Beauty, and nothing more – the impression of the sound should always be supported by the design of the device. And it is the dial gauges that used to be the standard for the golden age of audio that are most pleasing to audiophiles today.
The appearance of the equipment attracts the eye, and it becomes much more pleasant to slide along the waves of music, observing the movement of the marks on the indicators. Our new rating is a compilation of just released Amplifiers with Analog Level Meters.
Price – $3 500
The renaissance of the legendary brand is in full swing – the brand new integrated amplifier Technics SU-G700, despite amplification in class D, weighs a solid 12.3 kg and looks simply amazing. Jitter Reduction (JENO Engine) and Automatic Phase Calibration (LAPC) technologies ensure accurate and balanced sound. The device achieves a solid power of 2 x 70 W into a load of 8 Ohm, has a whole scattering of inputs (the DAC can be excluded from the path; connecting digital sources is possible directly, there are optics, and coaxial, and USB – and to digitize the signal from the analog inputs precision chips Burr-Brown PCM1804) and sports a built-in MM phono stage.
Price – $7 300
The Accuphase E-280 Integrated Amplifier went on sale at the end of 2020. The compact model looks great and delivers the “same” Accuphase sound that the company has won the love of High End fans around the world – accurate, full of detail, nuance and incredible microdynamics. Well, now the “entrance ticket” to the major league has become much more affordable, and the device’s output power (90 W per channel) is quite enough to drive most speakers. The Accuphase E-280 boasts a powerful power transformer, two 30,000 microfarad filter capacitors, a bipolar transistor pair output stage in a parallel push-pull configuration, and its own AAVA volume control (16 VI converters).
Price – $7 500
The flagship integrated speaker from Yamaha, model A-S3200, simply breaks into the niche of expensive modern technology and impresses with its embossed, surround sound. The double bass materializes, as in a live performance – and this is worth a lot, believe me. It took the company more than eight years to create the three thousandth series – as a result, completely new toroidal transformers (with an increased cross-section of wires to reduce resistance), a mechanical grounding module and proprietary Floating and Balanced Power Amplifier circuitry were developed. The power of 2 x 100 watts into 8 ohms is enough for even the harshest speakers.
Anthem STR Power Amplifier
Price – $8 800
The two-channel power amplifier is a great addition to the already studied Anthem STR series… 2 x 600 W of power into a load of 4 Ohms (at a slew rate of 30 V / ms) looks stunning on paper – the device handles the speakers just as confidently in real tests, holding the speakers with an iron hand and guaranteeing thunderous bass. At the same time, the delicacy does not suffer at all – the amplifier, in fact, turned out to be a reference. The cherry on top is an Advanced Load Monitoring (ALM) system that monitors current and voltage.
Price – $10 000
A treasure trove of innovation and the accumulation of many years of experience of the company – all this, Luxman L-509X. In the output stage, a buffer circuit based on discrete LECUA 1000 elements operates, a unique feedback circuit (the Only Distorsion Negative Feedback 4.0 system operates only in distortion), a power supply unit with independent storage capacitors for the left and right channels, the use of Darlington transistors in the second stage of the amplification circuit – list can be very long, it is better to hear it once. The plastic sound of the model is striking in its cohesion and can demonstrate serious dynamics. TTX to match – output power 2 x 120 W at 8 ohms, dumping factor – 370, THD – 0.007%.
Price – $22 000
The integrated circuit, which appeared in the fall of 2020, is built according to a hybrid circuit – lamps (4 x 12AX7A) work in its preliminary stage, and the power section is made on transistors. Before us is the most powerful model of the company, designed in a single case – the output parameters reach 2 x 350 W, regardless of the impedance of the speakers (in the range from 2 to 8 ohms). Eight-band tone controls look odd for the High End sector, but they allow you to fine-tune the sound to your tastes and listening room, X Power Guard technology ensures gentle speaker handling, and output terminals made on the basis of milled Solid Cinch connectors provide excellent interfacing with any cable – everything here is of the highest standard. The device sounds powerful, large-scale and delivers a very comfortable, velvety presentation.
Audio Research Reference 80S
Price – $26 000
Audio Research produces expensive equipment, and its new (the device was presented in January 2021) “smallest” powerhouse – Reference 80S is no exception. As for the sound (it is simply brilliant), that for the workmanship (all assembly is carried out only at its own factory in Minnesota), not a single claim can be made to the device. The amplifier is designed according to a push-pull scheme (a pair of KT150 lamps in each channel provides a power of 2 x 80 W), can operate in both pentode and triode modes, and has a lamp operating time counter. GhostMeters branded arrow indicators look magical.