Pre/Power Amplifiers

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Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 30, 2015
The Quad 22 control unit and II power amplifier have both enjoyed a presence on the hi-fi scene almost from its very beginnings. The 22 appeared in 1959 but the matching Quad II power amplifier had been around since 1953. Like most amplifiers then, the22/II was split into separate units, for mounting inside a larger cabinet. The compact 22 came with a basic metal shell so that none of its working parts was exposed should it be left free-standing.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
The first solid-state Quad remains a classic of the genre Exemplifying all that was admirable in British hi-fi, the 33 preamp (£43) and 303 power amp (£55) were Quad’s first commercial solid-state offerings, the company having waited for the new-fangled transistor to settle down before embracing it in 1967. It was in many ways ‘a solid-state Quad 22’. Any previous customer would have immediately recognised the control locations, the flushmounted rotaries, the balance control under the volume control, the press buttons that also offered Quad’s unique, fully cancellable filter and tone controls and RIAA selectors. In size, the 303 and the Quad II power amps were nearly interchangeable.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 24, 2010
Radford Electronics was set up in Bristol by Arthur Radford back in 1959. In some ways Radford was a late starter in the world of high fi delity, especially compared to Peter Walker of Quad or Harold Leak, and the electronics refl ect this. Indeed, Radford’s designs are often described as being the most ‘modern’ of vintage amplifiers. It was the Series Two amplifiers, soon changed to Series Three, that put Radford’s designs on the map, the Series 3 range comprising two monoblocks – the MA 15 and MA 25 – plus two stereo versions, the STA 15 and STA 25.
John Bamford and Paul Miller  |  Apr 10, 2011
The first product from a new Japanese high-end marque, this imposing hybrid power amplifier system employs a ‘DC reactor’ power supply housed in a separate chassis Rarely does an amplifier designer launch a new hi-fi company with such a bold high-end statement. ‘This is our vision of amplification’s ultimate form’, says designer Robert Koch of the imposing ‘tri-chassis’ Takumi K-70 power amplifier, designed and built in Japan, and the very first product to sport the Robert Koda brand name on its fascia. The Japanese ‘Takumi’ character can be translated as ‘maestro’, while the word ‘takumi’ actually means artisan – the naming of the Takumi K-70 being particularly apt as the amplifier is wholly hand-crafted, and manufacturing is limited to just 20 units per year. It’s a single-ended hybrid design employing some 32 power transistors and two 5842 triodes in each monoblock and one 6X5 rectifier tube per side in the power supply.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 27, 2020
hfnoutstandingIt looks like the S5 stereo power amp, both inside and out, but the Michi M8 monoblock is altogether more powerful and, as a result, offers a sound with a charm all its own

You'll have to examine the £5399 Michi M8 monoblock power amp very closely to see how it differs from the company's S5 stereo model, reviewed previously alongside the £3299 P5 preamplifier [HFN May '20]. The two are the same price and size, look identical and have much the same 'ask a friend to help' mass. In fact, the M8 weighs marginally less than the S5, at 59.1kg – the difference presumably accounted for by the need for two-channel inputs on the stereo amp whereas the mono version has only single-channel connections, on both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA sockets.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 03, 2020
hfnoutstandingA sleek new look heralds the return of Rotel's premier sub-brand, and its new control amplifier – or preamp – and stereo power amp have the wherewithal to succeed

Michi is back: last marketed in the 1990s, Rotel's elite sub-brand has rejoined the hi-fi fray after a three-year development project, and the establishment of a dedicated facility within the company's factory to hand-build the new products. And I have to admit to a pang of nostalgia for I reviewed the company's RHCD-10 player, slimline RHA-10 preamp and substantial RHB-10 power amp back in the dim and distant, and it was a case of lust at first listen, not to mention sight of the high-quality metalwork with its red-lacquered wooden side-cheeks.

Ed Selley  |  Nov 01, 2011
A very potent performer considering the accessible price In its most recent 15-Series line-up Rotel entered the brave new world of efficient Class D amplification with some of its models. It promotes them more for home cinema and custom installation duties rather than ‘pure audio’ systems, however. For high fidelity music reproduction Rotel still prefers to focus on tried-and-tested Class A/B solid-state designs, in which it has a fine pedigree. Cosmetically, the RB-1552 is identical to the more powerful ’1582, only the chassis’ reduced depth and lighter weight suggesting a smaller power rating here.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 22, 2015
Schiit products benefit from a Scandinavian nomenclature – Asgard, Bifrost, et al – so, should this stunning little Magni headphone amplifier prove tempting, you needn’t approach the salesman with the embarrassing request, ‘Do you stock Schiit?’ As its company founders are seasoned designers of [quote], ‘fully balanced differential power amplifiers, fully discrete I/V conversion stages, audiophile D/A converters, relay-switched stepped attenuator volume controls in preamps, etc,’ they could have launched Schiit with whatever product genre they liked. Being savvy, they chose headphone amps. Schiit works with ‘simple, discrete circuit topologies’ for the analogue sections, while its DAC products feature ‘innovative bit-perfect management systems’. It also uses Class A amplifier designs ‘where practical – and single gain stages when possible’.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 13, 2014
On seeing Siltech’s pre/power combo you might think it incorporates a separate power supply. In fact, this unusual design splits the power amplifier into separate interstage (voltage gain) and current amplifier sections. The combo’s C1 tube preamplifier (pictured) features a rechargeable battery power supply as does the V1 voltage stage of the two-box power amplifier. Of course, running the complete V1/P1 amplifier from a battery would be wholly impractical, so the P1 is mains powered.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 13, 2014
At the heart of Simaudio’s 380D DAC/preamp is its M-AJiC32 processing (Moon Asynchronous Jitter Control in 32-bit mode) and at the core of this is an eight-channel ES9016S Sabre DAC from ESS. Simaudio claims to have further improved jitter performance with its own ‘Alpha Clocking System’. The 380D has separate power supplies, each with a toroidal transformer and 11 stages of voltage regulation, for its digital and analogue sections. The analogue stage is a fully differential circuit and balanced XLR connections are strongly recommended, although RCAs are also provided.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 26, 2020
hfnoutstandingIn one swipe, the long-awaited 860A v2 replaces Simaudio's 860A, 870A and 880A power amplifiers and promises 870A performance. We pair it with the 740P preamp

There's something very 'old school' about Simaudio's latest MOON pre/power combination: both units certainly look the part in their combination of black fascias and exposed metalwork, though you can also have them in all-silver or all-black, where they have an air about them of being stripped for action. The £7800 740P preamp, for example, eschews the current trend for digital inputs and network streaming capability, and is a simple, direct, all-analogue line-only affair.

John Atkinson  |  Dec 24, 2021  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1983
hfnvintageJohn Atkinson heats up his listening room with a Class A amp from Krell

It used to be said that the only true way to learn was to find out something for yourself, then it will stick when all book-learning has long since been shed. This was drummed into me when I was working on the development of LEDs (green ones, to be precise).

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 01, 2018
hfnvintage.pngIt was an amp that gave fresh meaning to the term 'cooking on gas', but how does one of Sony's last classic super-integrateds shape up today? Time to find out...

The '70s was a time of great social change. At the beginning of the decade, black and white TVs, bicycles and outside toilets were the reality of life for many British people. But by the end of the '70s, most folks had colour TVs, family cars and swanky modern bathrooms – along with fitted kitchens, wall-to-wall carpeting and stereo systems in their homes. Although the music centre was the height of fashion, separates hi-fi was growing fast and many were willing to pay for serious equipment.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 01, 2017
hfnvintage.pngDesigned by James Sugden in collaboration with Richard Allan, is the second iteration of this milestone Class A transistorised amp the one to buy? It's time to check it out...

The late '60s provide an interesting choice of equipment for the vintage hi-fi enthusiast. The rapid development of high-quality transistor amplifiers during the period resulted in some intriguing models and the Sugden A21 is a fine example. Why? Because it was the first successful domestic hi-fi amp on the UK market to offer a fully transistorised implementation of Class A.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngThe sound of music is raising the rafters in Eastern Westphalia as Germany's T+A celebrates its 40th anniversary with a set of very special monoblock hybrid amplifiers

Not so much monoblocks as monoliths, these new flagship power amps from Germany's T+A certainly have what you'd call 'in room presence'. At least they do when you have got them in position, a task hampered by the fact each is a 50kg+ dead weight, although admittedly the two substantial handles sprouting from the top panel – and the assistance of a friend – will help.

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