Magnat MA 900 Review: Can handle even the more demanding speakers
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The Magnat MA 900 Hybrid Integrated Amplifier with DAC is based on proprietary and proven solutions. The manufacturer once again used a circuit that uses both radio tubes and transistors. According to Magnat, this approach is the key to balanced sound and high performance. The MA 900 model is very powerful: the device is capable of delivering 200 watts per channel in normal operation and 320 watts in a pulse. The company noted that the ECC 81 tubes used in the preamplifier must be carefully selected and heated. The amplifier operates in class A / B.
Other features of the amplifying part of the device included high-quality capacitors, a shielded toroidal transformer, power circuits with independent channels and the presence of a standby mode with low power consumption. As for the built-in DAC, we are talking about a circuit from Cyrrus Logic with support for quality up to 24 bit / 192 kHz. The digital signal can be input via coaxial or optical connectors. There is also the possibility of wireless connection via Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD.
Among other things, the MA 900 has a built-in phono stage based on Texas Instruments operational amplifiers. It is possible to connect MM and MC heads. The front panel also has a headphone jack and a 3.5mm line-in jack. Traditionally, Magnat used a black metal case with a massive front. All controls are made of aluminum. For convenience, the amplifier was equipped with a display with basic information. The set includes a remote control.
The front panel of the Magnat MA 900 is made of a solid aluminum plate and is visually divided into two parts by a large round volume control knob, to the left of which there is an information display, and to the right there is a transparent window through which you can observe the glow of the pre-amplifier lamps. At the bottom of the front panel there is a power button, a 6.3 mm jack for connecting headphones, a 3.5 mm line input, rotary tone controls for treble, midrange and bass, as well as knobs for the rotary input selector and channel balance control.
The digital-to-analog converter unit in the Magnat MA 900 is made on Cirrus Logic chips, the signal can be fed to it through two coaxial and two optical digital inputs, the maximum resolution is 24 bit / 192 kHz. There is also a Bluetooth 5.0 module with support for the aptX HD audiophile codec. The built-in universal phono stage can work with moving magnet (5 mV / 47 kΩ) and moving coil (0.5 mV / 470 ohm) heads, with separate inputs provided.
There are as many as five line analog inputs in the model. There is also a linear analog output. An interesting function Source Gain allows you to adjust the gain within +/- 6 dB separately for each amplifier input. In general, the functional equipment of the Magnat MA 900 covers almost all the needs of a modern audiophile, except for the built-in streamer and USB-B port for connecting a computer or laptop as a digital transport, but this is already nit-picking. The kit also includes a universal wireless remote control for controlling a complete system of Magnat components.
The main practical advantage of a good hybrid amplifier that combines a tube pre-stage and a transistor power amplifier is usually considered to be the ability to turn the volume knob without fear of the bass getting out of control and the high frequencies starting to choke the ear. From this point of view, it is impossible to make any claims to the Magnat MA 900 – both models of the speakers that participated in the test, he “pulled” without the slightest problems, while the maximum level of comfortable volume was sufficient to pump a large enough room. Well, many modern commercial releases, which, unfortunately, have a high compression level, have definitely benefited from their additional enrichment with even tube harmonics.
If we talk about the genre preferences of the kit, then in combination with the aforementioned speakers, the amplifier plays out modern electronic music, as well as the classic rock repertoire, especially cheerfully and fervently. It is not for nothing that in Germany the Transpuls series speakers are now sold together with the latest AC / DC album on vinyl!
I would especially like to note how responsive and grateful the amplifier is to improve the quality of the signal source – when connected to a Lyngdorf CD player from a much higher price category, the stage acquired tangible depth, and the bass – additional speed and attack. It seems that when paired with slightly more refined and restrained acoustic systems, more focused on working with classical music, the Magnat MA 900 will fully demonstrate its ability to accurately convey all the timbre richness of live instruments.
An excellent find for those audiophiles who do not want to spend significant amounts on powerful tube amplifiers, but who are not satisfied with the sound nature of budget transistor devices. The hybrid Magnat MA 900 can handle even complex speakers, and its ability to play loudly and comfortably will delight all fans of dynamic music genres.