Audio Refinement The Complete Integrated Amplifiers

Audio Refinement The Complete Integrated Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

Integrated Amp

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 58  
[Feb 08, 2013]
Mete
Audio Enthusiast

If anyone has Triangle Speakers and who is searching an affordabla amplifier, try the Audio Refinement Complete or Alpha and see how the bass is responding to 50W power. it is unbelievable! i compare the AR with exposure 2010S which has the power of 75W but AR has a great bass control and very balanced with my Triangle Celius 202! that's it :)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 14, 2004]
amperidian
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

dynamic range, soundstage, tonality, very low distortion, musical, no clinical/analytical bias, its just simply a pleasure for those with small budgets who love audiophile entry-level sound

Weakness:

it runs warmer than recommended with more difficult to drive spealers, hence this matching should be avoided. Supplied powercord takes a lot away from the true potential of this amp, get a GOOD one and you'll reap the rewards. I have mixed feelings about the remote operation when switching between CD player and amp ( I wish colour switched from yellow to blue instead of green, which from a distance appears yellow sometimes)

I cannot say enough about this amp, so much has already been said, and it's true, this little integrated amp is a pleasure to listen to. Unlike others here, I find that 50W/channel is adequate to drive my Martin Logan Clarity speakers. I never need to go past 9 o'clock, but I have gone up to 12 without any noticeable distortion. Very clean power, great detail, awesome instrument placement, this little integre has to be heard with electrostatics to show what it's capable of. It puts out a sensational soundstage in its price range, slightly forward but I have yet to play around with placement to see if that changes. Ceramic feet upgrades did not produce an improvement here, except that it keeps it flat on surfaces (rubber feet wear on the side with more weight). Tonality is neutral. Aestheticaly, this integre looks better than most of its competition. Interestingly, I found bass slam does decrease after it breaks in, about 60 hours for mine. Not to say that it lacks it, it just softens up and becomes much more musical, the transition becomes more subtle. But in terms of quantity of bass, this amp rocks. Upgraded power cord made a BIG difference. Tonality improved (more neutral, with improved voice rendering) as well as bass (more rich) and the noise floor (hissing) is gone. I put an Audioquest NRG 5 powercord and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who has this amp. I use an NRG 2 on the CD player in the Complete series, again BIG improvement here in the low end punch. Nothing really bad to say about this player, I mean look at how much I paid for it. I've heard smoother sounding amps, richer, more detail at 16x the price, but in my opinion this gets to within 85% of the best out there for a fraction of the cost. I can't afford 100% quite yet, at 25 yrs of age I'm just glad I can enjoy what I have. It also changes the signal very little because it's got a passive preamp, therefore really this is 90% an amplifier ... hence the very high gain on the volume control. BTW, I drove a pair of PMC OB1's with the AR integre and I have to say that it did better than I expected. For those who know, the OB1's need about 200w/channel to really show their potential, but they did pretty good with this amp running at 12 o'clock. Sounded a little dark and reserved, but it's only rated at 50w/channel. Would not use it with the OB1's though. Good match with easy to drive speakers. And best of all it runs cool, unlike pure class A heaters. I like it. I will never part with it unless I can go up to the true YBA line 2 or 1 or PASSION ... much more money for 10-20% more performance, is it worth it? That depends on what you can afford! I gave it a 5 for value and a 5 overall, because it impressed me and I found it very affordable, but don't go selling your Linn amps to buy one of these because this is not better, it's just far better value for the money in my opinion for those with budgets. My system: AR Complete alpha CD player AR Complete integre Audioquest NRG-5 and NRG-2 powercords Monster Sigma Retro Gold interconnects and speaker cables Martin Logan Clarity speakers

Similar Products Used:

Bryston, Arcam, Linn, Rotel, Musical Fidelity + some highend amp whose name I can't remember but that sounded amazing, and of course the HT ones but they don't really compare in 2 channel to AR anyway

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 11, 2004]
espn
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Transparency, soundstage, smooth high, hi-end sense with modest investment, build quality & cosmetics.

Weakness:

Remote control is not included. Mid-range could be fuller (Need careful matching with speaker).

What I mention below is about the alpha version. Same as what advertised, the bass does improve with the new alpha version, while the original strengths such as transparency & natural soundstage are preserved. I even have to block the bass reflex port of my speaker to reduce the bass slam. Capturing the essence of YBA, the AR just conveys music very relaxingly with a touch of elegance. Neither exceptionally analytical nor lush, it just lets music flow and never sounds harsh. Though it's rated 50W only, the power should be adequate for most budget speaker with modest efficiency. Normally, I just needed to fill my 60 sq.ft listening space with 20% power. Finally, I must give credit to its design and quality, the 8mm brushed allunium face plate is just beautiful to resist.

Similar Products Used:

Audio Analogue Puccini, Arcam A65 plus

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 30, 2004]
AUDIOTOO
Casual Listener

Strength:

Great top to bottom performance at an affordable price.

Weakness:

None

Simply amazing for the price. Equals my previous integrated (Musical Fidelity A300) WITHOUT the occasional brightness. Comes very close to all the strengths of my Cary tube setup, but more detail and a more realistic soundstage.

Similar Products Used:

Current System: Audio Refinement Complete Cambridge Audio Azur 640A CDP Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Signature Loudspeakers

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 07, 2003]
DMolisher
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Very musical! Very detailed yet nonfatigueing sound. Excellent design, build quality, and cosmetics. Very quiet; no crosstalk, hum, or hiss.

Weakness:

Search me.

This is one sweet and musical integrated amp! I traded in my 10-day-old NAD C320BEE entry-level integrated for this old, scratched demo, paying nearly double the price, and I have no regrets. With The Complete, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the music. The NAD isn't a bad amp, but it just has a slightly artificial/dry sound by comparison --just not as musical, for lack of a more detailed description. Also the build quality and cosmetic appearance of The Complete far exceeds anything from NAD, save their expensive Silver Series products. The Complete really looks & feels like a high-end piece. Simply turning the volume knob brings me pleasure ;) Also, since this is for my bedroom system, where I listen at relatively low volumes, I noticed that the NAD didn't sound as even at low volumes, as if you had to turn it up to a minimum threshold before the balance even seemed correct. The Complete, however, seems very linear and smooth, all the way down. It also has nice, metal binding posts, not plastic ones. And there is no perceptible hiss or hum, even if you crank the volume all the way, which I thought was unusually good/quiet; similarly, I could hear NO crosstalk between inputs, even with the volume cranked. Highly recommended!

Similar Products Used:

NAD C320BEE, Chiro C-500, NAD T760; JMLab Chorus 706 speakers, NAD C541 CD, Kimber Hero & 4VS.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 08, 2003]
William
AudioPhile

Strength:

Sweet sound which makes listening a pleasure.

Weakness:

More power would have been nice.

Laid back but sweet and detailed. If you like more of a tube like sound this is the one to get.

Similar Products Used:

NAD 3020, Harmon Kardon, Creek, Classe, Parasound, Adcom, Audionics, Threshold.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 07, 2003]
CELESTAR
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Simply musical. Tonality is excellent. A

Weakness:

May be a little bit soft on tone. Not that impressive with certain instrumental playing. A little bit mellow. Extremely sensitive to placement

I think a lot of good thing had been said about this COMPLETE AMP and CD. I switch from Marantz PM14SA to this set. I still keep my B&W CDM-1NT Speaker. I don't know how to best capture my feeling with this new set. It is simply musical especially so with vocal recording. When I listen to Marantz, I always feel very tight whereas the AR set easily set me into a comfortable state of mind. Put it simply, it is just musical. The tremble and bass are both warm and enlightening. Musical notes seem to be flowing smoothly. I strongly recommend them to any people who are seeking to either upgrade or looking for a new set. I did some work by opening up the case and found numerous interesting modification. Things like adding mylar cloth on some components, and other strange but interesting modification. Since when can you get a product that the manufacturer took all the time to fine-tune their product. This set is made in Taiwan with proud. I am not sure about the ceramic foot because I did not find significant difference. This set is fun. You can hear difference just by placing them differently. Extremely adaptable. I am looking forward to purchase the tuner from the complete set.

Similar Products Used:

Marantz PM14SA Marantz CD17 B&W CDM-1NT

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 10, 2002]
jamiep
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Transparency, great presence, natural vocals, tight bass and chic build that.

Weakness:

Non at this price and not that it matters a lot but it would be a tremendously awesome proposition if its power rating were higher.

The 2 used amps which caught my attention in the showroom were the AR Complete and the Copland CSA8. I was thoroughly impressed with both in terms of internal and external build quality (notwithstanding the AR is manufactured in Taiwan) and have researched both thoroughly prior to the audition. Both have similar attributes and are in the same price bracket (if purchased new) with the Copland edging out the AR only in terms of power rating. The AR is, however, sold considerably cheaper used than the Copland and after some basic listening, I bought the AR. At home, I then put the AR through its paces. The 50W rated AR impressed from the word go and in my listening I progressed from simple vocal arrangements ranging from folks to jazz and the AR had no problems conveying the presence of the acoustic instruments and vocals with remarkable transparency. I was able to detect nuances in the music that I've not heard before in my Marantz (CD), Arcam (amp) and Tannoy setup. The flipside is that bad recordings are exposed for what it is. Presentation was not in the face or up front but instead rather laid back in a good sense of the word. Acoustic-Electric fusion music packs urgency and various film scores by John Williams, Hans Zimmer and Marc Shaiman conveyed the necessary emotions. No problems either with smaller ensembles and chamber music. Symphonic works may not pack as much wallop as the beefier Copland but the presentation doesn't detract from the music. I don't listen to much rock but whatever rock albums I have sound OK to me. At the end of the day my choice of the ceramic-footed AR (there's also the rubber footed version) over the Copland was justified simply because for its better value for money and it puts me that much closer to the realm of high-end audio. If you've been looking to upgrade your system from entry level, possess easy to drive speakers, and like clean and uncolored music buy this one with confidence.

Similar Products Used:

Arcam Alpha 6 Plus, Audiolab 8000S

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 21, 2002]
Stiv Bators
AudioPhile

Strength:

Price, build quality, sound

Weakness:

pop at turn on, remote is $80+

I was very surprised at this integrated amp. For a low price, you get a very nice taste of high end audio. For $1K, the YBA folks have a real winner on their hands.

Similar Products Used:

Creek, arcam

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 06, 2002]
Sylvain Song
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Dynamic, Neutral, High Performance/Price ratio

Weakness:

the soundstage is a bit narrow, but i think my speakers have some contribution to the soundstage too

Very smooth and detail mid-range sound, Combined with my 90db KEF RDM2 and Cary 303/100 CD player, it provides a fast, accurate and neutral sound, the dynamic range is good too. I find myself listen to classical music more often than before, and the pop songs have excellent performance.

Similar Products Used:

Bada Pearl 10a

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 58  

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