by the full-function remote.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 13, 2014
Yes, those valves – made in-house – really are a foot tall! And they radiate substantial heat once the SXI has been powered up for a few minutes, but KR Audio’s amplifiers are beautifully engineered. The company is based in Prague, founded by electronics engineer the late Dr Ricardo Kron in 1992. It’s a boutique firm of only a dozen or so people – skilled artisans who blow the glass and hand-craft the tubes. Such is the transparency of KR Audio’s Kronzilla amplifiers that at least of couple of German recording studios use them in mastering suites.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 11, 2014
If proof were needed of Bryston’s mettle for embracing the modern world beyond purist two-channel analogue pursuits, it’s the B135 SST2 C-Series Integrated Amplifier. While the unit reviewed here is two-channel, purist and analogue, it can be fitted with a DAC module for £1575 that adds two coaxial and two Toslink inputs. Other options include a £500 universal remote and an MM-only phono stage for £650. Bryston offers neither MC nor USB.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 11, 2014
When Devialet’s D-Premier was launched [HFN Apr ’10] it appeared to offer everything – tremendous power, direct digital inputs and a uniquely slim form factor. Its beautiful industrial design was matched by the elegance of its technology, a hybrid of Class A voltage amplification with precision digital Class D current dumpers. Devialet first chose to implement HDMI as the digital interface of the future. But now we all know that USB is digital audio’s all-conquering interface.
John Bamford and Paul Miller  |  Dec 16, 2011
In celebrating the company’s 60th anniversary Nagra’s specialist hi-fi division pays homage to the ‘king of tubes’, the timeless 300B triode, in a new stereo amplifier 'A key difference between consumer electronic components manufactured for hi-fi systems and professional products made for sound engineers is the fact that you can drag pro gear across a room by its mains lead without it breaking,’ quipped an industry veteran to me, way back when. Witticisms like that, noted during formative years, tend to remain embedded in one’s memory banks for life. As does the iconic Nagra marque. Think Nagra and you think Swiss precision engineering at its finest: electronics made for professionals.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 19, 2011
A clean sheet design that makes a considerable visual statement Although EAR-Yoshino founder, boss and designer Tim de Paravicini describes the new V12 integrated amplifier as a totally ‘clean sheet of paper design’, you can’t help but notice its resemblance to the V20. That amplifier sired this one, yet all that remains to cause confusion are identical dimensions and looks. This time around, Tim wanted more still. ‘I wanted more grunt, a good, honest 50W/ch, and more extended tube life.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 19, 2011
The new Primare integrated introduces a bespoke class D module Sweden’s Primare company is renowned for its chic ‘designer’ components with immaculate alloy fascias and classy stainless steel controls. This I32 integrated is more than just a makeover of an existing design, however, as it employs the latest generation of Class D switching modules introduced in Primare’s multichannel AV amps in 2008 – dubbed ‘Ultra Fast Power Device’. The I32’s preamplifier section has a dedicated power supply and is isolated as far as possible from the two UFPD modules. As high efficiency is a given with Class D designs, here is an eco-friendly amp you needn’t feel guilty about leaving in standby, as it draws just 0.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 19, 2011
An innovative amplifier featuring sophisticated adjustable impedance matching. From the outside at least, what we have here is an integrated amp seemingly conventional in most respects, though its dimensions are just 440x80x410mm (whd) meaning it takes up no more shelf space than would a small turntable.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 19, 2011
This compact valve amp is far more talented than the low price might suggest Established in 1996, Yarland is old by Chinese audio manufacturer standards. With 15 years’ experience, it is able to produce a comprehensive range of models in two quaintly-named series: Dreamwork and Yourmate. The FV-34B is part of the Yourmate range. If the unit looks familiar, that’s because it has been – unashamedly – styled in the manner of a Unison Research.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
The latest revisions to the big Norwegian increase its appeal Electrocompaniet’s current Classic series looks forward as well as back, with products designed to be integrated into modern multichannel, multi-source systems. The ECI 5 MK II integrated amplifier looks pretty much the same as the previous ECI 5 model, [HFN Oct ’09]. But there are major internal changes, although Electrocompaniet emphasises that all its amplifiers are still ‘made in the TIM-free school based on the principles laid down in the works of Dr Otala and Dr Jan Lohstroh’. The changes in the new ECI 5 MK II seem to have been mainly intended to meet the demands of big modern speakers when driven to high levels with rock music.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
Revisiting the first British solid state amplifier Goodmans was one of the most prolific loudspeaker makers of the 1960s, also supplying the radio and television trade. The company ran from 1932, ending when the TGI group was broken up in 2004. But the brand name as such survives marketing a range of DVB set-top boxes and LCD TV sets. Introduced in 1966 with a price tag of £49 10s, this compact little amplifier, the Maxamp 30, measured just 10in tall, 5in wide and 7in deep.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
The ancestor of a modern classic still has much to commend it Author of a couple of 1967-8 HFN features comparing the operation of output stages in Class A and AB transistor amplifiers, Jim Sugden then owned a company producing lab and test equipment. But thanks to a collaboration with Richard Allan, a company making speakers based nearby in Yorkshire, the first Class A amplifier made by Sugden was marketed under the Richard Allan name. The A21 amplifier made its first public appearance at the ’68 London Audio Fair in London. A 10W-per-channel integrated, it sold for £52, like Leak’s Stereo 30.
Ken Kessler and Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2011
Emblematic of the evolution of the Chinese-made valve amp is PrimaLuna's ProLogue Premium - in case you hanker after a value-for-money integrated with no rough edges This year, my son turned 21 and graduated from university. That was enough of a reminder of time’s passage to depress me. Far less cataclysmic an indicator was another shock to the system (metaphorical, I stress) in the form of the PrimaLuna Prologue Premium Integrated Amplifier. It’s not that the original, which ‘legitimised’ Chinese-made valve amps for Western consumers, was shabby by any means.
Ken Kessler and Paul Miller  |  Jul 08, 2011
Upscale integrateds must be the ‘new black’: following Storm, EAR-Yoshino, Quad and others, the Audiant 80i is a charmer from Down Under – and with an onboard DAC too In its 37 years as an amplifier manufacturer, Perreaux has gone from its 22W/ch GS 2002 integrated debut product to eye-watering 750W monoblock powerhouses. Separate preamps, professional gear, D/A converters, CD players – it’s a full-line brand that’s maintained a global reputation despite the remoteness of a manufacturing base in New Zealand. Along the way, Perreaux was bitten by the MOSFET bug. Having decided not to go with valves as far back as 1974, due to the inconveniences of size, weight and heat, and not entirely happy with the sound of bipolar solid-state devices, MOSFETs seemed a godsend.
John Bamford and Paul Miller  |  May 08, 2011
Sleek design, comprehensive functionality and even a built-in wireless DAC make the AS-400 a thoroughly modern integrated amp – for today’s iTunes generation Not long after the introduction of Micromega’s £2800 integrated amplifier, the IA-400, and its £1100 WM-10 wireless-equipped DAC comes a component that effectively combines the two: a new version of its integrated amplifier (with ‘AS’ instead of ‘IA’ nomenclature) featuring a built-in 802. 11n Wi-Fi receiver/DAC, working to Apple’s latest AirStream protocols. As with any wireless connectivity – Bluetooth or Wi-Fi – there is something quite spooky about the ability for music stored on computer, mobile ’phone or PDA to be played through one’s hi-fi system as if by magic. Unlike open source DLNA/UPnP systems, however, AirStream (formerly called Airplay) is proprietary to Apple and works only with its iTunes media player, iPhones, iPads and the web-enabled iPod Touch.

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