ACCUPHASE E-270

MJ24.03.2018

Integrated amplifiers

It is one of those rare amplifiers that is designed and built entirely in Japan, with absolute focus on perfection. Accuphase should establish its own university to train the rest of the world in how to design ergonomic devices and manufacture them. By buying an Accuphase one buys a permanent value, an amp that is made to work for decades rather than years.

Function and form

98%
Ease of use
66%
Sound
100%
Appearance

I purchased my first Accuphase amplifier in 1997. The integrated E-210A was with me for 12 years before it moved on. Accuphase upgrades its products in 3-years intervals and the since then five improved amps have been born: E-211 (that re-introduced VU meters on its faceplate), E-212, E-213, E-250 and E-260 (that acquired volume display from Accuphase’s top models). Each of those was an evolutionary small but consistent step up in sound.

Since we´ve reviewed number of Accuphase amplifiers over past few years and the design principles recur I suggest reader to check the other reviews. The E-270 delivers 2x120W into 4 ohms, 2x90W into 8 ohms respectively, in Class AB. It is designed around MOSFET devices, applies current feedback and features now famous Accuphase’s proprietary AAVA lossless volume control that provides analogue feel and clarity to signal attanuation. I believe that the AAVA and similar Luxman’s LECUA system are the finest volume controls in the market today.

The Accuphase E-270 features all its functions on both its fascia and a remote controller. The preamp and power amp sections can be separated, two pairs of speakers can be connected, the amp facilitates bi-amping, the sound can be finetuned via smooth tone controls ( +/-10dB) or quickly attenuated (-20dB) if needed. I applaud to the persistence of Accuphase to implement MONO button which is irreplaceable if you need to set up speakers in a listening room or experiment with home acoustics. The E-270 also features the vintage option of tape monitoring, though today we witness a renaissance of tape recorders so it may be a visionary feature in the end.

Bass management

Weight
82
Slam
77
Articulation
74

The E-270 improves over predecessors with its damping factor of 400 that projects nicely into better control of speakers. Still, it is an Accuphase so do not expect that Rolls-Royce becomes Lamborghini overnight. Japanese love classical music, they are polite, well-mannered and modest – so is the E-270. With bass it exhibits warmth and roundness to its tone – for example, the bass guitar is less explosive and more rhythm instrument that gives solid foundation to tracks, timpani are clearly played by felt-tipped drumsticks rather than by iron hammers like I use to hear from less talented muscular integrateds. When a cellist explores low registers the sound sends shivers down my spine. When Batman chases its opponent the effects are less jaw-dropping then I prefer. I wish that the E-270 was more articulate and punchy like Accuphase’s A-70 is, but here we are in a different pricing range.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
73
Air
70
Transparency
70

The E-270 appreciates a 30-minute warm-up before it sounds its best. Ideally this warm-up should be realized with music playing. The other option is to leave the amp powered on permanently but be warned that it takes some juice at idle so the former option is friendlier to your bank account. The difference between the cold and warmed-up E-270 was clearly demonstrated by listening to Forest Runners (David Arkenstone, Citizen of the World, Windham Hill) – the sound became more open and relaxed – as well as by energic strokes of Nicola Benedetti’s bow (Italia, Decca) that became texturally richer and better focused in soundstage.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
82
Dynamics
71
Temporal resolution
73

The art of the E-270 evolves from beautiful midrange so it is no surprise that voices were a real treat throught the amplifier. Multilayered vocals of Flying Pickets (Big Mouth, Inak) were exquisitely smooth and reasonably dynamic, even though a bit understated. The E-270 prefers beauty to neutrality and the sound is washed in subtle sweetness. Still, this type of tonality suits perfectly orchestral compositions and well as new age instrumentation – it is not unlike taking a bath in sound.

Spatial resolution

Holography
75
Soundstage width
82
Soundstage depth
85

The Accuphase E-270 features a very good headphone amplifier but it lacks both a phono stage and digital inputs in its standard version. This issue can be solved by purchasing add-on option boards that lock into a bay at the amp´s rear panel. Accuphase offers three boards for the E-270: digital (coaxial, optical and USB inputs), phono (MM, MC) and line (additional RCA inputs). Only one board at a time can be used, however. Neither thrifty digital audiophiles nor vinyl lovers are the target group for the E-270 apparently – Accuphase clearly prefers that dedicated separates (Accuphase´s phono preamp and DAC) are added to the system which requires sufficient funds.
The E-270 is an entry-level amp from Accuphase and it gives you a hint of their house sound. Unfortunately it is just a hint, to have the full taste one needs to look in upper shelves of Accuphase´s catalogue.

Price as reviewed:129 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

CZ: Perfect Sound Group, Praha, tel. +420 722 960 690

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

Associated components

  • Sources: Vincent CD-S6, Vincent DAC-1, Accuphase DP-720, Accuphase DG-58, Bluesound Node 2
  • Amplifiers: Vincent SV-700 hybrid amplifier, TAD M2500-Mk2
  • Loudspeakers: TAD Evolution One, Aurum Cantus V8F, Spendor Classic 1/2
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Audioquest Redwood, Audioquest Wild, Vincent Premium, QED Supremus
  • Power conditioning: Nordost Valhalla, Block Audio Snakeblock, Shunyata Research Denali, Synergistic Research Atmosphere Level 2 PowerCell, Pangea AC-9Mk, Pangea AC-14, Vincent PF-1

Gallery

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It is one of those rare amplifiers that is designed and built entirely in Japan, with absolute focus on perfection. Accuphase should establish its own university to train the rest of the world in how to design ergonomic devices and ...

Recommended resellers

CZ: Perfect Sound Group, Praha, tel. +420 722 960 690

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

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