Integrated Amplifiers

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Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 14, 2019
hfnoutstandingA high-end, high-power, configurable tube/transistor hybrid integrated amplifier – tightly targeted but the Aesthetix Mimas could easily seduce the separates purist

Aaah, downsizing: if it keeps the high-end healthy, I'm all for it. US boutique brand Aesthetix's Mimas integrated amp joins a sector that's increasing in numbers if not dimensions, set to satisfy the modern affliction of space shortages, especially for city dwellers. Along with Wilson's TuneTot monitor [HFN Nov '18], the all-in-one SME Synergy turntable/phono stage package, TechDAS's Air Force V [HFN Jan '19], and other ultra-compact-yet-truly-high-end items, the Mimas demands little room.

Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  Jul 06, 2009
I always get a warm, Sunday afternoon feeling when a new product arrives from Arcam. While you can imagine the Far Eastern competition frenetically working 24/7 to be first to market with the latest multichannel widget, I see Arcam as a little more reserved, a little more British. The AVR600 may have been a long time coming with its HD-audio decoding, multi-room installer features and premium video processing but it simply exudes dedication and polish from the moment you open the box. It’s substantial for starters.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 14, 2015
In some ways the AX-5 represents a distillation of Ayre’s ‘purist’ philosophies, as it employs both the company’s ‘Diamond output circuit’ and the elaborately-designed volume control trickled down from its flagship KX-R Twenty preamplifier. In the fully-balanced zero loop feedback AX-5 integrated, Ayre eliminated the preamp stage altogether and simply made the gain of the power amplifier directly adjustable using VGT (Variable Gain Transimpedance). The volume knob on the right of the fascia acts as an encoder to control a pair of motor-driven Shallco silver-contact rotary switches (one for each channel, conjoined using toothed belts), each of which contains dozens of hand-selected, low-noise resistors. Volume level can be adjusted over a range of 69dB in 46 steps of 1.
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.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngNamed after Cambridge Audio’s founding father, this new integrated amplifier includes a DSD-compatible DAC and Bluetooth aptX HD. But does it really have an Edge...?

There’s one very noticeable thing about the new Edge range from Cambridge Audio – well, apart from the fact that these hefty new high-end components are quite a long way from the company’s usual entry/midrange territory, that is. Look at any of the new products and you’ll notice the branding – it simply says ‘Cambridge’, as if to set this range apart, and fit in with the minimalist-but-purposeful vibe of the whole lineup.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
Longstanding Slovakian tube specialist Canor is based in Prešov, in a purpose-built factory where it builds everything in-house and has developed a proprietary valve-testing and burn-in methodology. Valves that don’t measure up, we’re told, are returned to their makers for use in guitar amps and the like. The company traded for many years as Edgar until changing its brand name to Canor at the end of 2007. Its inaugural integrated tube amp, the TP101 was first shown in 1995 at an exhibition in Brno.
Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 12, 2019
hfnoutstandingA modern integrated amp with the valve du jour, Copland's CTA408 leaves nothing out and delivers the lot – could this be the biggest bargain in high-end audio?

Of late, I have been banging on, to the dismay of many, about how high-end audio has priced itself beyond any regard for reality. That said, context is everything. So, if I tell you a burger can cost £18 in a London restaurant and that Copland's CTA408 integrated tube amp is actually a bit of a bargain at £6398, please accept that I'm painfully aware the latter sum is a fortune to many, but the former is highway robbery. Eighteen quid for a burger!

Keith Howard & Paul Miller  |  Jul 06, 2009
This way madness lies. Or so you’d think if you buy hook, line and sinker into the mythology that has grown up around the Swiss darTZeel brand. And yet our Movers & Shakers feature in the March ’09 issue illustrated that darTZeel partners Hervé Delétraz and Serge Roch are nothing if not methodical in their approach to amplifier design. Their goal is to keep the audio path as straight and simple as possible, avoiding input/output switching and even using an optically-coupled rotary encoder for volume rather than a conventional potentiometer.
Richard Stevenson & Paul Miller  |  Jul 06, 2009
With HD technology and disc formats now on a firmer footing, almost every maker worth its transistors has launched a range-topping ‘HD’ amplifier. Enter Denon’s AVC-A1HD, goodbye AVC-A1XVA. Price-wise, the AVC-A1HD amplifier’s £3800 ticket nestles between Denon’s flagship AVR-4308 receiver (£2000, HFN, Dec ’07) and its new £10,000 A1HD multichannel pre/power combination. But of far more relevance is its position against its only serious competition – Yamaha’s DSP-Z11 (HFN, Apr ’08) and Pioneer’s SC-LX90, both at £5000.
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.
Paul Miller  |  Apr 16, 2010
Once in a generation a company will emerge, often from left-field of audio’s mainstream, with a concept so original and innovative that it has the capacity to re-define the expectations of a product genre. That company is Devialet of France and its product is the D-Premier integrated amplifier, expected to cost around £12k when launched in the UK. Embarking on this review, little was known about the nitty-gritty of the D-Premier aside from its description as an ‘ADH’ (Analogue/Digital Hybrid) amplifier. It was not exhibited at CES in January nor formally announced to the press, so much of what we’ll discuss here is derived from very close inspection and even closer lab work, all exclusive to Hi-Fi News.
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.
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.
John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  Jul 16, 2010
Hats off to the industrial designers at Emillé Labs. As with all the company’s reassuringly expensive tube amplifiers, the curiously named Cha’am integrated is a masterpiece of industrial design and it looks a million dollars. You can be forgiven if you’ve assumed the company is French. In fact, Emillé hails from South Korea, and is a specialist audio division of Kwangwoo Electronics [see ‘The Name Rings a Bell’ box-out].
Hi-Fi News team & Paul Miller  |  Nov 06, 2009
Surfing the wave of new and innovative Far Eastern valve products, Emillé looks set to ride a tube of its own with the visually stunning KI-40L. The Far East has been producing quality components for many years (see boxout for company history). However in recent years, as the world has shrunk thanks to the internet, an opportunity has opened up for us to try exotic fare on offer from the likes of Shanling and now Korean company Emillé. Part amplifier, part sculpture this physically imposing component is rated at just 40W/ch and forms part of a five-strong range.

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