Integrated Amplifiers

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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.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 21, 2019
hfnoutstandingBudget hi-fi, from the USA: Emotiva's BasX TA-100 isn't quite what at first it seems – however, given what it does, it's hard not to conclude that it's something of a bargain

Well, this is rather confusing: look up the Emotiva BasX TA-100, which sells in the UK through Karma Audio Visual for £519, on its US-based manufacturer's website, and you'll find it appears under 'Preamps'. In fact Emotiva has a stack of preamps, and even more power amps, in its unusually extensive catalogue.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
Exposure Electronics was founded by John Farlowe in 1974 and has remained committed to two-channel music reproduction. The company is largely famous for its big blackpre/power amplifier combinations of the 1980s, when it sold to people who wanted punchy solid-state amps that sounded smoother and creamier than rival Naim products. Nowadays, the sound hasn’t changed much but the size has, and most of its wares are more affordable products such as this one – Exposure’s top integrated. The 3010S2 series comprises a CD player, mono and stereo power amps, a preamplifier and a phono amp.
Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 17, 2020
hfncommendedDespite its diminutive dimensions, this half-size CD player/integrated amp combination offers a grown-up sound along with facilities normally seen on full-width separates

Size matters – or does it? Most hi-fi manufacturers stick rigidly to the traditional 'full width' separates model, but not all. The former often maintain that the market simply isn't ready for the latter, arguing that many key countries demand 'proper size' boxes. Yet over the years we've seen brands like Cyrus make high-quality, half-width hi-fi their stock in trade. So which is it to be? The answer, reckons Exposure, is to offer both.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 05, 2020
hfncommendedAn artisan brand with its own take on Hypex's tried-and-tested Class D amp module offers both tube and transistor variants to taste. Here's the low-down on the latter

Hybrid amps have always amused me. I still dream of Radford's TT100. This hi-fi equivalent of grafting two plant species hopes – ideally – to combine the best of a brace of disparate technologies. Too often, they marry the worst. Extraudio's X250T represents a first for me in that it promises to take efficient, compact Class D amplification and endow it with the sonic virtues of Class A, hence Class AD. Which made me think of playing with Krells way back in 1985.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 30, 2015
British company Ferrograph, as its name suggests, has its origins in the production of tape recorders. After the Second World War it successfully marketed a series of professional machines based around the sturdy Wearite deck. Having mastered this most difficult of components, it would have been relatively straightforward for Ferrograph to diversify into other lines. But its first integrated stereo amplifier is one of the most interesting.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 28, 2020
hfnoutstandingHere's a compact amp with both digital and analogue inputs, plus a full Roon-ready network audio implementation, and radically lowered price – what's not to like?

Alot can happen in three years, and while the amplifier we have here is very much the smaller sibling of the DIA-400S [HFN Oct '16], it's also boosted by the inclusion of the Danish company's NPM module, a complete network audio solution giving access to a wide range of streaming options.

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.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 16, 2019
hfnoutstandingA little over half the price of the mighty H590 amp, in a slimmer design and with very similar facilities and output, this new arrival from Norway is a sure-fire bargain

They're clearly fans of the old buckled swash at Hegel: having evoked Master And Commander in announcing its £9000 H590 flagship amplifier [HFN Oct '18], the Norwegian company says it's calling the new H390 'Robin Hood'. Why? Well, it's all a matter of re-distribution of wealth, apparently, for the £4900 debutant takes much of the ability of its big brother, and makes it available to those of us of humbler means.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 11, 2019
hfnoutstandingPromising more power, better sound and greater flexibility, will this latest incarnation of a longstanding 'audiophile favourite' tube integrated meet the challenge?

The first Stereo 40 tube integrated amp arrived in the year 2000, and according to Icon Audio's founder and chief designer David Shaw, 'is the heart of what we do'. It's the metaphorical ham sandwich of the valve amplifier world – the staple diet of audiophiles wanting a simple, affordable, user-friendly integrated that offers classic tube sound and some interesting features too. This new £2200 Stereo 40 MkIV sits bang-smack in the middle of the range and, as claimed, is uncommonly versatile.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 21, 2020
hfncommendedIcon Audio's new Stereo ST30SE amplifier makes use of beefy KT150 output valves in an effort to overcome the traditionally low power of SE tube amps. Does it succeed?

The single-ended valve amplifier is still something of a niche product. Low power outputs and often equally low damping factors mean that very careful system matching, plus sensitive loudspeakers, are a prerequisite if you are to hear such designs give of their very best. However, the UK's very own guru of all things thermionic, David Shaw of Icon Audio, has decided to address these issues with his £2299 single-ended Stereo ST30SE, an integrated amp having, shall we say, a tad more welly, thanks to it being equipped with KT150 output valves.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 09, 2019
hfnoutstandingWe're a long way from the old idea of hairshirt hi-fi here: the latest heavyweight integrated amp from Krell's Connecticut factory comes fully-loaded – and then some!

You need to do some serious rethinking on first encountering the Krell K-300i. If you're expecting a simple device all about massive power and minimalism, you're going to be disappointed, but for those looking for an amp able to handle all the needs of the modern music listener, this one could just be bang on the money.

Ken Kessler & Paul Miller  |  Feb 06, 2009
Debate that’s been raging since the dawn of hi-fi, Integrated vs Separates boils down to this: the former’s benefits over the latter include the removal of a pre-to-power cable connection, the need for one less AC outlet, less shelf space and – above all – the knowledge that the two sections are optimised for each other. Separates, however, counter with truly dedicated power supplies for each section, as well as isolation of the pre and power amp stages for less potential for undesirable interaction. Traditionally, the higher you go up the price scale, the more likely you are to opt for separates. Over the decades, milestone integrateds would appear that upset the formula: Sugden’s A48, specific models from Rogers, McIntosh, AR, et al.

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