AUDIO ANALOGUE Maestro Anniversary

TR16.11.2017

Integrated amplifiers

Maestro Anniversary looks absolutely stunning, can deliver 150W per channel, and sounds fabulous. Its heatsinks are a designer's wet dream and I could not resist to look under the hood of this integrated - the layout is neat and clean as one can expect at its price tag. It is not an inexpensive integrated amplifier yet the whole package is quite atractive for the money.

Function and form

97%
Ease of use
77%
Sound
96%
Appearance

The internal architecture of the Maestro Anniversary - which celebrates 20 years of Audio Analogue - is fully balanced way up to the solid copper speaker terminals (that use the 'hurricane' nuts as we know them from Mark Levinson amplifiers). The 2x150 watts of the output power doubles to 2x300 watts into 4 ohm loads.

The Maestro Anniversary is an "real hifi" amplifier - no built in streamings, DACs and other digital paraphernalia - just 5 solid analog inputs (2x XLR, 3x RCA) and a huge rotary volume knob on its fascia. The volume control is the only digital thing in the Maestro Anniversary - it can be preset to suit your volume control habits and it also switches the inputs. The row of tiny LEDs to the left of the volume knob shows the volume level - they may be a little less intense, in my opinion. The minimalism supports what we expect from an integrated amplifier - to get as pure sound as possible.

 

Bass management

Weight
83
Slam
80
Articulation
77

The Maestro Anniversary builds is sound on richness and density. This does not mean it is a slow amplifier, yet when you compare it with some other integrateds - like Primare I32 - it may sound perhaps too rich to some ears. It depends on your musical taste - if you love orchestrated music like soundtracks or classical music, look no further. However, I loved it also when playing Prodigy (The Fat of the Land) - the rhythmic drive of Firestarter with its wailing synths was pondering and relentless through the Audio Analogue.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
79
Air
75
Transparency
77

The sound of the Audio Analogue Maestro Anniversary is impeccable on ears - I could really enjoy listening to  terrific double-CD of Isabelle Faust and Il Giardino Armonico (Mozart, Violin Concertos, Harmonia Mundi). The sound was transparent and pristine, with very tangible images of the ensemble and vivid colours. The Meastro Anniversary is definitely not analytic, rather it conveys extraordinary smoothness and liquidity that - combined with the aforementioned richness and density - makes the sound luxurious, not unlike Accuphase amplifiers.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
78
Dynamics
84
Temporal resolution
84

The ultra deep smoothness and liquidity means that the colour hues are shifted towards warmth. Although the amp may look technical and laser-cut from outside, its sound acknowledges its Italian origins. It is more red wine than vodka, more Tuscany than Finland. Such a balance is welcome as there is no listener's fatigue and I could virtually enjoy the music for hours and hours, no matter how loud I played it.

Spatial resolution

Holography
88
Soundstage width
88
Soundstage depth
89

My experience says that the warmer tonal balance usually projects deeper and more spatious soundstage and this gut feeling proved correct. Maestro Anniversary has superb imaging and the technically gifted players of Il Giardino Armonico remained locked in their relative positions no matter which direction I turned the volume knob. The amp had no issue to sort out instrumentation and voices in Rutter's Requiem as well as it was driving funky rhythms of George Michael's Faith - considering that one needs not more than 15W for reasonably loud sound at home, the power reserve of the Analogue Maestro supported quick and punchy execution of dynamic peaks.

The performance of the Maestro Anniversary is among the best I have heard this year. 

Price as reviewed:180 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Mareka Audio, Horoměřice, +420 603 259 667

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

Associated components

  • Sources: Audio Analogue Maestro Rev. 2.0 CD, C.E.C. TL-51XR
  • Loudpeakers: Revel Ultima Studio2
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Kubala-Sosna Emotion
  • Power conditioning: IsoTek Titan, Blackwater Continuum NST2

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AUDIO ANALOGUE Maestro Anniversary

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

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