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Integrated  Amps up to £999

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: £219.95

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: £449.95

Edwards Audio Apprentice IA-1P mk2 amplifier with MM phono stage: £499.95

Edwards Audio Apprentice IA-1R mk2 amplifier with remote control: £549.95

Edwards Audio Apprentice IA-1RP mk2 amplifier with remote control and MM phono stage:£599.95

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

Edwards Audio high grade MC phono stage option board: £199.95

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: £429.00

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: £699.95

Edwards Audio Apprentice IA-2RP mk2 amplifier with remote control and MM phono stage: £749.95

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

Edwards Audio high grade MC phono stage option board, if purchased separately: £199.95

Rega Brio (2017)

The Brio has been revised for 2017 and features a few key changes. Firstly the new case design points to the future of Rega half width case designs, with a new curved fascia and back panel. Gone is the steel top and bottom of the chassis, replaced by aluminium, this removal of ferrous materials normally results in improved sound quality and should also increase heat sinking. A headphone socket is included on the fascia, with Rega claiming to have paid great attention to ensure it does not detract from the main speaker outputs. The power supply has also been tweaked, with reduced interaction between the output stage and low level stages by the addition of a new supply stage, and the parts quality has been increased even further.

Sonically this build upon the previous generation, which was already one of our favourites. The new model sounds a little cleaner and better resolved than the outgoing one, you can still hear the Brio-R DNA, as you would hope, but overall there has been a small lift in overall performance, which ultimately makes it the amplifier to beat at anywhere near this price point.

Rega Brio 2017: £599.00

Quad Veno

The Quad Veno is an integrated amplifier with added functionality thanks to its internal DAC. Alongside two line level inputs are a variety of digital connections, including optical, coaxial and USB (unusually with both A and B type connectors). There’s also the convenience of bluetooth for streaming from your phone, a remote control and a headphone socket - if we’re being picky, all that’s missing is an internal phono stage.

As standard the enclosure is all metal and finished in the classic Lancaster Grey finish. For an additional cost it is also available with a wood sleeve finished in Sapele Mahogany, High Gloss White or High Gloss black (as shown in these pictures), and this really transforms the appearance from a clearly retro inspired design to something far more contemporary.

Whilst you can’t expect an amplifier with a DAC inside it to equal the sound of some of purist amplifiers at this price point, that would be missing the point, this is about offering a multi purpose product that can be run from a phone, computer, tv or analogue source-  making it absolutely ideal for those with limited space (and funds). It produces a very listenable sound that’s refined and easy on the ear, which is, frankly, a very Quad way of doing things.

Quad Veno in Lancaster Grey: £599.95

Quad Veno as above with Gloss Black,Gloss White or Sapele Mahogany sleeve: £699.95

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: £729.95

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


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.

A version with a single volume control in place of the dual mono controls are also available, please click here for pictures

Croft Acoustics Integrated Line version: £935.00

Croft Acoustics Integrated phono version £1,100.00

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: £949.00

Integrated Amplifiers over £1,000

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