ACCUPHASE E-560

MJ02.12.2011

Integrated amplifiers

Right after first few minutes of listening a listener forms his opinion on the Accuphase. As listening progresses, this initial opinion usually proves to be wrong. The reason is that there is nothing spectacular in Accuphase's house sound - no sparkling highs, no hyperdetail, the soundstage is just 'normal', the bass does not nail you to the floor. Quite opposite - the sound is understated, softly dense and smooth. So, what is the point? After couple of hours the amplifier grows on you and then you find yourself thinking whether you can afford it.

100% reference

Function and form

95%
Ease of use
82%
Sound
100%
Appearance

The Accuphase E-560 integrated is an evolutionary change over the predecessor, the excellent E-550. Unlike the E550, the E-560 meters are complemented with red numerical segments that show the actual volume level, and the tape-loop input was replaced by a regular RCA input.

The E-560's front panel is dominated by two knobs that are controlling the volume and switching inputs. The sizable VU meters can be switched off with a button that is cleverly hidden behind a subpanel below the meters. The subpanel also hides tone controls (frequencies are centered at 300Hz and 3kHz and allow for +/- 10dB adjustment) , loudness compensation, speaker terminal switch, MM/MC switch (the amplifier features also an excellent phono preamp) and more.

Bass management

Weight
88
Slam
85
Articulation
82

The biggest progress (comparing to the E-550) was made in lows. The acoustic bass of John Hubert (Chirsty Baron, Steppin´) was beautifully balanced in terms of weight and articulation. The bass playing was astonishing also in textures - one could feel the fat strings vibrating in the room, as if the player was really standing between speakers. Also synthesized Swiss music (Yello, The Eye, Warner/Motor) had unlimited dynamics, punch and tight rhythm that drove the VU indicators into red fields on the displays. Even when I listened really loud the sound attributes never changed - the sound remained superbly controlled and resolved.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
89
Air
90
Transparency
89

The E-560 is also a bit more transparent and alive than its predecessor. It results into more breathing soundstage and I could also better hear into microevents like palms softly hitting the skin of tabla.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
92
Dynamics
87
Temporal resolution
87

The tonality and colour palletes are where Accuphase tradtionally excels. The sound is harmonically rich and dense, without sacrificing resolution and with no coloration. Especially well recorded classical pieces - like Habanera of Emmanuel Chabrier on Reference Recordings (Eiji Oue, Minnesota Orchestra) - are the right food for the E-560. The subtle shadings of cellos filled the air with the scent of rosin and wood and the listener feels a whiff of moving celloists jackets. The beautiful high pitched tone of a triangle was crystallic with amazingly long decay that could be traced until the faintest sound was heard on the orchestra background. Still, everything is naturally integrated in the Accuphase's sound and consequently very decent. Make a head to head comparison with any other commercial amplifier and suddenly the definition of "wrong" becomes much clearer to you.

Spatial resolution

Holography
90
Soundstage width
91
Soundstage depth
91

Accuphase does not favour to compromise so the amplifier is built with a meticulous attention to detail. The parts are carefully selected to macth strict tolerances and the craftsmanship is out of this world. 

The E-560 features a further refined AAVA volume control and uses the latest circuit topology. AAVA adjusts the listening volume by means of 16 weighted V-I converter amplifiers which are controlled by current switches. The number of possible volume steps set by the combination of these converter amplifiers is 2 to the power of 16 = 65,536. As AAVA does not introduce a change inimpedance at any volume setting, there is no deterioration of S/N ratio, and frequency response remains totally uniformacross the audio band.

The output stage is arranged around high-power MOS-FET devices (driven exclusively in Class A) arranged in a triple parallel push-pull configuration per channel. MOS-FETs have excellent frequency response and high input impedance which reduces the load on the preceding driver stage. They also have perfect thermal stability. The preamplifier stage has the instrumentation amplifier topology, something that was tested in the Accuphase's A-65 flagship. 

The E-560 is rated 2x30W into 8 ohms (Accuphase rates continuous power, not peak power). The power doubles into 4 ohms. The Class A topology means that even if you are not playing the amp draws 170W from the wall.

Price as reviewed:270 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Nisel SK, Bratislava, tel. +421 905 203 078

Associated components

  • Sources: Luxman D-05 SACD, Audio Analogue Maestro Rev. 2.0 CD
  • Amplifiers: Accuphase E-560,  Accuphase E-450, Luxman L-590AX
  • Loudspeakers: Dynaudio Confidence C1, Xavian Giulia, Xavian Preludio
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Krautwire Fractal, Homegrown Audio DNA
  • Power conditioning: Vincent Power, Black Rhodium Avenger DCT++

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