Sugden A-48 Integrated Amplifiers

4.33/5 (9 Reviews) MSRP : $500.00


Product Description

Integrated Amplifier (1977-1981)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (9 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by energyandair a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 3, 2003

Bottom Line:   
About 3 years ago, I bought a second hand Sugden A28B from a local audiophile who had become more interested in vintage tube amps. Compared to the Rotel 931AX, it replaced, it was a big step up. It gave more detail along with the smoothest mid and upper range on CDs that I have heard other than in high end Audio Note tube amps.
Is it perfect? No such thing once the audio bug bites! Much as I like the amp, I have been looking for something that would give more authoritative bass with my Mission 753 speakers and kinder treatment of less than perfect LPs without giving up that beautiful midrange.
When I had the opportunity to try an A48B I jumped at it.
Appearance
Externally the A28B and the A48B amps looked almost identical ie. Like a black version of the photo above but without the vents in the top that lead me to believe that the amp in the photo is actually the pure Class A Sugden A21A. The older A48 series 1 and 2 look quite different. See http://www.audiosynergy.co.uk/old_sugden.htm
Construction
Both amps appear well constructed with good components but share no circuit boards in common. The A28B has the same preamp and phono boards as the A21A. The A48B has the same preamp and phono boards as the A25B that preceded the A28B.
Operation
The A28B runs noticeably warmer than the A48B. This suggests that the 44W A28B runs with a higher bias current and may be thought of as something in between the pure Class A 25W A21A and the 60-70W class A/B A48B. Controls are the same except that the A48B has a click stop volume control and the on light is integrated into the switch button.
Sound
Both amps sounded very good but there are noticeable differences.
On CDs, the mid and upper range of the A48B was very good but the A28B was superb.
The bass on the A28B is decent but the A48B had stronger dynamics and better control.
On phono the A28B had great detail but the A48B was much more forgiving of less than perfect records and my Shure M97XE cartridge.
Compatibility
The A48B had no problems with my speakers but I understand it is not good with very low impedances or capacitative loads. The A28B seems to be much more tolerant and sounded significantly better than a Quad 33/303 pair when driving Quad ESL 57s. It is also worth noting that the A28B is more forgiving of old CD players than any other amp I have heard. The A28B has internal jumpers to accommodate moving coil cartridges but I am not sure if the A48B has this capability.
Problems
The only problem I have had was a hum when first connecting the tuner and TV. This was a ground loop between the incoming cable and the earth in the amplifier’s 3 wire power lead. Installation of a Ground Breaker in the cable cured the problem.
Upgrades
I am in no great rush to change the A28B but I will upgrade the CD player when I see a chance for a big upgrade at a good price. I am also considering getting a better phono cartridge as I suspect that the amp is geared to better cartridges and is revealing the limits of the M97XE.
Which should you get?
The short answer is whichever you can. They are both very good, are hard to find and are real bargains. In my case, I preferred the A28B for its gorgeous midrange on CDs but I generally play at low volume and while I play a range of things, my tastes primarily run to Dianna Krall, Eva Cassidy and Chopin.
If you want more volume, strong bass and play lots of LPs of varying condition or have very inefficient speakers, you may be happier with the A48B unless your speakers are awkward to drive.
Other Equipment
Turntable: Linn Basik with Shure M97XE
CD Player: Sony 620ES
Speakers: Mission 753s and Fulton Minis

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   Private in $C



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by RGA a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 11, 2003

Bottom Line:   
While shopping for a power amplifier and a phono amp I came across a used Sugden A48B Circa 1992-1997. I remembered that UHF magazine was a fan of Sugden so I thought I would give it a try...since it had a phono board and a low price. The List price of this Sugden is $1995.00(with phono board).

I had the unit connected up to a Paradigm Studio 100V2 and directly compared the SUgden against the more than $3000.00 Musical Fidelity A300 Integrated. The Sugden A48B produced a more musical sound. Indeed, the sound is very reminiscent of very good valve amplifiers but with very solid deep bass response.

The A25a from Sugden is the company's best integrated but the A48B offers a softer presentation which can help tame bright cd players and speakers.

I also have an Arcam Delta 290 integrated(Class B Stereophile recommended in 96) and quite frankly as good as it is it is outclassed in virtually every respect by the A48B...running in class A, DC, must be worth something.

The 55-60 watts of the Sugden will be plenty for almost all speakers and offers tremendous depth(though not particularly wide) staging and very solid control of the bottom end. No frequency limiting circuitry in the Sugden allows a speaker to go deep.

For the $425.00 CDN I paid I seriously doubt I could have done better...I have compared it to several newer far far more costlier amps from MF, Bryston, Arcam, NuVista, Krell, Levinson, Classe, Cary among others.

I can say the Sugden is not embarrassed by this company...the Sugden does not win out in the technical areas of soundstaging(pin pointing instruments in their proper place) and the Sugden is not going to drive very difficult loads...but in the mid band and with female vocals it's in the league of mega buck amps...it has a high frequency range that mixesa nice balance of extension and smoothness...again not being embarrassed by other costlier amps...and bass response is rich and deep...with easier speakers you would not want for more.

Sugden is one of the lesser known names in the high end world...which is a shame. Lucky us for discovering them...and if you're reading this...then you may be lucky too.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $425.00

Purchased At:   Sound Hounds $425.00



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

Date Reviewed: April 12, 2002

Bottom Line:   
i bought this amp new in 1976 & have had no reason to change it. turntables, arms, cartridges, tuners, cd players and especially loudspeakers have all come & gone but the a48 stays.it does every thing i ask of it, with great finesse. sure its not perfect but its not far off (unless you have a fortune to spend of course).

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $149.00

Purchased At:   hifi shop, new in 19



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mark Tokarski a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 12, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I have the orange mark 1 amplifier. I bought as soon as I saw it-because it was such a familar sight(My father still has his from 1978). It has a fantastic warm sound. It can "push" anything- I currently use it with some Monitor Audio speakers. My father has used it with some Tannoy Dual concentrics and now some super efficient Acustic Energy- the sound is equally impressive.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $80.00



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Matthew D a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 8, 2002

Bottom Line:   
This amp is the mark 2 version from the early eighties with a brown facade. More powerful(60 watts) than its than its orange mark 1 cousin with a more refined and controlled delivery. Great for acoustic and midrangey music although can be a little bright at times.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $70.00

Purchased At:   Private sale




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