NAGRA Classic INT

PW27.03.2017

Integrated amplifiers

Typical Swiss Nagra's precision lurks around every corner of this integrated amplifier; it looks like a laboratory instrument rather than an amp, in fact. Fortunately its sound is not lab-like. The Nagra offers natural and non-fatiguing presentation that would be great if there was not for a bit a closed-in character.

Function and form

90%
Ease of use
81%
Sound
100%
Appearance

The Nagra Classic integrated amp provides 2x100 watts (into 8 ohms) of power), the output into 4 ohms not specified.

It is discriminating towards high end applications by providing only one XLR input, with another 4 RCA inputs. I would prefer something like 3/3 instead. To compensate this, the Nagra offers the possibility to adjust each input's sensitivity to match a source’s output level, plus inputs-naming option.

The preamp and power amp sections are strictly separated so you actually buy two units in one single chassis. The craftsmanship is first rate, with a strong resemblance to vintage Nagra and all the features that we like about Nagra: a VU modulometer, fantastic retro toggle switches and a precise selection knob.  The gain is switchable between 0dB and 12dB.

The Nagra Classic INT uses Cardas CPBP speaker binding posts with rhodium plated terminals; a single knob tightens both spades of the speaker cable at the same time, so it requires a bit more skills to keep the lugs in place while tightening them. Using bananas is possible but not recommended.

Bass management

Weight
90
Slam
82
Articulation
78

The bass is dosed with careful balance. Most of the listening time I could not really hear it, but when the recording asked for it, it was earthshaking. Despite its weight and size it was a bit less contoured -at the Classic INT's price I would expect more control.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
87
Air
87
Transparency
87

It should not be surprising to me that the Nagra Classic INT provides a kind of studio monitoring experience. The sound had very even balance, with no apparent peaks or dips across the frequency range. This amplifier was not built for the hunters of hyperrealism, it was built for music lovers and (perhaps) all for those who need a tool for home studio monitoring.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
88
Dynamics
86
Temporal resolution
87

I liked the Nagra's overall tonality, just perhaps it was less vivid and colourful than I was used to. The amplifier could not 'unleash' and provide me with an adrenaline rush, as if it was looking around if parents are watching. Perhaps this was due to very slightly compressed microdynamics; a symphonic orchestra could provide me with big macrodynamic contrasts but, when a soloist started to sing, I missed subtler microtextures. Also Sara K in Play on Words was like a documentary photography rather than a vivid image full of colours. 

Spatial resolution

Holography
85
Soundstage width
91
Soundstage depth
85

The Nagra projected a forward soundstage with slightly compressed depth of image. Laterally the soundstage was laid out carefully and with a lot of ambiance between players, yet the limited depth could not draw holographic images in front of me. I felt like an audio engineer listening to the music through monitoring system that preferred the tonal balance and precise panning to the illusory depth. Thus I missed a smidgen higher emotional connection.

Price as reviewed:399 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

KAS Audio, Praha, tel. +420 602 406 436

Associated components

  • Sources: Nagra CDP, Bryston BDS-1
  • Amplifiers: Nagra Melody, Nagra VPA, Westended Audio Monaco
  • Loudspeakers: Wilson Audio Alexia, Focal Sopra No.1, Avantgarde Acoustic Uno Fino
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Siltech Classic Anniversary 550L a 550i

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