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Found 83 results

  1. The Accuphase E-270 is in absolutely mint condition, looks perfect, sounds amazing and comes with the original remote in original packaging. I've used it since June 2018 - So it's just over a year old. Original remote included, I have the original box and everything that came with it. Price: £2,990 (reduced from £3100). These retail for about £4500 The board in the extension slot is a DA-20 DAC and it's not part of the sale - let me know if you're interested in it as well. Available to test & collect in Central London. Payment: Cash, Bank transfer. If you're interested and need shipping or any other questions please get in touch. FEATURES: Revolutionary AAVA volume control Output stage with high-power transistors in parallelpush-pull arrangement delivers high quality power: 90 watts x 2 into 8 ohms Power amplifier stage features instrumentation amplifier configuration for balanced signal transmission Logic-control relays for shortest signal paths Strong power supply with massive high-efficiency transformer and large filtering capacitors MAIN IN button allows separate use of preamplifier and power amplifier sections Numeric indication of volume level
  2. Approx 2 years old, very little use, 10s of hours, accessory package (manual, gloves, remote and IEC lead) untouched. Original double box packaging. As good as new. Great energetic sounding amp with 85WPC. 5 line inputs, HT Thru, Tape Loop, Pre-out. Looking for £475 ono. Not incl del. I am in Farnham, Surrey. Happy to discuss delivery options upon enquiry.
  3. Majikal Linn amp if you are thinking about going Aktiv allowing six channels of amplification. Buyer pays all carriage fees at cost, which is quite reasonable using EMS. I've shipped several units from Taiwan to various corners of the globe using them with excellent results. I will ship your new amp in the original Linn packaging with a US style Linn power cord. Feel free to contact me for further questions or additional photos. I tried to highlight the slight imperfections in the photos. In real lighting conditions they are almost unnoticeable. Please see the link for photos. £900 plus shipping.
  4. Octave V70SE integrated valve amplifier and black box power supply upgrade, both in silver. I may regret this, but I have decided to try active speakers, which means there is now an opportunity to purchase this wonderful tube amplifier. I am the second owner and have enjoyed seven fantastic years listening to and beholding this amp. This is a V70 amp which received an upgrade from the factory to SE specification in 2011 (I have the invoice). Included in the sale is a black box power supply upgrade which multiplies the PS storage capacitance by 4x. This improves the dynamic range and helps the amp cope with low impedance speaker loads. I initially purchased this after reading that Dynaudio (which I owned at the time) used Octave amps in their show systems. The amp sounds great, very powerful and punchy and clean yet refined with lovely rich harmonic colour. Best of both worlds. It outputs about 70W per channel. This is a low maintenance valve amp, biasing the power tubes is made very easy with small pots on the front face and LED indication of bias voltage. Unlike many components, I have never felt the itch to try something else. Only the purchase of active speakers makes this redundant. I have the original packaging, manuals, valve cover and remote. I will also throw in a few ECC83 input tubes. Currently running KT120 power tubes, I will also include 3x 6550 and 4x KT88 (used but working). I have only needed to replace power tubes once in seven years when one 6550 blew. The amp is in immaculate condition, as good as new really. You may see a couple of tiny marks where the tube cover screws down, but this would have been the case when unboxed for the very first time. Faultless electronically and audibly, this is built like a tank and should still be singing many decades from now. Octave V70SE currently retails for £4,795 and Black Box for £990 (Elite Audio). Asking £2,500 £1950. Collection and demo welcome near Tewkesbury. I could post after cleared funds but this is very heavy and with full insurance could be expensive. I am in need of a pre-amp for my new active speakers. I’m really after a balanced valve pre (e.g. Modwright) but may consider something else to tide me over until the right one comes along. So, I may be willing to consider something in part exchange. Also selling Zingali Zero Otto speakers, see separate advert. Sorry the photos aren’t great, I missed the last of the daylight. I may try to take some better ones soon.
  5. Quick version; £1,150 with Border Patrol or £750 without. One of the best examples you are likely to find of this classic amp / combo (much) Longer version; One of the issues with box swapping is that you have to move kit on. That is particularly difficult when you have such a strong emotional attachment to the piece in question however irrational that may be for what is just a box of electronics. So here it is, my much loved AI S500 integrated amp with separate Border Patrol p/s. I have owned this for nearly 30 years, bought from Definitive Audio when Kevin was still trading from his terrace in Nottingham (I’ll never forget the demo with it hooked up to his Air Scouts!). The Border Patrol was added in 2001, if memory serves, so likely to have been among one of the first done. Hopefully doesn’t need much introduction as it rightly considered something of a classic, both for its innovative design at the time and justified reputation for highly musical performance. Some key points you will want to know; The amp has been in regular use except for a period of 10 years when it was stored due to house moves and kids. Been back in use for last 2 years. Has been regularly serviced over the years firstly by David Wright and most recently David Coe. Just over a year ago David Coe completed an extensive round of upgrades including new caps, volume pot and tweaks to circuits with a particular focus on the built in MM phono stage. Cost was over £300 Current valves are EH EL34’s with JJ’s and a very nice NOS Tungsram as signal valves. All have been fitted within the last 2 years. Some nice tube rolling options with other EL 34's, 5881 or KT77's possible and the circuit is auto biasing Balance and tape loop circuits have been bypassed This is the early model with the superior Hinchley transformers The MM phono stage is very good, when I switched to my VIDA recently there really wasn't as big a gap in performance as I was expecting Set up in standard push pull mode it's output is a punchy 25W Condition is very good, barely a mark on the black crackle finish, the Perspex cover is scratch free however I cannot currently track down the pins that hold the Perspex in place (I always preferred the looks without this cover so they have been stored somewhere). Assume that they won’t be included, but alternative solutions such as nylon hex bolts would be easy to source The Border Patrol is a choke regulated supply that overrides the the HT supply in the amp. This is also a well known upgrade for this amp adding significant extra control on complex passages of music and in the bass. It utilises a GZ34 valve (correct Mullard version replaced last year) and a substantial transformer. It connects to the amp via a dedicated umbilical lead and is automatically turned on and off through the amp power switch. This is the standard version that now retails around the £1200 mark. This is also in good condition but with one scratch on the top left of the black casing I have tried to show in the photos. I think you will struggle to find a better one than this both cosmetically and crucially in terms of its service history. I would be looking for £1,150 for the combo. It is possible to separate the Border Patrol from the amp (I would need to get David Coe to do this) and I would sell the amp separately for £750 if that is an option you would prefer. The Border Patrol is a versatile unit that can be added to various valve devices and to be honest I would want to keep it for future use unless I get get at least the £400 price differential. I don't have original boxes and to be honest posting valve gear is not an enticing prospect so either pick up from Folkestone, Kent or I can meet part way e.g. M25 area.
  6. Cyrus Stream Xp2qx award winning streamer/dac/preamp. Upgraded to latest model with qobuz and tidal built-in and qx dac upgrade. Has digital out so can be used as a source in addition to dac/preamp. Excellent condition. Owned from new £1400 ono Cyrus 8vs integrated (used as power amp with above). Good condition, excellent reviews. Owned from new. £350 ono Cyrus psx-r regulated power supply. Can be used either with source or amplifier. Good condition. £200 ono Cyrus Hark equipment rack with 8 shelves good condition - few small areas of paint rubbed off - not noticeable. £100 ono. All items coming from smoke, child, pet free home. Only selling as moving to active streaming setup. I have all the boxes and remotes manuals etc. Prefer to sell together and knock off a few quid. Also selling spendor A6 speakers (see separate listing).
  7. Four years old, bought new by me so have sales invoice. 30 wpc of pure Class A power. Totally reliable since new. Original box and documents. Selling for £1200. Used with Neat sx2's which will be going on here later. at probably £400 for them.
  8. Tisbury Mini Passive Pre-Amplifier in excellent condition un-marked £100 plus P&P I no longer need it as I recently changed my amplifier set up. These are great passive pre-amps, they are very transparent and do not colour the input. Do not be mislead by their relative low cost they are extremely good and high quality. Details are at Tisbury Passive Pre-Amplifier Please PM if interested. Thanks
  9. For sale Good condition Quad 34 pre and 306 power amp. No marks on front of the 34, mine from new. 2 very small chips on the heatsinks of the 306. Includes mm and mc phono boards. Both boxed with mains leads and instruction book for the 34. Buyer must collect from Fareham, Hants. Asking £350.
  10. Hello everyone, Currently I am on the lookout for a pair of Quad ESL 57 monitors in good condition. The purchase will eat up most of my budget. Unfortunately, these speakers seem to pose quite a challenge for an amplifier. My amplifier budget is 250$ max, and I am investigating my best option. The amp should not have too much power, otherwise it could cause arcing in the panels. 50 watt per channel or under should be fine. It should be happy to drive a reactive load. My save bet would be a Quad 303. I can find one in good condition within my budget. I can be certain that they will work well with the ESL 57. However, I've read that they are nothing special, and that modern amps easily surpass them. I should mention that I am not looking for a 'character' amp or anything. I am looking for low distortion, and something that does not introduce a sound of its own. It should drive the ESL safely to reasonable sound levels (95db would be more than enough for me) without causing arcing or taking damage, and with as little distortion as possible. I've compiled quite a list of interesting amps. Does anybody have experience with any of them driving Quad ESL 57s? Would any of them be a better choice than a Quad 303? Or is there an even better option within budget that I have not listed? Which amp would you choose? Thanks in advance for any pointers. Allo Volt+D: Audiophonics TPA3116D2: and Dayton Audio DTA-1: Amptastic Mini-1: AudioSource Amp 100: Cambridge Audio Topaz AM5: Finally, here is one that is slightly over budget, but I might be able to find one used (I've read that Hypex Ncore are pretty mighty) Audiophonics PA-S125NC:
  11. Tag Mclaren F3 60i SL Integrated Amplifier The 60i SL integrated amplifier. Rated at 60 watts (typical 72 watts) per channel (8 ohm) and featuring ‘Straight Line Technology’ , the integrated amplifier 60i SL employs sophisticated minimalism to deliver maximum sound quality. Controls focus on the essentials for purity of sound, yet the 60i SL can accept six sources and accommodate three tape loops. The preamplifier output allows the integrated amplifier 60i SL to control a second power amplifier as well as an external device (such as a surround sound processor) to enable home theatre or multi-room use. Manufacturer : Tag Mclaren F3 Model : 60i SL Serial Number : 00109913 Very Good Condition £245.00 Or Nearest Reasonable Offer -- Glowing Reviews Here: -- Shall send via Royal Mail Signed For, Same or Next Working Day Pick up from Edinburgh
  12. Arcam R head boxed in very good condition - takes balanced XLR or rca -bought this as first go at headphones and within a month I bought a Leben CS300 which has an even better headphone valve circuit so pretty much unused since then..... so xmas Ho Ho - use this to screen out the relatives and the second coming of Brussel Sprouts £175 incl UK postage. PM me or email for more info if needed.
  13. Immaculate Chord CPM 2600 integrated amp with electronics serviced and upgraded by Chord to 2650 spec in mid 2017. This is effectively the latest 2650 without the revised face plate and buttons in all silver with the expensive optional Integra legs with an RRP of £5500. I've owned this amp from new and It comes with the machined remote (the latest are plastic), and is supplied in a brand new Chord shipping box with original manual. £1650 plus UK. P&P or pickup from GU20 Please PM me with any questions
  14. Crown ITECH I-TECH IT12000 12000HD 12000 HD World Touring Power Amp Amplifier On Ebay
  15. Selling my Mark Levinson No. 535H 5 Channel Mono Amplifier at 3700£ 200w Per Channel at 8ohms New NOS Inventory - Unit comes with original packaging, accessory kit, and cables. No damage. Unit tested fully operational on all 5 channels. -Outside of Normal Factory Warranty Period-” Brand: Mark Levinson Audio Inputs: Stereo L/R RCA, XLR Number of Channels: 5 Number of L/R RCA Inputs: 5 Model: NO535H Audio Outputs: Banana Speaker Jacks Type: Power Amplifier RMS Power: 200W For more info:
  16. So since moving house to a bigger house and loosing my dedicated music room nearly 3yrs ago my kit has lay dormant. Apartfrom my Squeezebox Touch and Mdac used in my office with my Sehmnheiser HD590's. Sold my Arcam Alpha amp which I bought myslef second hand. I bought my self a pair of Sonos 1's for the lounge as we're semi detached. No more more compromises though! I'm considering selling my Sonos play 3 and 1 of my Sonos 1's in addition to my MDAC for fund purchasing the Rega Brio Amp which I believe has a decent headphone output? My Squeezebox would connect to the amp via analogue and my music is on my NAS in Flax format. My speakers are Dali Monitor Menuets on custom design stands. What do you reckon to the proposal, would the Rega amp fit well with the Dali's and Squeezebox? How much do you think the Mdac is worth on as new condition with the remote? (Black model) Thanks in advance guys & girls it's good to be back :)
  17. Hi folks, not the normal high-end question I am afraid, but you are all knowledgeable guys so can hopefully help. I had a little Topping TP2020 one input 20w per channel "D class" amp which was fine used as an amplifier for a pair of telly speakers. However my daughter decided to use it for a party and cranked it up to maximum volume and fried the power supply, which was a mere 56w output so clearly inadequate for the job. The speakers are a very easy load (B&W DM686) so I doubt they were to blame. Anyway, before she plans her next party, I need to replace it with a second hand integrated amp with a volume control, balance control, 3+ RCA line level inputs and a better specified power supply with a bit more headroom. No need for tone controls, remote control or any of that nonsense. I have looked at the Cambridge Audio Topaz AM1 which is £70 new, but presume I can get much better value from a second hand amp. I am prepared to spend around £100. The only other requirement is that it is black to fit in with the rest of the system! All suggestions gratefully received.
  18. I'm looking for a second hand integrated amp for use in the summer as my Jolida valve amp (2 pairs of el34s in push pull) makes the room rather hot. The 3 amps in the title (Copland CSA29 vs Unison Research Unico vs Primare i30) seem to have a similar sound to my Jolida from reviews. I listen to a wide range of music from female vocals to Pink Floyd and some classical. Any feedback from someone with experience of the above amps or another that fits the bill would be appreciated. Thanks.
  19. Ovation 1721 Power Amplifier By Alex Colburn Introduction: Ovation High Fidelity are a relatively new UK based designer and manufacturer of hand built audio products pitched towards the higher end of the market who sell directly to the end user. I was asked to review their most recently released flagship product, the Model 1721 power amplifier. The amplifier arrived in a substantial tri-walled carton packed with custom expanded polyurethane foam. Some care is required during the unpacking process as the unit weighs in at a substantial 24kg. Also in the case was a 2m IEC power cord with suitable mains plug, user manual, Ovation High Fidelity brochure, customer service contact sheet and test report with the final test measured parameters for the amplifier (which in this case generously exceeded the manufacturers published specifications). The 1721 case is of predominantly silver appearance and of conventional design with black anodised vertical cooling fins running the full length of both sides and black anodised rear panel. Internal ventilation is achieved through a custom machined top plate with individual vents covered with stainless steel mesh. Overall, the case gives the general impression of high quality sturdy construction with extensive use of stainless steel cap-head screws. Four 40mm diameter polished stainless feet support the case some 15mm clear of any surface it is placed on. Ovation state the amplifier should not be operated on a carpet or where air circulation to ventilation slits in the baseplate of the case will be restricted as this will lead to overheating. External dimensions of the case are 450mm wide x 450mm deep x 130mm high (excluding the feet). It is refreshing to report on a product where the manufacturer has chosen not spend an unreasonably large proportion of the manufacturing costs on an “Arty” case to house the most important bits (the capital A is intentional). The front panel is a simple natural brushed aluminium affair with black push-button power switch and red/green coloured LED whose colour and flash state indicates which mode the amplifier is in. At the centre of the rear panel sits the IEC mains connector, strategically positioned to minimise wiring between the socket and the main transformer. On the far left of the rear panel two RCA sockets allow connection of unbalanced inputs and alongside two XLR sockets cater for balanced inputs. A small push button switch mounted between the two pairs of sockets is used to select balanced or unbalanced input operation. Speaker connections on the right side of the panel consists of 4 gold-plated heavy-duty CMT binding posts that will accept 4mm plugs, large spades or generously proportioned bare wires. A standard 3.5mm jack 12V trigger input is available for remote control of the amplifier from a preamp or other ancillary equipment. Technical specifications: The RMS output power is specified as 250W into 8Ω or 480W into 4Ω with less than 0.003% distortion at full power and all frequencies. This particular example could push out 288W into 8Ω at 0.002% distortion. Frequency response is quoted as 20Hz to 20kHz 0dB to +0.1dB or 2Hz to 250kHz +0dB to -3dB, signal to noise ratio better than -100dB referenced to 1V output or -120dB referenced to full output power. Input sensitivity for rated output is 1V for unbalanced and 0.5V for balanced inputs. At 36.6dB into 10kΩ, the overall gain is somewhat higher than the more usual 26dB quoted for many power amplifiers so should be easy to drive but be careful with that volume control! The beating heart of the amplifier is a high quality 1200W toroidal transformer custom wound with an inter-winding screen to minimise mains noise injection. Throughout the review period, I could detect no significant hum or other mechanical noise from the amplifier during operation. Cooling of the amplifier is entirely convective so there are no pesky fans to power up during your favourite quiet passage. Although the 1721 is capable of delivering powers in excess of 1kW, this class AB design consumes just 100W under idling conditions. At normal listening levels, I found the casing runs at a temperature of approximately 42°C when mounted in my Apollo open frame rack unit. For those who may be interested in the technicalities, the amplifier topology is built around a fully symmetrical current feedback gain stage with a “Locanthi T” (triple emitter follower) output stage having the properties of low overall feedback, wide bandwidth, high slew rate (250V/μS) and low distortion. In the case of the 1721, this has a paralleled output stage featuring 12 matched transistors for each channel and capable of delivering instantaneous currents in excess of 60A into the loudspeaker load. A comprehensive microprocessor controlled loudspeaker protection system monitors the amplifier for DC offsets, output overcurrent and over-temperature, disconnecting the output within 100μS. Ovation has achieved this by using a solid state rather than the usual electromechanical relay, which is much slower. If the condition that initiated the trip clears of it’s own accord, the amplifier will automatically re-connect to the speakers and continue normal operation. Audition: To take best advantage of the fully balanced topology of the amplifier, Ovation recommend using the balanced input so I decided to drive the unit using the balanced transformer output from my Linn Klimax DSM Mk3. Ovation also recommend a 5 to 10 hour burn-in period for their amplifiers so I ran it continuously for four days to be on the safe side before any serious listening tests. From casual listening during the burn-in period, I already knew the 1721 was a good amplifier so I wanted to jump straight in and get some serious current flowing through those numerous output transistors. Having attended a number of concerts by the Kodo Drummers of Japan at a number of different venues, I am well placed to evaluate the quality of reproduction of the Taiko drums they are masters of. The Taiko drum has a very distinctive sound signature being constructed from skins stretched over a wooden carcass using traditional techniques dating back to the 6th century and with fundamental modes reaching down to 30Hz. Though a very large instrument, the Japanese musician will use his “Bachi”(Taiko drum sticks) to strike the drum across its entire diameter from centre to rim. Faithful reproduction requires a system with the ability to reproduce the lowest notes with good control, definition and timbre while also retaining the dynamic range and attack of the drum strike. No HiFi system is capable of portraying a perfect rendition of the Taiko but the 1721’s contribution to the illusion was very good. Deep notes were presented with well-controlled power and a real perception of the decaying vibrations of the drum skin. At the other extreme, rim shots were fast, dynamic and tonally textured. Overall, a very credible representation of a complex and challenging instrument (Kodo: Heartbeat 16bit/44.1kHz CD rip). Another of my favourite test tracks is Michael Murray’s Bach: Toccata & Fugue in D Minor (16bit/44.1kHz Telarc CD rip), an excellent performance on the organ of the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles. The 1721 managed to create a great image of this instrument with good breadth and depth and all the gravitas, power and acoustics you would expect from such a magnificent location. Moving on to some progressive rock, my favourite live Yes album is: Keys to Ascension 2 (16bit/44.1kHz CD rip). Chris Squires’ distinctive Rickenbacker bass playing was a delight, as I’ve come to expect from a quality system. Jon Andersons’ high register voice is difficult to record well and ruthlessly exposes any tendencies towards sibilance but the 1721 had no trouble on this front. I was able to sit back and simply enjoy the music. My most recent music acquisition was Bear’s Den: Red Earth & Pouring Rain (24bit/96kHz Qobuz download) so was naturally keen to hear this on new equipment. This a fine example of modern sound engineering and production techniques and a pleasure to listen to if folk-rock floats your boat. The 1721 produced a pleasingly expansive soundstage that was relaxed and never forward or pushy. Voices were clear and uncluttered even on complex passages while cymbals were fast and shimmered cleanly. The atmospheric feel of “Roses On A Breeze” and “Love Can’t Stand Alone” were beautifully portrayed as intended by the artists. Conclusions: Having listened to a wide variety of music over more than a week, my overall impressions of the 1721 are that of neutrality, transparency, depth, control, power and effortless detail. Some may call the 1721 lean sounding but that’s because many other amplifiers tend to be designed with a “house sound” which can sound overblown IMHO. Though my speakers are not particularly efficient, I never felt the 1721 was going to run out of power any time soon even on very demanding loud material so I suspect it will make light work of driving those very difficult speaker loads. Ovation’s mission statement claims their products are “Engineered for Art” and I’m not sure exactly what this means but to quote Peter Walker of Quad, the definition of the ideal amplifier is “a straight wire with gain” and I think Ovation may have had this in mind when they designed the 1721. When an amplifier is this good everything seems to just work and it disappears from the conscious mind and allows you to immerse yourself in the music, which is what it should do. Ovation offer a five year parts and labour warranty on all their products. With a retail price tag of £6699 including VAT and UK shipping the 1721 power amplifier is not cheap so would represent more of an aspirational product for most HiFi enthusiasts. That said, if you are looking for a power amplifier at this performance level I believe the 1721 is competitive and a serious contender to be considered. Associated review equipment: Speakers: Modified Townshend Glastonbury Tor Mk1/Townshend Maximum Supertweeters Interconnects: Nordost Tyr 2 balanced XLR Speaker cables: Nordost Heimdall bi-wired Z-plugs Images © Ovation High Fidelity.
  20. Audiozen Alchemy Reference Hybrid Integrated Amplifier. Available from – Elite Audio Price at time of review - £2570 First Impressions. First up, a little bit of background information about this Italian made amplifier; it’s a two-box affair but not in the way you’d normally expect, instead of being split into pre- and power amp units it comes as an integrated (with the pre and power section split both physically and electrically) in one unit and the other is a power supply. The power supply is by far the heftiest and outweighs the integrated section by near 2 to 1. The units side by side are a little larger than a standard 430mm hi-fi unit and I was, just, comfortable fitting them on the top shelf of my rack. Maybe I should go back a little first to the moment it arrived, it came in a sturdy wooden crate and was beautifully packed for an item at any price, for the money this amplifier sells for I’d say the packaging was exemplary. Each unit was surrounded by shock absorbing foam which also covered the inner faces of the crate, the remote is a functional unit with a decent range.[/img] The power supply has an IEC socket and two captive umbilical cords for separate DC supplies to the preamp and power amp sections in the main box. Inside the integrated amp box the pre-amp has a pair of E88CC valves that are kept ready for use when the amplifier is in standby mode, as to the power amp section it looks to be a chip amp configuration of some description attached to a large heatsink. As many “experts” believe valves have the biggest impact when placed in the pre-amp section this bodes well for the design when we get to the listening part of this review. The casework is good, it looks very similar to the Hifi2000 Galaxy range, nice and solid without being overly fancy. I started listening using my Bastanis Wildhorn which in hindsight was probably not the best choice at 100db sensitivity and an amp with 90 Watts per channel, at this point I had limited volume control so decided I’d try a less sensitive set of speakers. In came the Club-27 Kurt speakers, a very similar design to the Bastanis but with a 10” wideband driver and 1” compression tweeter. At 94db sensitivity these horn loaded, bottom firing speakers are a better match for the Audiozen and gave me much more control over listening levels. Hopefully my choice of speaker will give you a clue that I’m a valve amp kind of guy that had steered clear of most things solid state for a good while. How does it sound? I decided to start off with a selection of my old favourite tracks, one’s that I know inside out and have heard on a few different setups, these include “Sympathy for the Devil” (Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet) that has different percussion instruments coming from far left and right at the start, Micks voice then comes in slightly off centre followed by piano and electric guitar front and centre. It’s easy to forget how much I like this song sometimes as I’ve heard the percussion instruments sound a bit metallic, lacking in body or thin sounding sometimes, that’s certainly not the case with this amp and within moments I found it difficult to concentrate on listening to the amp as my foot was tapping madly to the beat and I found myself playing air guitar alongside Keith! I managed to drag my focus back, foot still tapping, to hear the echo on Micks voice in the latter chorus repeats, as good and possibly better handled than I’d heard before in my setup, that counts as a good start to the session in my books, I let the LP play through side one before moving on to something else and found my foot tapping along to the beat most of the time. Another favourite on this side is “Dear doctor” a plaintiff cry for help from a jilted groom, it makes me feel sorry for the redneck copping it from his unfaithful bride to be, the amp brought across the emotion, and humour I hear in this song whilst staying the right side of strident when the harmonica wails above the strumming of the acoustic guitars. During the initial listening session I worked my way through Ella Fitzgerald (Lady is a Tramp, Foggy Night in London Town), The Clash, Led Zeppelin and Nina Simone along with a few others. Was I trying to catch the amp out, not consciously as I quickly forgot about reviewing and was simply enjoying many old favourites. From this point on I left the amp in standby mode, put simply this keeps the valves warm and makes the amp sound better from the minute you start listening, this is great when family commitments sometimes cut listening sessions short, it often feels like a valve amp has just got into its stride when a certain 6 year olds bedtime routine stops a listening session, that’s less of a problem with the Audiozen Alchemy as it’s on full song after 10 minutes use from standby. It seems to have plenty of power in reserve even when faced with something a bit more tricky, to test this I decided to plug some early Linn Sara Isobariks that I have hanging around, these are 4 Ohm speakers that I think drop a bit below that on the tweeter and are probably mid 80's db in sensitivity, I wasn’t sure how the Audiozen would deal with lower impedance speakers as it has plenty of Watts but that's not always the full story, I shouldn’t have worried as it grabbed them by the cojones and made them sound pretty damn good (for Linn speakers anyway). Whatever I listened to the amp simply got on with the job of playing music, beats were delivered with foot tapping enthusiasm and bass was controlled and textured underpinning every type of music, the soundstage was wide and tall, it didn’t try to over emphasise any particular point of the musical spectrum and I was finding it difficult to find anything negative to say. The only thing I can point to is an occasional increase in sibilance and a very low level buzz that came from the power supply when the unit went from standby to supplying power (I spoke to the distributor who said it had been silent when tried in his own setup and could maybe be down to rough handling by the courier), it sounded like a transformer hum, something many of us have heard when high power toroidal transformers are used and it had no impact on my enjoyment as it was only audible with no volume being used and your ear a foot or so away from the power supply box. Conclusion. So it comes well packed, is a neat, well made piece of kit that doesn’t suffer from style over substance, it locks on to a beat and made my foot tap almost continuously whatever genre I tried. It refused to over emphasise any part of the music to the detriment of the others and had the tube sweetness in the midrange that I, and my speakers, like. My only criticism of it is that it has too much power, or gain for my setup, I’d happily replace my current valve amplifier with it in the summer. The rest of the year I like the heat, looks and the extra bit of midrange magic my current amplifier gives, without a doubt it is bested by the Audiozen Alchemy at the frequency extremes and the lack of heat and exposed valves makes it a much better bet with kids around. At all times during the review period it simply got out of the way and made me want to explore my music collection by giving a hint of valve midrange magic along side the bass solidity of a solid state amp, what more can you ask of a component than it encouraging you to listen to more music (and constantly tap your foot whilst singing along at full belt)? Product Specification. Power – 90 Watts into 8 Ohm, 170 Watts into 4 Ohms. SN Ratio – 98db Inputs – 4 (unbalanced) Total weight – 11.8kg (amp 4.5kg, psu 7.3kg) My setup. Speakers – Bastanis Wildhorn, Club-27 Kurt, Linn Sara isobaric. Turntable – Sony PS-6750 with AT OC9 cartridge and DIY Salas phono stage. Digital – Pioneer stable platter CD into DIY DDDac1794.
  21. After years of nagging that we have "no room" for the hifi I've finally conceded and decided to sell the lot and replace with a more sensible set up for our abode. This is the renowned Chord SPM 4000 which I have been using to drive a pair of B&W 802Ds. I purchased the amplifier 5 years ago and has rarely been used since due to having 2 young children (who have been kept well clear of it!). I no longer have the box as it was too big and space is a premium. Due to the weight and value of this item it will unfortunately be collection only from Richmond-upon-Thames in Surrey. • 480 watts RMS into 8 ohms• 750 watts RMS into 4 ohms• 950 watts RMS into 2 ohms• Integra Legs• Dimensions (WxHxD): 420 x 310 x 355mm - 45kg• Output: 8 x gold platted WBT.• Inputs: 2 x XLR balanced inputs & 2 x RCA single ended Price: £6400 ONO.
  22. Wyred 4 Sound STI-500 v2 Integrated Amplifier James Duncan – Product Reviewer The Wyred 4 Sound STI-500 v2 (RRP £2,499.00 at time of review) is a dual mono designed integrated amplifier with enough power on tap to drive just about any loudspeaker out there. Reading the ‘About’ section from the manufacturer’s website; “…...a passion for great sound, an obsession for quality and a willingness to work long hours to get the job done right” I much prefer reading narratives like this, that just get straight to the point and tell you exactly what the company is about at a level we can all relate to. As an enthusiast and avid listener of music, this is the sort of thing I want to hear. Does it translate in reality; do we have great sound? Read on… First Impressions and Setup Out of the box, I won’t skip over the elephant in the room. This amplifier will not at an aesthetic level please everyone. Like marmite, I suspect, you will likely either love it, or hate it. It is however well built and does feel solid enough as you position it on the equipment rack. There is also a nifty little remote control in a matt black finish. While not a luxury remote, it does cover off the basic controls you’d expect to find. Setting up the amplifier is straight forward enough with good quality binding posts and inputs for RCA/XLR. The layout on the front is basic with a very small digital display, so small that from even a relatively close distance is hard to read and from my sitting position impossible, rendering it a bit pointless. You can however alter the brightness and even have it completely off which is where I left it. This is a dual mono designed amplifier providing 250w into 8 ohms and 430w into 4 ohms, so it should drive most loudspeakers out there with ease Moving on to some of the design features of this amp, the volume control is a true-resistive ladder type that offers truer linearity and according to the instructions manual offers superior sonic quality. The line-stage within doubles as an unbalanced to balanced converter which will give you a balanced signal from an unbalanced input. User interface is clear when close to the unit with VFD display and optical rotary encoder. Allowing input naming and HT Bypass for use within a Home Cinema set up, a feature I have used in the past when combing 2ch with Multi-Channel. For more on the technical side you can wing your way over to the manufacturers site here; Sound According to the manufacturer this unit takes some 300 hours to run in. I have to say I read this with some delight as my first impressions were not that great out of the box, sounding harsh in the upper frequencies especially when driven hard. So I left it playing some Electronica for a few days before I sat down and really started to listen. Staying with Electronica then, I started my critical listening with Jon Hopkins – Immunity and track ‘Open Eye Signal’ and I have to say the amp handled the bass and complexity of the track very well indeed. I’ve used this track a lot to test bass performance, mostly with headphones as I tend to listen to this type of music on the move rather than at home in front of my main system. This amplifier reminded me of my previous amps by Plinius, really taking a grip of the track and delivering a powerful and very much in your face presentation. Moving on to Moderat and track ‘A New Error’, again I was stunned at the control this amp provided, with plenty of power on hand, my toes were tapping away as the heavy bass in this track kicked in. Again if your speakers lack in bass, this track will throw a spotlight on it for sure. However, in this case the amp did not fail in relaying the powerful bone crushing bass lines to be had here (I had to open one of the doors in my lounge as the bass was causing it to rattle in its frame). Within a short period, I was appreciating how this amp loves bass and seemed to handle complexity well also. Suitably geared up from my positive experience with Electronica, time to try some of my recent finds by way of Kaleo – A.B and track ‘Way Down We Go’, starting with some nice soft vocals and piano, then a burst of bass as the track builds up. The Wyred 4 Sound again had my toes tapping away and I just sat back and got absorbed into the track. Next up – Pinegrove, just love the whole album called ‘Cardinal’. Again I was able to just sit back and be taken away by the music. I think this is a good sign in that adding this amp to my system did not detract from my enjoyment of my favourite recordings, so much kudos was due at this point. However, it’s not all so plain sailing, throwing on some of my favourite Jazz tracks – Diana Krall, A Night in Paris and track ‘A Case of You’, I just was not able to feel as connected to this track as I have been with my own amp. To confirm this, I also tried Patricia Barber and album Café Blue which has bags of emotion in this well compiled track listing. However, to be fair to the ST500, I have a significantly more expensive tube amplifier which gives a very different presentation and arguably a better suited amp for this kind of music. Summary This is an amplifier that will appeal to a lot of people. It’s not budget by any means, but it does deliver a lot of bang for your buck. It will drive just about any loudspeaker out there with ease, taking a good grip of your recordings that really make sure you pay attention. I can’t fault it for its ability to handle complexity and eek out another octave of bass that other amps at this price point can’t touch. Not the last word in refinement however and if Jazz is your bag, you may want to audition others. Overall a great amp for the money and very competitive at this price point indeed. Equipment Used The system used in the review is comprised of: - Auralic Aries Lightning Streaming bridge - Lindemann Musicbook: 10 DAC - Audio Physic Codex Loudspeakers - ISOL-8 Substation Integra Power Conditioner – Less Loss Firewall 5X (two of) and Studio Connections Reference cables. A REALREVIEW by James Duncan For further information on this review or if you would like a REALREVIEW on any of your products please contact the content team on
  23. A new RealReview from a new reviewer David Ayers. The Erzetich Bacillus Headphone Amplifier. Erzetich are a new name to me, I had to look them up on their website: to see that they hail from Slovenia. There’s been a huge growth of excellent products coming from eastern Europe in the last two decades, including very familiar names such as Pro-ject and Kuzma. Interestingly the alternative headphone amp I had to hand during this review was the base model Pro-ject headbox, which I’ve been using for some years. Currently Erzetich only list five products, four headphone amplifiers and a headphone stand. The Bacillus is their entry level model, currently available at £499.99 via Elite Audio: Now, I’ve been a headphone listener since I got into music (and hi-fi) 45 years ago, but my main focus has always been listening through speakers, and hence so has my main expenditure. Having said that, I still listen through cans a lot of the time, whether it’s at work (closed back) or at home when I don’t want to disturb the neighbours (open back). So saying, I was very interested to find out what one gets when moving up past the basic level of either an inbuilt headphone amp or a basic add-on such as the headbox. For this reason, although I had the choice of reviewing any of the four amps, I chose the Bacillus. This is a journey I have considered, and I’m sure many other have also. Unboxing the Bacillus revealed a fairly small, but chunky box, with a similar footprint to the headbox, but around two and a half times taller. The Bacillus needs this extra space as it has an internal power supply, and not a wall wart. Round the back there are two RCA inputs for left and right, a standard IEC mains connector, and an on/off switch. As the switch is round the back, one could assume that the unit is meant to be left powered up, but I found it only needed about 15 minutes powered up to come on song, so I opted to switch it off between sessions. No mention is made of this in the manual. A standard IEC lead was supplied in the box, and I used the unit with the supplied cable. The Pro-ject Headbox that I have has a passthrough capability, in other words it has two pairs of RCA sockets to enable the amp to be placed directly in the line of a source component to the amp. The Bacillus doesn’t have this facility, so it will either have to be connected to a dedicated headphone source, or to the tape outputs of an amplifier. I initially connected it to the tape out of my Musical Fidelity M3i integrated amp, but subsequently I connected it directly to the outputs of my Pioneer N50a network player (more on that later). Other equipment I used was the line output of my Fiio X5ii portable player, functioning both as a DAC and as a stand-alone player. Headphones used were the B&O H6 closed back model and a pair of vintage Koss HV/1a open back cans, which I have owned from new. Listening So, what does one get when moving up the food chain from a basic head amp to something more capable? Clarity and control would be the best way to sum it up, in fact the same things you get when you upgrade an amp driving loudspeakers. Unfortunately this can also come at a cost, where the music is lost in the detail, a bit like focussing on the pixels in a picture rather than the picture itself. Was this the case with the Bacillus? Categorically no! The first and most obvious impression I got when listening to the Bacillus was the extra weight to the bass, but not in a bloated way. In fact the level of control was very impressive. The H6 can be a little bass light, but driven by the Bacillus, this was much reduced albeit not entirely eliminated. The Koss cans on the other hand are blessed with a prodigious bass which can be a bit loose and uncontrolled. The Bacillus took these cans and told them in no uncertain terms what they should and should not be doing. The bass impact was hugely improved, with little or no overhang, cleaning up the mid and treble in the meantime and making them really sing. I’ve always felt the HV/1a is a very musical headphone, and the Bacillus took those qualities and cleaned them up without damaging any of the characteristics that have kept me coming back to them year after year. I tried some modern highly compressed recordings, such as Black Holes and Revelation by Muse, and the Bacillus seemed to untangle as much as is possible out of this album, whilst making it plain that compression comes at the cost of bass depth and impact. Another recording that is normally tricky is the drum & bass influenced Earthling by David Bowie. This album can sound pretty relentless and to an extent this is intended, but without control the incessant thud thud thud of the percussion can be headache inducing. The Bacillus impressively sorted all the ducks in order, making the musical intent a lot clearer. I tried I’m Afraid of Americans on both sets of cans, and whilst the presentation was different, the overall effect of the Bacillus was maintained. As I write this I am listening to Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions, and the rhythm and bounce of this most excellent album is a joy to hear. Stevie’s vocal inflections are coming through clearly and the whole tonal balance is excellent. When I had the amp connected to the tape outs of the M3i, I felt that there was a (very) slight bass lift, which is why I changed to a direct connection from the N50a to the Bacillus. That the amp can demonstrate this through cans is quite impressive. The amp isn’t perfect of course and if I want to be picky then a couple of times when things really got going I felt it could be a bit like an overexcited teenager at a party, but this was slight. Also, whilst it was very good at making sense of dense musical passages, I have heard better through loudspeaker systems, and so I imagine it can be improved on by going for one of the amps higher up in Erzetich’s range. Interestingly Erzetich themselves characterise the amp as slightly bright, which was not my personal impression. Manufacturer’s Specifications Headphone impedance: 8-600 ohm Output power: 181.5 mW (8 ohm)/161 mW (600 ohm) Frequency response: 3 Hz-500 kHz, -1dB THD (1 kHz): 0.0003 % IMD: 0.025 % Power consumption:> 3 W SNR: >102 dB Power supply input voltage: 230 V/50 Hz or 115 V/60 Hz Dimensions (W x H x D): 110 mm x 64 mm x 180 mm Weight: 850 g Character: Slightly bright Summary Whilst this might be an entry level amp for specialists Erzetich, for most it is a step up from base level headphone amps or built in headphone outputs. As such, it is an obvious and worthwhile improvement and I’m sure that most people would be very happy moving to the Bacillus. For anyone looking to upgrade, I would recommend auditioning the Bacillus. A REALREVIEW by David Ayers For further information on this review or if you would like a REALREVIEW on any of your products please contact the content team on
  24. A high class amplifier made by McIntosh. The amplifier is about 2 years old, in full working order and excellent condition. There is a small scratch to the side panel caused by a metal latch in my cabinet (see photo) and not visible from the front. I would prefer a pick up. It could be posted, but I would estimate the cost to be upwards of £100 due to its weight and value. Cash on collection please Specification: 2 x 200 watts (8/4/2 ohms) Exclusive McIntosh output autoformers Wide power bandwidth with ultra-low distortion Exclusive McIntosh Power Assurance System: Power Guard® clipping protection Sentry Monitor® current protection Thermal Cutout DC Failure protection Turn-On Delay Soft Start inrush protection Illuminated peak-responding wattmeters Exclusive McIntosh 5-band equalizer circuit Silent electromagnetic switching Precision-trimmed volume control Loudness Compensation 6 source selections (including phono); one balanced input Switching for 2 outputs Accommodates more sources with McIntosh MVS3 A/V Selector Control data output for source components Remote power control (1 main, 1 accessory, 2 switched) Remote operation of lights, screens, and drapes with McIntosh HC1 Home Controller Electronically regulated power supply with double-shielded transformer Gold-plated input and output jacks Fanless convection cooling Modular construction with polished stainless steel chassis Glass front panel with illuminated nomenclature Infrared remote control Connector for external IR sensor or keypad controller Headphone jack
  25. A REALREVIEW Of The Little Dot Mk III Headphone Amplifier by George Sallit Headphones have seen significant growth in hifi over the last few years. This was started by itunes and people using various portable devices with those awful ear buds. Yeuch. These headphones sounded awful and were very uncomfortable to wear. However, along comes Dr Dre with Monster Audio and they bring out the Dr Dre headphones. They were an instant hit and still dominate the headphone market. When I used to commute, people using full sized headphones were common and it no longer looked geeky to use proper headphones. Great. I started to use full sized headphones again and when away from home used one of the little USB thumbwheel players, which used full resolution CD files and had a dedicated amplifier with an analogue volume control. And they sounded very good. As I was isolated from others I was not a pest with that awful tssh tshh sound coming out from the headphones. Despite all that, for me, headphones were still very much an accessory. Yes, I had a set of Stax electrostatics but did not use them that much. Fast forward. A few weeks ago I got to hear a really nice pair of headphones with their own amplifiers (Audeze) and they sounded really, really good. As the sound goes directly into the ears there are no room effects and the sound quality per pound was exceptional. I am a fan of valves and my two main systems are both valve powered so were there any valve powered amplifiers around. Well lo and behold, there on the internet was a Chinese company selling valve powered headphone amplifiers. The Little Dot MK III is a SEPP (single-ended push pull) OTL design operating in Class-A. Well no big deal there has always been a few amplifiers around. But these were about £200. Can’t be much good. After a good internet search, I found a guy in Maidenhead who directly imported them into the UK and was selling them at £180. He said if it was faulty then he would immediately replace it with a new one. What’s to lose? The Little Dot Mk III headphone amp is actually solidly built and has the capability to run a whole range of alternative valves including 6H30Ps. (the super tube of ARC, BAT and other premier amp companies).The amplifier is fairly weighty and has a nice transformer. So, I turned them on and gave them a little bit of time to warm up and I then put on a few test tracks. The mid-range was very good and natural with a spooky voice quality that sounds real as opposed to a very detailed but thin papery cut out of a person. Now this is a strength of valves but that can come with a soft bass and a rolled off top end. Well the bass went fairly deep and was not soft and waffly. In fact, it was quite good and kept the pace of the music going especially on rock music. The top end was a little rolled off but there was a reasonable amount of sparkle and cymbals still sounded metallic but without the air you hear with electrostatic headphones for example. I took the amp around to a couple of audiophile friends and both were really impressed and bought the amp from China. I could be really critical and say they do not go really deep in the bass, the top top end was rolled off and the dynamics were slightly softer than I hear with other high quality amplifiers. But for £200, getting a valve headphone amplifier that sounds this good makes them a bit of a Billy Bargain. Hopefully we can get some more headphones/amplifiers in for review. I am now convinced that provided that you can deal with the different feel of headphones compared to speakers then you could get ultra high quality sound quality for not a lot of money. Recommended. My US colleague recommends getting them direct from China via David Zhe Zhe as his service is excellent. He is at :