VINCENT SV-238 Mk

TR27.04.2014

Integrated amplifiers

The piano had wonderful resonating quality through the Vincent. The key strokes, the pedalwork, the vibrating strings, everything was delineated and conveyed in natural way to my ears. The closely miked bass guitar was a showpiece of rhythmic thickness and warmth, whereas hi-hats shimmered in my room despite it was dark in it.

100% reference

Function and form

100%
Ease of use
65%
Sound
92%
Appearance

The SV-238 Mk works as an Class A amplifier up to 2x60W, then it switches to AB up to 2x200 W (into 8 ohms), 2x400 W (4 ohms) respectively. By this the Vincent combines the best of the two worlds. The trade off is that it draws 300 watts of power at idle.

There is a sizable 1500VA toroid transformer inside that has dual windings for each channel, 16 Sanken power transistors and big finned coolers that run quite hot during operation. More is hidden underneath as the SV-238 Mk has a two-floor architecture. Not visible there is another regimen of 16 Sankens. The SV-238 Mk supports two pairs of speakers which is usable in a bi-wiring set up only, as the user cannot switch between A and B speakers - the signal is present on the speaker terminals all the time.

Bass management

Weight
81
Slam
79
Articulation
76

The Vincent lets you hear the recorded ambience with ease and the recordings are thus conveyed with nice dimensionality. One would say that the SV-238 Mk is an ethereal amplfier but when the bass joins in it shows the beast inside. The bass of the Vincent is very controlled and tight and has slightly warm tonality. Comparing the Vincent to any Burmester amplifier shows a lack of articulation and depth but this would be true for any amp vs the Burmester. If one considers the Vincent's pricing level there is really nothing to complain about. Sometimes I wished for a bit more definition in lows, like with Patricia Barber where the bass was a bit loose, yet the slight ripeness contributed well to the vocals - Barry Gibb's falsetto was nicely complemented by the low end that lent vibrating quality to the voice.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
69
Air
73
Transparency
72

When moving higher in the frequency range the SV-238 Mk is  a very honest amplifier. It does not mask the sound by its own signature because there is none: what is on a disc is in the room. In result the SV-238 Mk will not help the lesser recordings shine. If your collection consists of poorly recorded pieces than do not expect nice sound - the Vincent is about high-fidelity however such the fidelity can be uncomfortable.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
67
Dynamics
71
Temporal resolution
69

The typical audiophile jazz numbers (read: vocal, double bass, piano, saxophone) are something that shines on most audio components. Still, when I focused on individual details, like a trumpet in Save Your Love for Me (Melissa Morgan), I appreciated lifelike sound that was full of delicate details. I swear I could feel the kinetic energy of the air coming out of the instrument's body.

Spatial resolution

Holography
80
Soundstage width
80
Soundstage depth
80

The Vincent SV-238 Mk is a well-built device that sounds much better than its price tag indicates. The savings should be seen somewhere - that's why the SV-238 Mk does not offer headphone connectivity neither it has a phono preamp. Should you are a headphone freak or a vinyl lover then a stand alone amplifiers will be necessary.

Price as reviewed:80 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Hifi studio MeLissa, Brno, tel. +420 777 041 313

Associated components

  • Sources: C.E.C. TL-51 XR, Primare CD32
  • Amplifiers: Primare I32, Accuphase E-260, Luxman L-505u
  • Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Virgo V, Velodyne SPL-1000 Ultra
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Krautwire Fractal, Homegrown Audio DNA a Van den Hul The Orchid, Audioquest CV-4, Nordost Purple Flare, Rapport a VDH The Revolution
  • Power conditioning: Isotek Multiway

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