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Integrated  Amps



Project Stereo Box S

The Project Stereo Box S is a wonderful yet diminutive integrated amplifier that fits in the palm of your hand (pictured above with a CD to show scale). It is remote controlled, has two line level inputs, a line level output (for a headphone amplifier etc) and produces 20 watts per channel. This is the cracking amplifier either as part of a starter system or for a secondary system such as in an office. It is available with either a silver of black fascia.


Project Stereo Box S integrated amplifier: £199.00

  



Project Stereo Box S Phono

The Stereo Box S Phono is something we’ve been hoping that Project would make for quite a while. It’s effectively the same amplifier as the Stereo Box S featured above but in a slightly larger chassis to accommodate the addition of an onboard phono stage. This makes it ideal for anyone into vinyl with a limited budget and a lack of space.

       

Above: please click on the pictures to enlarge


The sound it produces is clean and crisp, which is a nice change from some of the overly soft sounding competition. The phono stage is, as you’d expect from Project, a good sounding circuit, which suits the amplifier perfectly. Two line level inputs and a remote control are also included, and it’s available with either a silver or a black fascia.


If you partner it with a reasonably efficient pair of speakers (circa 88dB and upwards for relatively nearfield use) then it will be the heart of a great budget system.


Project Stereo Box S Phono amplifier: £199.95



Marantz PM6005

The very latest model from Marantz. Just arrived and on demo now, more details to follow shortly.


Marantz PM6005 integrated amplifier: £349.95



Project MaiA

Like the ‘Stereo Box S’ featured above, the Maia is another miniature amplifier from Project. The Maia features a slightly more powerful output as well as even greater functionality. It has a total of 9 inputs including an MM phono stage, bluetooth input for music streaming, 2 optical inputs, one coaxial digital input, USB (asynchronous) and 3 analogue line level inputs. The internal DAC is 24bit/192kHz capable, so will cope with most formats. There’s also a headphone socket and remote control too, making it the ideal amplifier for a multi source system for anyone with limited space.

      


Dimensions (W x H x D):  206 x 36 x 200mm (220mm W/Sockets)

Finishes: Silver or Black fascia

Project MaiA integrated amplifier: £399.00



Edwards Audio Apprentice IA-1mk2

The IA-1 must be one of the lowest priced (if not the lowest) British built amplifiers on the market, but as you’d expect from a company with such a long history of amplifier manufacturing, its performance is much greater than you’d ever expect possible. Housed in a half width case, there’s a substantial transformer at the heart of this amplifier, and I feel it’s this that helps give the amplifier its involving, toe tapping sound. There’s a natural warmth to the presentation too, which is thanks to the care an attention involved with component selection, the result of hours of listening sessions.


There are 5 line level inputs and a line output (for headphone amplifier or tape output), and the option to add a high quality phono stage board (this can be done at the point of manufacture or at a later date, this uses up one of the 5 inputs).


The IA-1R is identical to the IA-1 bar the fact it includes a remote control.


Edwards Audio Apprentice IA-1 mk2 amplifier: £399.95

Edwards Audio Apprentice IA-1P mk2 amplifier with MM phono stage: £449.95


Edwards Audio Apprentice IA-1R mk2 amplifier with remote control: £499.95

Edwards Audio Apprentice IA-1RP mk2 amplifier with remote control and MM phono stage:£549.95


Edwards Audio MM phono stage option board, if purchased separately: £59.95



Rega Brio R

The Brio R’s predecessor, the Brio3, was quite simply one of the very best budget amplifiers we’d come across. It was a simple purist design with absolutely no frills, just a great toe tappingly involving sound. So the Brio R has a really tough act to follow. The new model features larger power supplies, improved component quality and an uprated (MM) phono stage as well as the convenience of remote control.


Sonically the Brio R is a good step forward, it keeps the sheer involvement of the old model and with it brings a new level of resolution especially apparent as revealing the recording venues room acoustic, suddenly what was a vague sense of the space around the instruments and singers becomes very clearly defined in all dimensions. It doesn’t end there, throughout the frequency range transparency increases to a similar, and highly appealing degree.


Finishes: Black

Remote Control: Yes

Rega Brio-R integrated amplifier: £548.00


      



Edwards Audio IA-2R mk2

The IA-2R amplifier is a more powerful and improved version of the IA-1 featured above. The IA-2 features higher grade parts including a very substantial 225VA mains transformer. This helps increases the output to 65 watts per channel and provides an even more authoritative sound. There are also gains in timing and resolution, making this an extremely strong amplifier at this price level. It includes a remote control and has the option of an external phono stage.


It is available either with an all black front (as pictured above) or with silver knobs and bolts (like the IA-1 featured further up this page).


Edwards Audio Apprentice IA-2R mk2 amplifier with remote control: £649.95

Edwards Audio Apprentice IA-2RP mk2 amplifier with remote control and phono stage: £699.95


Edwards Audio MM phono stage option board, if purchased separately: £59.95



Puresound A10

The A10 is the entry level integrated amplifier from Pure Sound. The design uses 6N3 dual triodes driving a pair of EL84 valves running in push-pull for each channel which produce 10 watts per channel. It has two line level inputs and switchable speaker impedance for both 4 and 8 Ohms.

Above: The A10 now comes with an attractive acrylic valve cage.

This amplifier is simply great fun. It’s very involving to listen to and has performance that is unheard of at this price point which makes it a bit of bargain, whether it’s going to be used in your main system or perhaps in a second system. This amplifier now comes with a removable valve cage.


Pure Sound A10 integrated amplifier: £679.95



Creek Evolution 50A

The Evolution 50A is a new design from Creek Audio, and despite it’s extremely slim profile casework (that stands just 7cm tall) it is both very well featured and excellent sounding. On the features front it’s difficult to know where to start, the clear OLED display and interface are a joy to use, there’s a headphone socket, remote control and even fully bypassable tone controls. Additional cards can be fitted internally to add extra functionality, the Ambit is an FM/AM tuner module, which transforms the Evolution 50 into a receiver, and the Sequel is a series of phono stages for users that want to run a turntable (there is a choice of three versions to cater for all cartridge types, see the pricing section below for  more details). The Ruby is a 24bit/192kHz DAC with 4 SPDIF digital inputs, 1 x USB, wireless Bluetooth and to top it all an FM tuner.

All of this flexibility doesn’t seem to have detracted from the sound quality one bit, it’s a very entertaining amplifier to listen to and one with remarkably little obvious character. The music flows nicely, with good timing and involvement, the treble is pleasingly grain free and the whole sound displays a level of refinement that is really quite unusual at this price level.

Above: The above pictures shows the various connections possible, there are 4 line level inputs on RCA sockets (one of which becomes the phono input if the module is in place) , the 4th input also allows the use of  balanced XLR connections.

The Evolution 50A is also available in Silver


Creek Evolution 50 integrated amplifier in Silver: £800

Creek Evolution 50 integrated amplifier in Black: £800

Options:

Creek Ambit FM/AM module: £125

Creek Sequel 40 phono stage module, suitable for MM cartridges of 3-5mV output: £125

Creek Sequel 48 phono stage module, suitable for low output MM cartridges and high out MCs  (I.e. 2-3mV output): £125

Creek Sequel 54 phono stage module, suitable for most MC cartridges of 0.5-0.9mV output: £160

Creek Ruby DAC module, 5 inputs, bluetooth and FM tuner: £400.00



Croft Acoustics integrated amplifiers

The Croft integrated amplifier is available as either a line level version or with an excellent MM phono stage included. Housed in the same chassis as the rest of the range, the integrated effectively features a Series 7 power amplifier stage - a hybrid design using a triode driving a mosfet output stage. As you’d expect with Croft, these amplifiers are completely hand made in the UK and do not feature circuit boards, with everything being wired point to point. The sound it produces is dynamic and punchy, with plenty of bite yet tempered by good levels of refinement and resolution. For the price we think it has unbeatable performance, and its ability to shrug off difficult or insensitive speaker loads is quite remarkable too.


Croft Acoustics Integrated Line version: £850.00

Croft Acoustics Integrated phono version £1,000.00



Rega Elex -R

The Elex-R is an amplifier that falls between the ever popular Brio-R and the Elicit-R models, and as you’d probably expect it is closely related to both. For a start the basic circuit topology is common to the three models, and with the Elex-R you get a bigger transformer than the Brio-R combined with the full size case, power circuit and uprated phono stage of the Elicit-R.

To gauge its sound I spent time going between the Brio-R, Elex-R and Elicit-R (via CD to avoid the differences in phono stages) and it was fascinating to hear a sound evolve throughout a range so closely tied by design. Comparatively speaking, if the Brio-R has an obvious character is that it’s a little muddled and grainy in the lower mid, although it’s something that really doesn’t get in the way musically and if anything adds an appealing warmth to the sound. The Elex-R banishes this, sounding much cleaner, more potent and in control, in a very similar fashion to the Elicit-R.


Whilst it’s true that the Elicit-R offers even greater refinement, resolution and detail, it’s also a touch cooler in tone and not as tolerant of lesser recordings. When you start to consider the price, the Elex-R really does make a very good case for being the sweet spot in the range, offering a really nice blend of the toe tapping involvement of the Brio-R with the more mature presentation of the Elicit-R.

Rega Elex-R integrated amplifier: £898.00



Puresound A30

 

The Puresound A30 is the result of collaboration between Days of Guangzhou Ltd (a transformer manufacturer with 20 years experience) and Guy Sergeant, a UK based audio engineer formerly of Audio Innovations, JPW and Heybrook.


Unusually at this price point the A30 is a pure class A design with two valve rectifiers (5Z3P/5U4G equivalents) and a choke smoothed power supply. It uses Electro Harmonix 6550 output valves in an ultra-linear push pull design producing 30 watt per channel (the output stage can also be switched to triode operation if preferred), with 6N8P (a 6SN7 equivalent) and 6N9P (a 6SL7 equivalent) for input and phase splitting duties.


It features auto bias so there’s no need to make any adjustments when changing output valves and uses high quality parts including an Alps volume control and SCR coupling capacitors. This amplifier now also comes with a removable valve cage as shown below.


We feel this amplifiers sound redefines what’s possible at this price point and we’re convinced it will become the benchmark that others will be judged by.


Pure Sound A30 integrated amplifier: £1479.95

 



Rega Elicit-R

Just in is the latest version of the Elicit amplifier, called the Elicit-R it combines the discrete FET pre amp stage of the previous version with a power amp design that has a lot in common with the excellent Brio-R amplifier.

The Elicit-R has a tape loop and a total of five other inputs, one of which can either be used for a line level source or its internal MM stage via a push button switch mounted on the rear. There’s also an output for a headphone amplifier and a pre amp output. A direct input is also included for use with AV processors (or any other device that acts as a pre amp).  

The Elicit-R produces 105 watts per channel into 8 ohms and runs relatively warm even without a signal playing. As you can see in the picture above, a fairly substantial toriodal transformer forms the centre of the design, the ‘dual mono’ power amplifier stages are mounted onto the heatsinks on either side, with the line and phono stages in the top right hand corner.

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-working in a system again” (for anyone not familiar with it, the Troughline is a classic and highly regarded Leak valve tuner dating from the 1950-60’s.

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-R has addressed my main reservation of the previous model, which was rather too lacking in dynamics and timing for my tastes. The new model has good speed for a transistor design and tracks dynamic contrasts effectively. The presentation is cultured and smooth, with superb image width evident, even straight out of the box.


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.


Rega Elicit-R amplifier: £1,598.00



Croft Integrated R

Croft have just released their range topping integrated amplifier. Built in the standard croft casework this amplifier is live level only (quite simply because there is not enough space inside the box to include one) and costs £1,700. More details to follow.



Audion Sterling EL34 SE integrated

   

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: £1,740.

Audion Sterling EL34 mk1 integrated with remote control volume: £2,200.

Audion Sterling EL34 Anniversary integrated: £2,230.

Audion Sterling EL34 Anniversary integrated with remote control volume: £2,690.



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 my favourite sounding amplifiers - it offers so much performance at a very reasonable price. This line level design is a real purists delight, with no feedback and an output of 7 watts per channel it is ideally partnered with speakers of approximately 90dB sensitivity and upwards, although its much more potent than the power figure would suggest.

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.  


Two versions are made, the mk1 is the standard version and uses a PCB for the audio stage. The Anniversary is hard wired and uses higher grade internal wiring (including silver wire in selected stages of the audio wiring), superior grade capacitors and a polished top plate.


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 mk1: £2,920

Audion Silver Night 300BSE mk1 with remote control volume: £3,383

Audion Silver Night 300BSE Anniversary: £3,500

Audion Silver Night 300BSE Anniversary with remote control volume: : £3,963



Audion Silver Night 300B SE Special Edition

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 very serious output transformers, the improvements over the already stunning Anniversary are very worthwhile. There is a good percentage more of everything - greater potency, resolution, refinement and dynamics - not one area stands apart, it is very clearly just a big brother to the Anniversary.


Hifi Choice have rated the almost identical power amplifier version very highly, a pdf can be seen here (opens in new window)


-Audion Silver Night 300B SE Special Edition integrated amplifier: £4,500

-Audion Silver Night 300B SE Special Edition integrated amplifier with remote control volume: £4,963



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-core output transformers. The Meishu Silver Signature features a greater number of Black Gate capacitors, silver signal wiring and up rated copper double C-core output transformers.


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-core interstage transformer between the 5687 input valve and the 211 output valve which has the benefit that it gets rid of a coupling capacitor (invariably a good thing) and provides enough drive for the massive output valve, which is connected to the speaker by another C core transformer. The power supply is very well specified, with twin 5R4WGB rectifiers and a double C-core mains transformer. It is available either in silver (like the Tomei pictured below) or black (pictured above).


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-cores with the parts list including tantalum resistors with Black Gate and Cerafine caps used in critical locations


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

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