Audio Innovations Alto 35 Integrated Amplifiers

4.55/5 (11 Reviews) MSRP : $500.00


Product Description

35 watts


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Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by MGS a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 30, 2013

Bottom Line:   

This review is for the Black (Crinkle effect MK1 version) Audio Innovations Alto - Not to be confused with the silver version which was inferior & has different internals and sound characteristics.

I bought this amp from new back in the 90's after listening to some Nad's Arcam's, Denon's and a host of others I cant remember. It really stood out within the first 15-20 seconds of music and I knew I had to have it even though I wasn't sure of the strange style at the time.

I am going to say it right from the start -There is something very special about this little amplifier! simple words cannot describe the sound, you have to hear one fully warmed up with the correctly matched speakers and CD player/source to believe it. The sound this thing makes is truly hypnotic when properly warmed up. It sucks you in to an incredible 3D sound stage that no other amp Iv'e ever heard before can (and I've heard a lot trust me) it is also smooth sweet and punchy. As for it's claimed 35w output forget it, this thing can shake the glasses out of my kitchen cupboard when asked to with a bit of Steel Pulse and my Monitor audio speakers. I foolishly sold it to a friend a few years ago after trying the upgrade path but realized they were actually downgrades; None had the characteristics of this little Alto amp, it just made music and totally immerses you (once I found myself staring into space five minutes after the music stopped) I eventually bought it back from my mate again at a loss as he didn't want to let it go either. It was worth every penny though and I still use it today (2013) I would also disagree with those that say it does not have a grip on the low bass, I find the bass to be very punchy and tight and quite deep, yes it could do a little more but if paired well it's not a problem. Just Keep away from heavy metal and thrash. There is one thing I'll say that is a MUST with this amp and that is - it MUST be warmed up properly! -for at least half an hour as that's when it really sings and comes alive. However when cold it sounds anaemic and nothing special at all; as some past reviewers have found to their loss unfortunately.
If you see a GOOD second hand one for sale, don’t hesitate to rip the sellers arms off. Good examples are becoming hard to find now and prices reflect that.

Re: Buying second hand: Common faults to look for:
1. One/both channels cutting in and out at low volume (A hard tap on the case brings sound back) = Replace speaker protection relay.
2. Sound cutting in and out when using source selector knob. =remove & clean source selector switch or swap for Record sw as parts are scarce.
3. Check volume pot for wear as difficult to replace due to design.
4. No sound on one channel or blown output, check/replace Bias pots and Output Transistors.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Secondsight a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: September 10, 2005

Bottom Line:   
WOW - bought this amp as a gamble - hadn't listened to it - just read the reviews and liked the look of it.

I took it home and hooked it up to my sub-standard DVD player with cheap (the cheapest) interconnects. The differance was instant - it made even the crap I had sound good.

I am running a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze 3 floor standing speakers which provide plenty of bass - a little too much on some recordings, but maintain a crystal clear top end.

Great sound for the money and cannot fault the amp - now off to buy a CD player and some decent interconnects - can't wait to hear it all together.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $350.00

Purchased At:   Auckland - price in



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by punit_b a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 8, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I can't justify replacing it - it's probably the best piece of hi-fi I ever bought.

I think it's totally wrong to suggest there might be something wrong with this amp because it doesn't pair well with certain sources. No amp will pair well with all sources.

I have a Marantz CD63 and it did sound a little harsh. However, changing interconnects to a slightly warmer set (Cambridge Audio Studio Ref) cured it perfectly. Since then, I've also added a Cambridge Audio DACmagic 2i and Muscial Fidelity x-10D. Although this amp is a little bass light, in this set-up, I get all the bass I want through my TDL RTL 2s.

A lovely, neutral amp with incredible soundstaging. I've tried many current amps as I have the upgrading bug -- but nothing has convinced me to change the amp.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Richer Sounds



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by daniel hur a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: August 30, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This is the best amp i ever heard (apart from big krells o mark lenvinsons,this amp drives very well my celestions A1 speakers (4ohms) givin 55 watts in this load.It work together with a california audio labs DX-1 and they all gives an articulate and deep soundstage,apart of the natural sound.Even it drove sometime a pair of magnepans MG-2.6(my anterior speakers)with good resoults.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   audiovision singer



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Gary McCloskey a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: August 25, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Bought this in a clearance sale - paired with a TEAC Reference 500 CD player, and Tannoy M2 speakers - also bought at the same sale.

When listening to music, you can just close your eyes and /be there/. Vocals, instrumentals, strings all come to life - e.g. Bjork, The Cardigans, classical.

Unsuitd to techno, hard rock and music of that ilk - not for the bass freaks out there.

Plays to its 35W limit with no noticeable distortion. Bass, mid-range and treble are all great - though I reckon that a more demanding pair of speakers might just reveal new depth to this baby.

There are newer, louder, more whiz-bang amps out there, but you ave to pay serious bucks for such a natural sound. I love it.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $199.00

Purchased At:   Richer Sounds (Dublin)




Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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