January 17, 2017
Audio Analogue New Maestro Anniversary Zero Feedback Integrated Amplifier Makes Bristol Debut
Some birthdays are so good, you just have to keep on celebrating… a short while back, Italian brand Audio Analogue marked its twentieth anniversary with a new, contemporary edition of the company’s first ever product, the Puccini amplifier. Now, the company has given another of its much-loved classics the ‘Anniversary’ treatment: the once-flagship Maestro integrated amp.
The original Maestro was created in 2001, a hulk of an amp at 52kg and with huge power reserves. But there was nothing hulking about its sound. A superbly balanced combination of power, speed and control delivered agile and articulate dynamics with outstanding tonal balance.
The new ‘Anniversary’ edition is a zero feedback design in which all stages are without global feedback. It features an amplification chain that’s fully balanced from input to the output stage, only becoming unbalanced to connect to the speakers.
What’s more, the Maestro Anniversary extends its predecessor’s ‘dual-mono’ design further to include the power supply: left and right channels not only have their own separate grounds but also their own dedicated 600 watt mains transformers. The separate output stages use four pairs of power transistors per channel, enabling the amp to deliver 150 watts into 8 ohms, rising to a whopping 500 watts into 2 ohms – easily enough to drive the most challenging of loudspeakers.
The amp’s circuitry is highly refined, with as much attention having been given to the selection of materials as to its design. Note the military-standard resistors, custom-made polypropylene audio grade capacitors, 7N OCC copper internal wiring and pure copper output connectors. At the same time, the routing of the PCB was carefully studied to optimize the signal paths and to maintain the symmetry of the stages, while the use of heavy pure copper tracks (double the standard thickness) enables improved power delivery.
As with the power amp’s circuits, the preamplifier is also fully ‘dual-mono’. Immediately behind the input connectors, switching relays route the signal to a discrete components buffer to isolate the amplifier from the source.
Each of the Maestro Anniversary’s three key elements - power supply, preamplifier and power amp - is physically housed on three separate boards which, to all intents and purposes, is akin to having three independent components.
All in all, the new Maestro Anniversary is a unique amplifier and a fine addition to the Audio Analogue range. Its extraordinary driving skills are coupled with a refined musicality that is not commonly found in such a muscular amp. Without doubt, another Anniversary well worth celebrating.