Pre/Power Amplifiers

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Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 01, 2023
hfnoutstandingLong-awaited, while the monoblock version of Exposure's 3510 amplifier series looks just like its Stereo and Integrated models, in practice it is a new and highly refined amp

When Exposure launched its 3510 series in 2021, as a replacement for the venerable 3010 range, attention was first given, perhaps unsurprisingly, to the integrated amplifier [HFN Nov '21]. One year later it was joined by a stereo power amp and partnering preamp [HFN Nov '22], and a year after that we witness the arrival of the 3510 Mono, tested here. Such an approach is not unusual for a boutique brand – a fair description of the Sussex-based company – but it's perhaps also indicative of the hidden differences between Exposure's amplifier designs.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 17, 2023
hfnoutstandingTaking inspiration from the industrial design and key circuit features of D'Agostino's Momentum series, this second-gen Progression amplifier may upset its own applecart

It struck me, around halfway through the first track, that designer/CEO Dan D'Agostino was emulating the way supercar companies delineate their model ranges. Hey, I needed something to explain why the new Progression S350 Stereo power amplifier at £34,998 costs just over half that of the Momentum S250 MxV's £54,998, and yet it is over two times the size and rated at 100W more per channel: 350W vs 250W. Also, at 454x230x584mm (whd) against a Momentum's 318x133x546mm, the Progression S350 dwarfs the dearer unit. It was like the comedy Twins, with Schwarzenegger standing next to DeVito.

Martin Colloms  |  Jul 07, 2023  |  First Published: Apr 01, 1993
hfnvintageIts components may work in all-Naim systems, but in this review of the company's latest pre/power Martin Colloms looks at the alternatives too

Neither I nor the Editor could remember when HFN last reviewed a Naim amplifier so, to redress the balance, we are covering the company's latest pre and power duo here. Priced at £1880, the NAC 82 carries the full remote control first seen on the top-of-the range NAC 52 preamp. An optional extra board (around £120) provides analogue disc input (MC or MM).

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 03, 2023
hfnoutstandingDubbed 'The Conductor' and 'The Orchestra', respectively, Hegel's replacements for the decade-old P30/H30 pre/power amplifiers are flagships worthy of their names

By all accounts Hegel has been very busy over the last few years, which is a notion that might raise some eyebrows because – understandably – the Norwegian company went a little quiet during and after 2020. In fact, the V10 phono preamplifier [HFN Mar '21] has been about the only piece of hardware to escape the drawing board of Hegel's owner and master engineer Bent Holter since Covid. However, as industry insiders and the company's user base well knew, Hegel was battling the angry gods of software development to make its major integrated amplifiers Roon Ready.

Ken Kessler  |  Jun 20, 2023  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2000
hfnvintageKen Kessler brings you an exclusive subjective review of a legend reborn: the Quad ll-forty mono power amplifiers and QC-twentyfour preamp

Goodness me! Two Quad scoops in one season! OK, so it's not like waking up with Kim Basinger, but I am fully aware of the privilege. When I kicked off the Quad 989 loudspeaker review [HFN Jul '00]

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 08, 2023
hfnoutstandingThe original Halcro amp starred in a recent HFN Vault feature but, some 20 years on, the marque is back in the same iconic shape and with the same high tech claims...

Working out the brand behind the Eclipse Stereo power amplifier isn't hard: not only is the design a modern take on the iconic Australian Halcro amps of the past [see 'From the Vault', HFN Dec '22], but the product itself, with the power supply and amplifier suspended between two solid uprights, forms the letter 'H' – not a trick we've seen other manufacturers attempting!

Martin Colloms  |  May 23, 2023  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1998
hfnvintageDoes enormous power always make musical sense? Martin Colloms hears a new stereo power amp from a designer who begs to differ

DNM's long-awaited update to the PA3 power amplifier has finally arrived. Fully regulated, the PA3 S reflects the uncompromising approach of its designer Denis Morecroft. Offering just 23W per channel but costing £3750, this stereo power amp has undergone a long gestation, the reasons for which Morecroft outlines in our interview boxout.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 22, 2023
hfnoutstanding'Tubes Rule' is the Manley Labs mantra as we catch up with an aquatically-inspired pre/ monoblock combo that have been at the core of its range for the best part of 20 years

Timely or what? When editor PM pointed out that the Manley Jumbo Shrimp Line Preamplifier (£5849) and Mahi Monoblock Amplifier (a stereo pair at £7599 making up Mahi-Mahi – geddit?) had been in the catalogue for ages, I learned from company president EveAnna Manley that it was exactly 20 years to the day of their debut that I was auditioning the latter.

Martin Colloms  |  Apr 25, 2023  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1991
hfnvintageMartin Colloms hears the FET nine/e and SA/3.9e from Threshold – a company that can lay claim to being one of the founders of the high-end...

Threshold has been making high-quality amps for many years, its preamps showing early use of FET circuitry and the power amps distinguished by an output stage design which Threshold calls 'Stasis', a kind of active Class A operation. Company founder and chief designer, Nelson Pass, remains fully involved and his signature appears on the circuit diagrams included in the excellently documented operating manuals supplied with the units.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 21, 2023
hfnoutstandingWith its rack-mount 'ears' and 2U chassis, Mac's MI502 amplifier has its sights set on the custom install market. But is this Class D powerhouse also a treat for purist stereophiles?

It's not unusual to find consumer hi-fi hardware making some concessions to the custom installation (CI) space – typically connectivity, such as RS232 and Ethernet – that enables a CI professional to integrate and control the product in a wider system. Yet there are also items, such as McIntosh's MI502, that are more deliberately aimed at the CI market. A slimline two-channel power amplifier, it looks a world away from some of the Binghamton, New York-based company's heavy-hitters. Should it be given a swerve by the dedicated audiophile? Or might it be just what the doctor ordered?

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 10, 2023
Look familiar? This new four-box pre/power stack from Musical Fidelity shares the styling of 2014's Nu-Vista 800 integrated, but is it a high-end contender? You bet it is!

Ever get the feeling we've been here before? Well, the arrival of the latest amplifier system from Musical Fidelity brings a new twist to the whole déjà vu thing as the Nu-Vista naming and macho aesthetics are familiar from the historically hefty Nu-Vista 800 integrated amplifier [HFN Nov '14]. In practice that classic nuvistor tube-equipped integrated amplifier, also rated at 300W/8ohm, has provided the inspiration for both the industrial and technical design of the PRE and PAS we see here, the hybrid nuvistor/transistor concept now evolved into a pre/power set-up, complete with separate PSUs for each. So one box is now four...

Ivor Humphreys  |  Mar 17, 2023  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2000
hfnvintageThe arrival of a new British hi-fi brand is a major event. Ivor Humphreys hears Samuel Johnson's 50W-rated pca100/ppa100 pre/power amplifiers

Abrand new company, Samuel Johnson was founded by a group of enthusiasts, most of whom had met through their work with a Scottish-based manufacturer of control systems for industrial applications and who discovered further common ground in a consuming interest in hi-fi.

Review: Tim Jarman  |  Mar 14, 2023
hfnvintageFrom a UK manufacturer quick to take advantage of the arrival of high-power transistors comes a '60s pre/power amp combo as curious as it is rare. How does it sound today?

Hands up those who have seen a Bryan amplifier before, let alone heard one. Me neither – until I unpacked the Mark III Model 500/700 pairing seen here. The first 500 arrived when higher-power transistors were beginning to be used in quality audio, yet while the technology became universal, British brand Bryan sank without trace.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 09, 2023
hfnoutstandingAvailable in both monoblock and stereo chassis, the Centaur II has been a mainstay of the Constellation range for over six years. It's clearly not broken, so why change it?

While some brands maintain a steady rotation – evolution – of their products, others, including Constellation Audio, hit on the jackpot early and feel little inclination to change a winning formula. So while we've already tested the £73,500 Centaur II 500 power amp [HFN Dec '19] we missed out on the £53,998 Constellation Centaur II Stereo. Until now...

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 21, 2023
hfnoutstandingThe Austrian brand's first multichannel power amp is designed not just for home theatre systems but also to service bi- or even tri-amped stereo set-ups. Is this a trend?

Musical Fidelity is no stranger to big power amplifiers. Its top-of-the-range monoblock, the £3599 M8s-700m, claims a 700W/8ohm output and weighs in at 35.5kg, and the company sells a stereo model in the M8 series too, the £3999 2x500W/8ohm-rated M8s-500s. But perhaps what few expected from the brand, considering its range also consists of DACs, streaming amps, phono stages and CD players – everything a two-channel audiophile could want, in other words – is a seven-channel amplifier. Which is what we have here, in the shape of the M6x 250.7.

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