Symfonia Opus 10 Amplifiers

Opus 10

100 WPC Power Amplifier

User Reviews (1)

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Todd Krieger   an Audiophile [Aug 27, 1999]

I have had the opportunity to audition the Australian-made Symfonia Opus 10 amplifier these past two months. Distributor Vincent Testa had this unit floating about the United States, yet like many high-quality amps out there, it still had considerable "break-in" to go through, before its true personality surfaced.
After having some lofty amps in my main system, both tube and solid-state, I figured this solid-state piece would be somewhat of a "dark horse" in my quest for a satisfying amplifier. But after a couple weeks, the potential I heard from this amp quenched any doubts. The amp physically reminds me a lot like the Rowland Research Model 1, rather compact in size, a thick gray front faceplate, and excellent build quality. An unusual feature is the power switch is *under* the unit. (I guess because the amp is from Down Under...) Although the switch is illuminated when switched on, one must either see light reflecting from the surface of where the amp is place to tell that it's turned on.

Now to the sound. Now there is no such thing as a perfect amplifier, but the Symfonia Opus 10 may be as devoid of the numerous flaws often associated with tube and solid-state amplifiers as any I've ever heard. In a word, there is very little electronic character to the sound. With a good recording and associated equipment, the lack of electronic character will often make one play the system louder than he would otherwise do, and I often don't realize how loud the system is playing. Unlike most power amps, throughout its dynamic envelope, the Opus 10 seems to behave more like a "small signal" amp, which people often associate with tube amps and is often why they think tube amps have more perceived power. And I do get that impression with this solid-state piece. Only at extreme volume do I start to hear strain, and since it lacks strain at relatively high power, it's very easy to pick up when this amp starts to clip, where that threshold of often masked by increased distortion products at higher power in other fine amps. What this translates into is the most transparent and dynamically effortless amplifier I've ever had the pleasure of auditioning, and an amp which brings orchestral works closer to the live performance than any other I've tried. (Note due to its exceptional properties, power cords and associated equipment become *very* critical in attaining such performance. This is *not* a forgiving amplifier.)

In playing the Grammy-winning Boulez/Cleveland/Deutche Grammophon Debussy "La Mer" (439 896-2), this quality is brought to its zenith. DG recordings tend to be "ruthless" in regard to bringing out sonic flaws in solid-state electronics, but with the Symphonia amp, the recording has a hair-raisingly palpable 3-D stage, which stays intact through wide dynamic swings (rare for digital, BTW), with sweet sparkles from triangles and cymbals, a sense of individual instruments in the strings, and gut-wrenching bass drum, not to mention the natural bite of the brass, something *very* few solid-state amps get right. Vocals, piano, and saxophone have a lifelike palpability which is often associated with qualities from tubes as well. Call it "truth of timbre" if you will. Fed from a modified Promethean CD director passive stage, the resolution, microdynamics, ability to convey complex passages, and especially the lack of grain or hardness in the top will make even the most finicky tube-o-phile take notice.

I will buy this amplifier. The Symfonia Opus 10 may be one of the three or four best overall power amplifiers on the market. No North American distributor, but there is a website, and Vincent Testa will be happy to give one an audition, albeit shipped from Australia.

If I could give this product six speakers, I would. But the most I can give is five. For the first time, I have absolutely no interest in trying other amplifiers, except for the fun of comparison.

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