Exposure 5010 Pre/Monos pre/power amplifier

hfnoutstanding.pngSharing the same chassis design as its 3010 series, but boasting double the clout, Exposure’s latest pre/power also offers modular MM/MC phono and DAC options

Available with silver (‘titanium’) or black front panels, both with black main casework, Exposure’s 5010 models replace the rather more overtly styled – and huge – MCX series, with their large outrigger feet, as the company’s flagship models. They sit atop a range running from the entry-level 1010 series through the 2010S2s and 3010S2s [HFN Dec ’14], with the half-width XM lineup as an alternative [HFN Apr ’18]. This top-end range is kept much simpler than its junior counterparts, for where those lineups extend to disc players and integrated amps, here we have just two models: the £2000 5010 preamp, and the £4550-per-pair 5010 mono power amps.

Modular Options
In many ways the 5010 is the 3010S2 writ large, with double the power of the 3010S2 monoblocks claimed for the 5010 mono power amps, at 200W apiece, and the commonality emphasised by the fact the same optional DAC input board (£370) fits both the 3010S2D integrated, and the 3010S2D and 5010 preamps. That board offers a coaxial input handling formats up to 192kHz/24-bit, in addition to a USB port that adds DSD64 via DoP. The 5010 preamp can also accept a choice of MM or MC phono boards, at £265 apiece, replacing one of the existing six line-ins (including a tape loop) fitted on the preamp as standard.


The modular design makes the boards a simple self-fit. It’s just a question of removing the lid, and then replacing a jumper board with the chosen module, and this design means there’s no need for any menus or set-up – the ‘aux’ input just becomes whichever board is inserted. However, this does mean that you can have either one of the phono inputs or the digital one, but not both.

That’s all part of the simplicity here, although the pre is flexible when it comes to outputs, having two sets of RCAs and a pair of balanced XLRs. Within the high-quality casework, the preamp is pretty simple, but solidly engineered. It’s built around a 200W transformer, with high-speed rectifiers and 24 smoothing caps, while the audio section is DC-coupled using servos and Class A buffering at the output, and just one capacitor at the input, with relay switching for input selection to keep the signal paths as short as possible.

As our inside shot reveals [see below], the 5010 mono power amp is similarly elegant, if superficially ‘old school’ in its design, with an 800W power transformer, custom-designed like that in the preamp, and massive smoothing capacitors downstream of the dual rectification. A pushbutton selects between the RCA and balanced XLR inputs, and the amp is DC coupled throughout, with cascade circuits for the input and second amplifier stages for improved linearity and power supply isolation, and no fewer than eight bipolar transistors per channel feeding the two sets of 4mm socket speaker outputs. Non-invasive overload and thermal protection is provided, and the amplifier also has a slow-start system on power-up to avoid surges.


Simple Route
If all that makes the 5010s sound very simple, you’re not too wide of the mark, for in an age of amplifiers with built-in streaming, multiple layers of menus to select everything from input trims to AV passthrough, and prominent front-panel displays, the 5010 pre and power amps are like being transported back to the early days of the company, some four decades ago. While many manufacturers may spend hundreds of hours and an order of magnitude more cash improving the ‘user interface’ of their products, Exposure achieves the same thing by losing – or rather not providing – any complications.

sqnote.jpgNo-Nonsense Authority
With real solidity about their build, despite the fact they’re not exactly hefty, the 5010s therefore have a sense of no-nonsense intent about them before you play a single note. And as PM’s lab report lab report shows, that’s more than backed up by extremely low noise and distortion along with more than enough headroom to ensure the amps can drive just about any speakers you might throw at them.

Exposure Electronics
Lancing, UK
Supplied by: Exposure Electronics
01273 423877