E&OE Copyright 2010-
Integrated Amps over £1,000
To gauge its sound I spent time going between the Brio-
Whilst it’s true that the Elicit-
The Elex has been a staple of the Rega range for many years, offering a sound that is just ‘right -
The Elex has been a shop favourite for years, it involves you in the music in the way that few amplifier manage at this price level, making your foot tap and listening sessions extending into the small hours. Very highly recommended!
Rega Elex mk4 amplifier: £1,199.00
The original A1 was, I think it’s fair to say, an icon. It was a design launched in 1985 that had futuristic looks that were in part a necessity due to the unusual design choice of output stage, with the entire ‘lid’ acting as the heatsink. The circuit was penned by the late Tim de Paravicini and was a solid state pure class A design, which was, and still is, something of a rarity due to the low power output and high heat generation. In essence, a pure class A design biases the output devices to be ‘on’ all the time, this removes crossover distortion and leads to the unusual trait that they actually run (slightly) cooler when playing music than when silent! It is the holy grail topology for many of us, and is one of the reasons we love valve amplifiers so much, as they generally lend themselves to this much better than transistors.
The 1980s were a time where speaker efficiencies were plummeting and power outputs skyrocketing, so producing an amplifier that generated ‘just’ 30 watts was a brave move in dark times, especially one where the custom metal work must have cost an absolute fortune to tool up for. It was however a great commercial success, and even now we look after many of the surviving originals as there’s still not much like them. Or should I say wasn’t much like them, as there is now a homage available.
You can easily be forgiven for mistaking the for the original, the appearance really is very similar and just as timeless as ever. The heat is very similar too -
Inside there is now split secondaries on the mains transformer to improve channel separation, and the power supply is uprated over the original. The true to original pre amp stage can be bypassed with the ‘Direct’ button, which moves the design over to a more contemporary passive input stage, this knocks 10dB off the overall gain, and to our ear improves the sound along with giving a more usable range of the volume control. A remote volume control is a welcome addition and the potentiometer is a high quality Alps one, removing one of the weaknesses of the original design.
A switchable MM and MC phono stage is included, made from discrete parts (not opamps).
Not only does it look very similar, it sounds it too -
In stock and on demo now.
Musical Fidelity A1 amplifier: £1,499.00
The Elicit mk5 is an all new model that by all accounts owes a lot of its design to the more expensive Aethos model. Inside it combines a new discrete FET pre amp stage with a high quality alps volume control, a chunky toroidal power transformer and selected audiophile parts. It’s a similarly powerful design to its predecessor (105 watts into 8 Ohms), so more than sufficient to drive all but the most demanding of speakers.
Froma features perspective the greatest change is the addition of two digital inputs (optical and coaxial) which adds some convenience for those that need it. A headphone socket is also now included.
More details to follow shortly.
Rega Elicit mk5 amplifier: £2,000.00
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: £2,179.00
Audion Sterling EL34 mk1 integrated with remote control volume: £2,666.00
Audion Sterling EL34 Anniversary integrated: £2,769.00
Audion Sterling EL34 Anniversary integrated with remote control volume: £3,256.00
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-
The 3510 is the successor to the very popular 3010S2D. Housed in the same size chassis ,it has a lot in common with its predecessor. The main improvements are in current delivery of the output stage, which is now much higher and seriously impressive for an amplifier at this price point (presumably thanks to an even larger mains transformer). This should bode well with driving difficult speaker loads.
Currently under evaluation, more details to follow shortly…
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