Last year Audio Analogue celebrated its twentieth birthday with a new, contemporary edition of the company’s first ever product, the Puccini integrated amplifier. Now, the Italian brand has given the Maestro the ‘Anniversary’ treatment. More »
Midland Audio Xchange got in touch to let us know about the Lavardin ISX Reference integrated amplifier. More »
Lector, from Italy, have launched their new hybrid integrated amplifier, the ZXT-70, which is vavle with mosfet output circuity.
Bel Canto Design Ltd., manufacturer of home audio electronics for 25 years, will begin shipping the new Black Integrated Amplifier the ACI 600 later this month. Based on the 2015 Black Amplification system. The ACI 600 is constructed from a solid billet of aluminium. Bel Canto say: “It houses the most advanced integrated audio system available, seamlessly interfacing to the many audio source options available today, while maintaining the highest audio standards. This new generation processor based on Bel Canto’s Advanced Asynchronous Audio Processor core platform has been in development for the past 2 years. Our A3P 64-bit processor controls the critical Asynchronous interfaces, custom FIR Filters, Tilt, EQ and Bass Management and other functions with the highest level of accuracy. The ACI 600 ULN Masterclock circuitry holds jitter below 40 Femtoseconds, ensuring pure sonic performance”.
The concept of an integrated amplifier that embodies the same ethos, musical and sonic qualities as Gryphon Audio Designs’ most esoteric offerings, but at a fraction of the cost, is clearly an attractive proposition . As far back as April, 2009, Gryphon introduced the original Atilla, in continuous production until 2016, the Atilla had a long run. In the interim period, Gryphon has made advances in the critical fields of circuit topology and parts design and selection with the evolution of the Pandora preamplifier and Mephisto power amplifier. Now, drawing on their experience with these reference level components, Gryphon Audio Designs presents the next generation Atilla, the Gryphon Diablo 120.
Audiolab has redesigned its most famous component to deliver an entirely new level of performance. The 8300A is the latest in a long line of Audiolab integrated amplifiers that began in 1983 with the 8000A which Audiolab claim is ‘one of the most influential British audio products of all time.’ The original 8000A was the quintessential ‘step-up’ amplifier, delivering build quality, reliability, functionality and performance that were a clear level above the classic ‘budget’ amps of the time. It proved a tremendous success, its crisp, clean sound quality offering an upgrade path well trodden by music fans in the UK and beyond throughout its 14-year lifespan. The 8300A is the second component to be announced from Audiolab’s new 8300 Series, hot on the heels of the 8300CD CD player/DAC. While the 8300CD is a careful evolution of its predecessor, the 8300A is a full redesign of the product it replaces, the 8200A. Its external design is clean and simple; still recognisably Audiolab, albeit sporting the updated 8300 Series aesthetic. Inside, the changes are more radical.
According to Jan Ertner, who led the 8300A development project, the new amp represents “a fresh approach to the same challenge: genuinely ‘high-end’ audio amplification in a single box, delivered to the end user at an affordable price”. Its design enables it to adapt to its user’s evolving requirements, offering three distinct operational modes: integrated amplifier, preamplifier or power amplifier, the latter enabling it be partnered with a surround sound processor in a high-performance AV system.
At the amp’s heart is a powerful dual-mono power amp section, delivering 75W per channel into eight ohms, with a maximum current delivery of 15 Amps into difficult loads. This is significantly more powerful than the outgoing 8200A, which was rated at 60W into eight ohms. The output stage of the discrete power amp circuits uses a CFB (Complementary Feedback) topology in combination with conventional emitter follower circuitry. The CFB stage offers superior linearity and ensures excellent thermal stability, as the idle current is kept independent of the temperature of the output transistors. Using an emitter follower in combination with the CFB stage is an efficient way of increasing the current ability of the amplifier without compromising the advantages of the CFB circuit. Having the emitter follower deliver additional current only when needed allows for a simpler current-limiting arrangement, which can be voltage independent. Audiolab calls this ‘Active Current Drive’, where the current limiting is under microprocessor control and programmed to allow the amplifier to supply high currents (+- 15A) into complex loads on par with amplifiers that are bigger and more powerful on paper. A 300VA toroidal transformer supplies the two mono amplifiers using separate secondary windings, followed by 2x15000uF reservoir capacity per channel (60000uF in total). The preamp section is kept as simple as possible to maintain signal purity, with line input signals simply passing through a unity gain buffer and a precision analogue volume stage. The latter covers the range from-80dB to +8dB in steps of 2dB, 1dB and 0.5dB (step resolution increasing with volume position). Much effort has gone into the physical layout of the 8300A’s circuitry, keeping the sensitive preamp section as free from noise interference as possible. This, plus the use of independent power supplies for critical circuit stages, helps to deliver performance on par with high-quality two-box pre/power amp systems. The inclusion of a phono stage is another important enhancement – the 8200A eschewed this facility, but the 8300A brings it back to capitalise on the current vinyl revival. Turntable users will appreciate the care with which this new stage has been designed, fed by its own power supply and delivering a high-quality, low- noise performance with both MM and MC cartridges, thus removing the need for an off-board phono stage.
Externally, the most obvious addition is an OLED display in the centre of the amp’s fascia, showing volume level, input selection, mode of operation and MM/MC phono setting. This display reflects the design of the 8300CD, helping to ensure that Audiolab’s new 8300 Series integrated amp and CD player/DAC are a perfect match for each other both aesthetically and functionally. Around the back, five line-level RCA inputs nestle alongside the phono input, plus a balanced XLR input for suitably equipment source components (including the 8300CD). Two pre outputs, a power input, a 12V trigger loop and a full set of loudspeaker binding posts for bi-wiring complete a comprehensive array of connectivity options.
The Audiolab 8300A integrated amplifier is available from October in a choice of silver or classic Audiolab black, with an RRP of £899.95.
Like its predecessor, the new 3010S2-D comes with six line level inputs. However, one of these is now a direct AV input to enable integration within a surround sound system. There is now also the possibility to fit an optional MM or MC phonostage, or a plug-in DAC board. The latter is capable of up to 192/24 bit PCM and DSD 64, and comes with two inputs: USB and BNC, with auto-switching between them. A preamp output allows for tagging-on of a separate power amplifier, in case you want to bi-amp your system. Speaker terminals are doubled to allow bi-wiring.
Special high-quality capacitors are used in the signal path, and the circuit topology has been mapped with a view to keeping signal and power supply paths short. Cascode circuitry is used for improved power supply immunity.
The preamplifier now sports a brand new circuit board with all discrete components rather than integrated circuits, while the power amp features a fast bipolar transistor output stage for dynamic and vivid performance. A new power supply adds extra stages of regulation for improved performance.
Both the front and back panels are graced with clear ergonomics and simplicity in features, with a well laid-out and comprehensive remote control completing the package.
Power output (stereo) 110 Watts per channel at 1KHz into 8 Ohms
Input impedance 17K Ohms minimum (line input)
Input sensitivity 250mV
Pre-amplifier output 1V for rated input (gain + 18dB full volume)
Frequency response 20Hz – 20KHz ± 0.5dB
Total harmonic distortion <0.03% at rated output, ref. 1KHz
Signal to noise ratio >100dB, ref. rated output
Channel separation >60dB, 20Hz – 20KHz
Mains supply 110/120V or 220/240V, 50/60Hz (factory set)
Power consumption <400VA, 8 Ohms load, both channels driven
Dimensions 115mm (h) x 440mm (w) x 300mm (d)
Net weight (unpacked) 12kg
Gross weight (packed) 14kg
Warranty 3 years
Pricing & availability
The Exposure 3010S2-D integrated amplifier is available now in silver or black, priced at £1,700 (incl. VAT).
On-board MM phonostage £240
On-board MC phonostage £240
The No 585 is engineered to be the finest integrated amplifier ever created by Mark Levinson and is the first of a new generation of products to be designed at HARMAN’s new state-of-the-art engineering facility located in Shelton, Connecticut.
It combines versatility with a Class AB amplifier delivering 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 350 watts per channel into 4 ohms and will accommodate a wide variety of digital music sources including high resolution 32-bit/192kHz computer audio and DSD over USB. In an industry first, the No 585 incorporates HARMAN Clari-Fi™ processing, which applies proprietary signal-enhancement techniques to “restore the sound quality of any compressed file format”.
The No 585 integrated amplifier is built using a heavy-gauge chassis and card-cage architecture to isolate critical low-level analogue and digital circuitry, which comprises audiophile-grade internal components and premium rear-panel connectors.
The No 585 offers six digital and four analogue inputs including USB, optical, coaxial, AES/EBU XLR and RCA. It employs fully discrete, mirror-imaged, dual-monaural analogue input and output circuitry, optimised for sonic integrity and uses individual signal switching relays for each of its four analogue stereo inputs: one XLR and three RCA. The volume controls use discrete 15-bit R-2R resistor ladder networks and low-noise analogue switches.
Its high-current, fully differential (balanced) Class AB power amplifier section utilises an oversized 900VA custom toroidal transformer with individual secondary windings for the left and right channels. Separate left and right channel regulated linear power supplies are used for all the analogue circuitry. Each amplifier channel employs 12 output transistors.
At the heart of the No. 585’s digital audio processing stage is an ESS Sabre 32-bit D/A converter with proprietary jitter elimination and fully balanced, discrete I/V (current-to-voltage) circuitry. The Cmedia USB audio processor is capable of asynchronous data transfer of high-resolution DSD and PCM files at up to 192kHz/32-bit resolution. For lower-resolution audio formats, HARMAN’s Clari-Fi signal processing reconstructs information and bandwidth that is lost in compressed file formats restoring higher-fidelity sound. Clari-Fi™ does not add equalization, bass boost, or other effects to the listening experience.
The No 585 provides a stereo preamp/subwoofer output with a selectable 80Hz high-pass filter for use in a properly implemented 2.1-channel system, and includes Ethernet, RS-232, IR and 12V trigger ports to facilitate its use audio/video installations with integrated systems control.
Typical retail price will be £10,500 and Mark Levinson No.585 Integrated Amplifier will be available December 2014.
Colin Wonfor the Technical Director at Tellurium Q is well known in hifi circles for the IncaTech Claymore amp from the 80s. In this long awaited review Stuart Smith takes a listen to the Claymore for the 21st Century.
“I’m used to listening with just 20 Watts of Class A from Tellurium Q’s Iridium amp but I have to say I really enjoyed having the extra power on tap, though I struggled to turn the volume knob much past 10 o’clock (and I do listen pretty loud) with the 95db Mummys. With the little Q Acoustics Concept 20s (possibly a more realistic partnering) there’s a real feeling that the Claymore has grabbed the speakers firmly and is taking control of them to get the best from them.”
The new MA6700 is a solid-state integrated amplifier combining amp and preamp functionality, along with a DAC and MM/MC phono stage, in an unmistakably McIntosh chassis. The optional AM/FM radio module effectively makes the MA6700 McIntosh’s first receiver since 1993.
The dual-layer-chassis MA6700 offers plenty of flexibility and has been designed to act as a centrepiece or ‘hub’, in a music system. It contains loads of inputs and includes McIntosh’s new internal High Drive headphone amplifier.
The 200-watt MA6700’s preamp section features a total of eleven inputs including coaxial and optical input, plus a dedicated asynchronous USB 2.0 input (operating at up to 32-bit). The MA6700 has a dedicated phono section for Moving Magnet and Moving.
The MA6700’s Home Theatre Pass Through feature allows integration into existing multichannel systems and an optional AM/FM tuner module (£800), featuring the same technology as McIntosh’s standalone tuners, brings radio playback to the amp. The optional module offers 20 presets for each radio band, as well as a remote AM antenna. The amplifier also offers bypassable tone controls (bass and treble) plus assignable inputs. RS232 control is also offered, along with rear-panel system data and power controls.
At 34kg and 200 watts per channel, the amplifier has enough power to properly drive virtually all loudspeakers McIntosh say. products, the MA6700 is skilfully handcrafted in the Binghamton, NY factory and boasts classic styling with contemporary features and technology.
The MA6700 sells for £7,295 and is available now. The optional AM/FM module is priced at £800.