Integrated Amplifiers

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Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 15, 2022
hfnvintageFuss-free and highly affordable, this compact valve integrated was an early foray by the Dutch company into the '60s separates market. But how will it sound today?

How much power does your present amplifier produce? Expectations have risen over the years to the point that wattages in the three-figure range are no longer exceptional. But is this necessary? The Philips AG9016 seen here is rated at 2W per channel – not even sufficient to satisfy the fairly lax requirements of the DIN 45 500 'hi-fi' standard, which requires six watts.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 14, 2022
hfnoutstandingA Serbian brand based in Chicago packs a streamer, DAC and headphone amplifier into three bijou cases, topped off with a bespoke outboard PSU. We lend an ear, man

Although UK readers might not recognise the EarMen moniker, it's certainly not a newcomer to the world of hi-fi. Its back story is quite convoluted, for although EarMen is based in Chicago, it's funded by the owner of Serbia's Auris Audio, Milomir Trosic, and most products are produced in the same Serbian factory. Auris is aimed at the premium market, with products including the Euterpe and the Nirvana – both headphone amplifiers lavishly adorned in wood and even leather – plus a neat line of luxurious-looking tube amps and even some turntables on offer.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2022
hfnoutstandingA new dawn? Audio Research's first fresh integrated amp in seven years shows a change of direction while still maintaining a grip on the brand's sonic virtues. Enter the I/50...

Few companies have been as resistant to styling changes as Audio Research. Even after a decade-plus under the ownership of fashion-conscious Italians, ARC products still suggest they belong in studios or government laboratories. Can you imagine the shock, then, when news releases arrived showing a swoopy integrated amplifier available in six colourways?

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 23, 2022
hfnvintageAttractive, affordable and the first step on the hi-fi highway for many a budding audiophile, is this '70s amp now the perfect introduction to vintage? We find out

The instantly recognisable Trio/Kenwood KA-2002 is one of those products that is sure to have touched the lives of many readers of Hi-Fi News. A popular first move upmarket from record players and radiograms towards 'proper' hi-fi, this inexpensive amplifier was a frequent choice for enthusiasts taking their initial steps towards serious listening.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 08, 2022
hfnoutstandingRotel remains a family-owned hi-fi marque that boasts a three-generation, 60-year history. Now it celebrates its Diamond Anniversary with a very fine disc player and amp

The trend for 'anniversary' products – witness the plethora of celebratory hardware on display at this year's High End show – continues with Rotel's new Diamond Series. Released to mark 60 years since the brand launched, it comprises the £3999 RA-6000 integrated amplifier and £1999 DT-6000 CD player. Not the hefty additions to the Michi lineup you might have expected, these are instead very much classic Rotel designs (fitting, as the traditionalist brand is not one to hop on every new fad that comes along) albeit with trickle-down technology from its flagship stablemates.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 15, 2022
hfnoutstandingLike its predecessor, the MA9000, McIntosh's mighty MA9500 still combines transistors with transformers but the host of under-bonnet updates bring more than a little polish

What should an audiophile demand from an integrated amplifier with a price tag approaching £15k? There's an expectation it should be beautifully built and finished and, more than likely, hail from a respected marque with a long pedigree. There must be a sense of owning something special and exclusive. The performance, meanwhile, will need to be at or near the top of what's possible at the price, and with no shortage of power. As for the new £14,995 McIntosh MA9500, and without wishing to give everything away in my opening paragraph, it looks to tick all these boxes!

Jamie Biesemans, Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 02, 2022
hfnoutstandingSteampunk styling meets luxury audio as the masters of touchscreen streaming launch one of the most tactile and flexible all-analogue integrated amplifiers ever seen!

Say what you will about HiFi Rose, the fledgling brand hailing from Seoul in South Korea, it sure knows how to capture the attention of audiophiles. First by launching remarkable do-it-all streaming players featuring huge touchscreens and options galore, and now this 'steampunk' integrated amp which left Internet forums speechless for about 15 seconds. Quite an achievement in this day and age... and those pundits hadn't yet seen the baffling rear of the RA180 with its sixteen loudspeaker terminals!

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 18, 2022
hfnoutstandingFlagship of this Italian brand's trilogy of tube amps, the Metropolis NYC 200i occupies a huge footprint and mercilessly sucks power from the wall. But the music is magic...

Is it unkind to suggest some Italian brand names do not carry convincingly into English? Who keeps a straight face with a cooker called 'SMEG'? As for Synthesis – which also has the appropriately named Roma range – choosing to dub its Metropolis integrated amplifiers 'NYC', because New York is a Metropolis, actually makes sense, I suppose.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 12, 2022
hfnvintageNot only did this '80s amp claim to tackle distortion using the company's new 'Super Feedforward System', it was also priced to have mass appeal. How does it sound today?

When the Sansui AU-D33 integrated amplifier was launched in 1982, it had a lot to live up to. Its predecessor, the AU-317II from 1980 [HFN Jun '15], delivered the sort of performance one would expect from a manufacturer of specialist hi-fi, thanks to its well engineered DC-coupled circuitry. The company's 'All hi-fi, everything hi-fi' slogan set out a clear manifesto – no transistor radios, no coffee machines, just quality audio products.

Martin Colloms  |  Jun 28, 2022  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1984
hfnvintageCan Audiolab's 8000A redefine the market? Martin Colloms finds out...

The new Audiolab range is introduced by the 8000A integrated amp, which sells for around £250. Trade rumours are that the first batch was sold out even before any press mention of the product, and that the few dealers appointed so far are finding it impossible to hold any stock. In these commercially depressed times it is certainly refreshing to cover a success story such as this, though I suspect that this model may be in short supply for some time to come.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 24, 2022
hfnvintageBuy one of these late-'70s beauties secondhand today and you'll own an amp from a pedigree name with radio thrown in for 'free'. So, is this a receiver worth considering?

The receiver (tuner/amplifier) has always divided opinion, in the UK at least. While popular in Europe and the US, the British market never embraced these units to the degree it did separate tuners and amplifiers. And this wasn't because they could not rival a two-box counterpart on performance due to any technical reason. The real issue was that two top-quality units built into one housing could result in an indivisibly expensive product, one many consumers may not have been able to afford.

Review: Jamie Biesemans, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 16, 2022
hfnoutstandingWhile Marantz's new 40 series shares its industrial design with the Class D Model 30, its core networking and Class A/B amp technology borrows from an earlier generation

By all accounts stylish, network-attached amps, including Cambridge Audio's Evo 150 [HFN Nov '21] or the compact NAD M10 and C 700 [HFN Jun '19 & Feb '22], are carving themselves a successful niche. So it's not surprising that Sound United, parent of Marantz, is making its own pitch. Marantz traditionalists needn't fret, however, for while the new £2199 Model 40n includes high-res wired/wireless streaming, USB and HDMI ARC inputs, the chassis is properly hi-fi-sized and the aesthetics are pure 'Marantz'.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 28, 2022
hfncommendedThe most comprehensively-equipped component of Roksan's Attessa quartet combines phono, line and digital inputs with a BluOS streaming platform and beefy amplifier

So it turns out that network amplifiers built around BluOS streaming technology are like buses. No sooner had we waved goodbye to the £1299 NAD C 700 [HFN Feb '22], then up popped the Attessa Streaming Amplifier from Roksan, a little more expensive at £1495 but cut from the same just-add-speakers cloth. This joins a competitive market alongside not only NAD's device but Bluesound's £850 BluOS-based Powernode, plus other streaming integrateds including Cambridge Audio's Evo 75 and Audiolab's Omnia. Handy for Roksan, then, that it has a lot going for it.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 25, 2022
hfncommendedKorea's Citech group is ploughing its considerable in-house hardware and software resource into a series of network-attached players. Here's its most compact all-in-one

One of the great advantages offered by network-capable audio hardware is that, once a platform has been designed, it can be rolled out across a number of products, re-purposed and scaled depending on the target market. We've seen the same from brands as diverse as AVM [HFN Dec '21], Cambridge Audio [HFN Nov '21] and Naim [HFN Aug '21], and now recent arrival HiFi Rose is following the same path with high-end players designed to be used in existing systems all the way through to one-box soundbar set-ups.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 18, 2022
hfncommendedThis boutique brand from Sweden has quietly been making a name for itself with a classically-styled, modular integrated amp. We test the 'tickled up' Reference version

Anyone who spends time idly clicking between websites will be familiar with the HTTP 404 error, which occurs when a browser can't find what it was looking for. Coincidentally, the Moonriver Model 404 Reference amplifier, which is priced from £4495, has a similar 'error': there may be a USB-B port on its rear panel, offering the prospect of connecting a computer to play music, but there's nothing behind it, due to circumstances beyond the control of the amp's Swedish manufacturer.

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