AESTHETIX AUDIO Mimas

PW09.03.2020

Integrated amplifiers

It has been two years since I auditioned Aesthetix Audio Atlas power amplifier and Calypso preamplifier combo in a studio and I was enthralled. The sound was powerful, contoured and effortless no matter what I listened to, unfortunately I was not able to organize a loan back then as the combo was quickly sold to a new owner. So with the new Aesthetix Mimas integrated amplifier I immediately jumped on the opportunity of having it in my resident system for a week. And I am glad I did so.

100% reference

Function and form

100%
Ease of use
92%
Sound
97%
Appearance

In fact the Aesthetix Mimas is a kind of one-box descendant of the Calypso and the Atlas. From the Calypso preamplifier it borrows metal film resistor discrete volume control (88 steps by 1dB) and vacuum tube preamplifier stage with 1x 6DJ8 (6922) per channel in a fully balanced configuration, with the tubes matched to 0.1dB.

The output section comes from the Atlas. It is based on fully discrete (no integrated circuits) zero feedback design with FET input devices and Bipolar output devices, operating in Class AB, and provides 150W into 8 ohms, 280W into 4 ohms respectively.

The power supply to the Aesthetix Mimas is realized by 7 (!) separate power supplies that, in balanced configuration, feed the power amplifier stage, the vacuum tube stage with, a tube heater circuit and the input section.

The Mimas is neither particularly heavy (20kg) nor it features any exotic building materials. Suffice to say that everything is well designed including the chunky backlit remote which I initially found slightly less intuitive. My intuition also did not tell me that I can press on the left or right side of the aluminum faceplate to increase and decrease volume instead using (here missing) a knob – I have never experienced anything like this before. In the set-up menu of the amplifier it is possible to activate or bypass inputs, name them, set maximum volume or adjust display’s brightness.  With the optional module installed (see below) further settings are enabled, like cartridge load and gain.

Bass management

Weight
93
Slam
93
Articulation
91

After 2 hours of continuous listening the Aesthetix Mimas ran quite hot – if you want to put it in a rack make sure that it sits on top and the room is well ventilated. The hot was its bass performance, too. The bass was both deep and fast which means good control over speakers. The Mimas’ hybrid design provided me with a nice balance of the bottom bloom and firm contours, with just a touch less inner resolution, textures if you want. This resulted in the sound that was easy to follow and a fun to listen to, not unlike the best McIntosh amplifiers. The fundamental low-end and lower midrange was saturated and tube-like rich, and the deep cello voice in Wind Blowing Gently (Usher sampler track of an artist whose name I can’t decipher from Taiwanese) was beautifully portrayed on backdrop, sweet and sound.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
89
Air
88
Transparency
89

The overall resolution is very good as expected from a high-end amplifier, with just a touch of rounding on transients and aforementioned smoothening of the textures. In result a bow on the cello was fluid rather than raspy, like from the perspective of auditorium rather than a close-up microphone. This softening (or perhaps I should call it ‘vinylizing’) of the program material was very attractive and enabled long listening sessions. The treble were crisp but never aggressive and the Aesthetix Mimas was able to illuminate the hall’s ambience in orchestral recording with ease. Yet again, it was a bit different way that I am used to. With good recordings I could sense the bloom in the concert hall, how the sound mass was reflected from far away walls, when the symphonic climaxes abruptly stopped. However, with solo instruments, like with Orchestrio Zurich’s Mussorgsky on Accuphase SACD sampler there was less of the instrumental ‘exhaling’ and the whole atmosphere sounded darker and warmer. I account this may be due to slightly compromised signal-to-noise ratio of the Aesthetix Mimas.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
88
Dynamics
92
Temporal resolution
91

The important message to the readers of this review is: all the above is nit-picking that evaluates the Mimas against the best amplifiers I heard. When I stay in 10k€ category then I can’t find a fault with this Aesthetix. On top of that, this amp’s imaging capabilities were top-notch. I believe it has something to do with the preamplifying vacuum tube stage – the soundstage was generous and with its tangibility it stayed on the tips of my fingers. Images were lifelike and holographic as if my speakers had become omnipolar. This made me reach for requiems and other choir recordings and stayed immersed for hours.

Spatial resolution

Holography
93
Soundstage width
92
Soundstage depth
93

The connectivity options of the Aesthetix Mimas are rather high, especially with all the optional modules installed which is how my review sample was equipped. There are 5 RCA and 5 XLR inputs (by-passable for home cinema), a headphone output (which can be upgraded for a better one), and a preamplifier output (again on both RCA and XLR), all these in the standard version. The optional modules add  MM/MC phono stage and/or DAC paraphernalia: 2x coaxial, 2x optical and 1x USB-B,  that manage 32KHz, 44.1KHz, 48KHz, 88.2KHz, 96KHz, 176.4KHz, 192KHz, 352.8KHz (USB only) and 384KHz (USB only) sampling rates at 16, 20, 24 bit. DSD64 is available on SPDIF and USB and DSD128 only on USB.

The Aesthetix Mimas is a reasonably priced amplifier for all who are looking for all-in-one type of integrated that makes no excuses. I did not have any problem to drive the impedance of my rather sensitive Wilson Audio Sasha W/P speaker in large room at high listening volumes, however, certain cautiousness is recommended for less sensitive speaker in big spaces as the Mimas power rating may become bottleneck in dynamic transient peaks, though I am not sure if this can ever really happen, looking at the lab report of HiFi News & Records that measured max power output of 230W/385W into 8/4 ohms. Then I am conquered and can just declare the Aesthetix Atlas is among the best integrated amplifiers I have ever heard in this price range.

Price as reviewed:210 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Hanzel Audio, Komárno, +421 905 400 770

Associated components

  • Sources: CD/SACD/DVD-A Linn Unidisk 1.1, TW-Acustic Raven One with Graham Phantom tonearm and Transfiguration Orpheus cartridge
  • Amplifiers: Spectral DMA-150, phono Gruensch Reference Phonostage MCS
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: MIT MA, MIT MA-X XLR, MIT V2.1 Oracle, Stealth Audio Hyperphono
  • Loudspeakers: Wilson Audio Sasha W/P
  • Power conditioning: Furutech Daytona, Oyaide, Nordost Valhalla V2

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