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Magnum Audio Class A SE
3 Reviews
rating  4.33 of 5
MSRP 
Description: integrated amp


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Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by wal riley a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 2, 1999

Bottom Line:   
You may have noticed that i've submitted this review twice! For some reason the initial review didn't post for about three weeks, so I assumed that it wouldn't post at all. Apologies!!

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Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Wal Riley a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 1, 1999

Bottom Line:   
An impressive looking amp this,with a large,immaculately polished mirror chrome front panel and reassuringly heavy control knobs.The thing weighs 15 kilos, of which a third is attributable to the vast, finned heatsink that doubles as a top plate. It needs this heatsink as well. The amp, when warmed up, streams heat like a three bar electric fire. You could cook an egg on it and i'm only half-joking! This is reflected in it's 600 watt power consumption to achieve it's 80 watt power rating, so a typical class A, then. Listening to it, you get to hear all the usual class A attributes. The amp was allegedly designed to get a valve-like warmth and euphony in it's sound and this has been borne out in practise. Vocals are given plenty of weight and presence, yet without the glare of most transistor amps. Bass is warm and very extended and treble is clear although a little dry, but this could actually be an advantage in some CD based systems.
What you don't very often get from valves is this amp's speed and rhythmic qualities which are very Naim-like in attack. Nor do you get the bass control that this amp exhibits and the sheer sense of grip and authority when it is cranked up. This thing made my own Electrocompaniet ECI-2 sound slightly lightweight in comparison and the Electro is a meaty little sod in it's own right. However, the Electro does have a more extended and airy treble and gives a bigger sense of the acoustic in which the music is playing but doesn't quite match the kick-arse attitude of the Magnum, which even managed to get my cheapo Aiwa cassette player grooving.If Naim made valve amps, they'd probably sound something like this! The treble is to taste; it's slightly dry and maybe a little airless. Apparently, it's been engineered to roll off sharply around 20khz, which is another characteristic of valves. I personally could live with it quite happily, as cymbals rang out with plenty of depth and top end extension when needed (i've played drums semi-professionally for 15 years now- I know what I'm listening for!)but you'll have to make up your own mind.
I don't think you can buy this amp in the shops. When I listened to it, it had been sent to me for a 2-3 week trial by Laurie at Hailey Audio. Laurie was very accommodating and helpful and I'm grateful to him.(He can be contacted on
01992 442425.)The amp was auditioned against my Electro ECI-2 (reviewed elsewhere) Source was a Rega Planet CD (also reviewed under CD players) and speakers were DIY units using Audax Carbon fibre drivers. Speaker cable was Cable Talk 3 and interconnect was Chord Chrysalis (both since replaced by Naim and Maplin DIY cables respectively)
I thought that this was a bloody good amp but definately to taste, so a well-deserved 4 stars

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Overall Rating:5
Submitted by WAL RILEY a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 12, 1999

Bottom Line:   
This is a heavyweight amp in more than one respect.The thing weighs in at 15 kilos, of which a third is attributable to the vast, finned heatsink that acts as a top plate.It needs this heatsink as well.When fully warmed up the amp runs like a three bar electric fire!It is seriously uncomfortable to leave your hand on it for more than a few seconds.This is reflected in it's power consumption which is over 600 watts to achieve it's 80 watt rated output,so a tpical class A then. If you had any preconceptions of how a class A should sound,then some of these will be turned on their head upon audition of this amp.Yes, the Magnum sounds warm and valvey and a little dry in the top end and it took me a while to realise that this could actually be an advantage with CD sources.However, occasionally it can sound a little airless but I prefer to think that the Magnum is only playing what is there in the first place- sort of like a speaker not sounding bassy except when there is bass in the music.This was proven whenever there is a prominent mix of cymbals in the program;they ring through,full-bodied and shimmering.(I have played drums for about 15 years now and Iknow EXACTLY what they should sound like!)
When it comes to playing rhythmns the class A is a world away from valves.In fact it's probably more Naim like in it's speed and enthusiasm and even managed to make my cheap Aiwa tape deck sound groovy. The amp has oodles of bass power and control coupled with broad tonal colours and gives vocals a real solidity and presence.It even managed to make my own Electrocompaniet ECI2 sound slow and a little anaemic(Is that how you spell it?!!)This a rare event as the Electro is a meaty little so and so but this amp has serious authority and welly and probably would have been my first choice if I hadn't already bought the ECI2.(Je ne regret rien however, as the Electro is still wonderful!)
If this review has got your interest ,the contact Laurie at Hailey Audio.(the phone No is in the back of various hi-fi mags)He's very accomodating in loaning you an amp for a few weeks on home trial and covers cost of delivery and collection(if you don't like the amp.)Me,I would have loved one but c'est la vie!By the way ,I auditioned the amp with a Rega Planet CD and DIY speakers using Audax carbon fibre drivers using Naim cable

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Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

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