E&OE Copyright 2010-
Integrated Amps over £1,000
Just in is the latest version of the Elicit amplifier, called the Elicit-
It wouldn’t be a Rega product without a cryptic message on the circuit board, this time telling us that “Ernie’s Troughline Stereo Tuner is a-
The Solaris remote is included, and despite it having a huge number of buttons it is rather nice to use, with the important ones seemingly falling to hand readily.
At the time of writing the amplifier has only been here for a few hours, so I’d expect it to change over the next few days as it settles in, but from the outset I think it’s fair to say that the Elicit-
I’ll come back and edit the above text once it’s had time to settle in and I’ve had a chance to try it with a wider range of different ancillaries, so please check back for updates.
Croft Integrated R
This is the top of the range Croft Integrated amplifier. As you would expect of Croft products at this level the power supply is complex and highly regulated which gives a forceful and potent presentation. Naturally this is built in the standard croft casework and due to the size of the power supply there is no space for an onboard phono stage, so this model is is live level only.
A version with a single volume control in place of the dual mono controls are also available, please click here for pictures
Croft Integrated R line level integrated amplifier: £1,870.00
The Audion Sterling EL34 uses a single EL34 per channel in single ended topology, producing 12 watts per channel. Like all good single ended amplifiers these have remarkable speed and openness, and an ability to drive speakers that belies their low rated power output. This amplifier features 6 line level inputs
Two versions are available, the mk1 which has uses a PCB and the Anniversary (pictured above and below) which is hard wired and features superior components, output transformers and polished top plate.
Both models are exceptional at their respective price points, with speed, dynamics and musicality in spades. You really do need to hear what they can do to your system!
Audion Sterling EL34 mk1 integrated: £1,908.00
Audion Sterling EL34 mk1 integrated with remote control volume: £2,395.00
Audion Sterling EL34 Anniversary integrated: £2,378.00
Audion Sterling EL34 Anniversary integrated with remote control volume: £2,865.00
Pure Sound A30-
The original A30 was in successfully in production for 13 years, testament to a design that was ‘right’. The new ‘R’ version simply evolves the recipe. So the core design, with its triode 6N8P (a 6SN7 equivalent) and 6N9P (a 6SL7 equivalent) for input and phase splitting duties feeding 6550 output valves in class A push pull (switchable between Triode and Ultralinear remains unchanged. A new output transformer is used, with improved lamination material and revised winding techniques which results in wider bandwidth, output remains at 30 watts in Ultra linear setting. Two mains transformers replace the original single one, so now the filament supplies are run separately from the HT supply, this helps lower the running temperature. The two valve rectifiers (5Z3P/5U4G equivalents) and choke smoothing remains unchanged.
It features auto bias so there’s no need to make any adjustments when changing output valves and it uses high quality parts in the signal path.
A remote control of volume and muting adds some additional convenience, and the inclusion of an extra input (it has 4 line level inputs) makes it even more flexible. A valve cage is included, as pictured below.
Pure Sound A30-
I have very fond memories of the original John Farlowe designed Exposure products, they had an earthy, punchy, rhythmical performance, yet also managed subtlety and tonal colouring to a surprising degree. The Exposure brand may have evolved considerably since those days, but the 3010S2D is an excellent modern interpretation of those original design strengths.
There’s a rightness to the sound which, in my experience, is very rare outside of the world of valve amplification. This makes for an eminently listenable sound, one that's full of drive and flow, and dynamics and vibrancy. With 110 watts per channel and plenty of current it will drive some of the more difficult speakers on the market without sounding stressed.
Internal cards can be added for a phono stage or a DAC (but not both at the same time), please see the pricing options below.
Remote Control: Included
Dimensions: Height 11.5cm, Width: 44cm, Depth: 30cm.
Finishes: Black or Titanium brushed fascia.
The Aethos is a beautifully built integrated amplifier which fits in the range between the Elicit-
It’s line level only, so vinyl users will need a separate phono stage, but it does feature a headphone socket and naturally comes with a remote control.
The resulting sound is big and bold, more akin to a giant Elex in presentation than the Elicit and with the ability to grab difficult to drive speakers very effectively.
Audio Note Oto SE
The Oto SE integrated amplifier uses EL84 valves in parallel single ended configuration, producing an output of 10 watts and is available with or without an internal an all valve MM phono stage. It’s all housed within the classic Audio Note casework which is available with either a black acrylic or brushed aluminium fascia. As you’d expect with a good single ended amplifier the sound is punchy and dynamic, whilst still being very natural and expansive. It may lack the completely grain less mid band of a 300B SE amplifier but it’s an exceptionally neat package and so involving to listen to that dissecting the minutiae of its performance seems to be missing the point. The phono stage is a very good quality design too, and not simply an afterthought like many. A fractionally more powerful push pull version is available, but we would always recommend this SE version for the best sound quality.
Audio Note Oto SE Line integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Oto SE Phono integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audion Silver Night 300BSE integrated
The Silver Night is one of our favourite sounding amplifiers -
It uses one 300B directly heated triode output valve per channel driven by a 6H23/6922 input valve and has 6 line level inputs.
Don’t let its apparent low power put you off, it is not only exceptionally fast and potent sounding but also as open and airy as only a good single ended design can be.
The Anniversary is hard wired, features a large choke filtered power supply, high grade audio components and a very serious pair of output transformers -
The picture above is of the power amplifier version, the integrated option has a row of toggle switches to select between the 5 inputs.
Audion Silver Night 300BSE Anniversary: £3,528
Audion Silver Night 300BSE Anniversary with remote control volume: : £4,015
The Special Edition takes the concept of the Silver Night Anniversary (featured above) a step or two further. First, most noticeably, is fresh new case appearance, the work of leading designer Marko Schregardus, which has a cleaner look than the traditional Audion half width chassis and a light Gold finish to the fascia and transformer box with contrasting Black sides and Stainless trim (an all black/stainless version is also available for those with less adventurous tastes).
Feature wise it remains the same, with 5 line level inputs and the option of a remote control volume possible (please note the picture shown here is of the power amplifier version, detailed here).
Naturally what really concerns us is the sound, and thanks to all the internal hook up wire being pure Silver, some upgraded parts and a pair of even more serious output transformers, the improvements over the already stunning Anniversary are very worthwhile. There is a good percentage more of everything -
Hifi Choice have rated the almost identical power amplifier version very highly, a pdf can be seen here (opens in new window)
Audio Note Meishu
The Meishu is the largest of the enclosed integrated amplifiers from Audio Note (pictured above with its lid off). In its very substantial casework nestles a pair of 300B output valves use in single ended configuration and producing 8 watts per channel. There are several different versions of the Meishu available, all with the choice of a black acrylic or aluminium fascia, the standard Meishu, Meishu Silver and Meishu Silver Signature, all are available with or without an excellent valve phono stage fitted. The Meishu Silver is uprated due to the fitment of tantalum resistors, copper foil signal capacitors, many Black Gate capacitors and HiB copper wired double C-
Audio Note Meishu Line integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Meishu Phono integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Meishu Silver Line integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Meishu Silver Phono integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Meishu Silver Signature Line integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Meishu Silver Signature Phono integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Jinro
The Jinro is a line level integrated amplifier using the venerable 211 output valve used in single ended configuration producing approximately 18 watts. The design is exceptionally simple, using a C-
Audio Note Jinro integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Tomei
The Tomei is the intermediary step between the Jinro and Ongaku, it features the same fundamental ayout but instead uses 6463 valves for the input stage, an interstage transformer with a copper and silver wiring mix on high quality C-
Audio Note Tomei integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Ongaku
The Audio Note Ongaku amplifier started life in the late Eighties, it soon became legendary and was undoubtedly largely responsible for the resurgence of interest in the ‘arcane’ use of single ended output stages, both thanks to its exceptional sound and a price tag that redefined the upper levels of hi end audio.
The Ongaku has evolved substantially since these times and now uses transformer coupling between input and output stages (instead of capacitor coupling used in the original), as befits its range topping status the transformers are completely silver wound and responsible for a large percentage of the cost increase over the Tomei. As you’d expect the rest of the components are similarly uncompromised, with larger Tantalum resistors and Black Gate capacitors used throughout. The chassis is available in either brushed copper (below) or piano black finish (above).
Audio Note Ongaku integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request