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Van Medevoort MA260 integrated amplifier

20.05.2013..
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Audioart - the company producing Van Medevoort’s brand - was founded in 1985 in Holland by Ad Van Medevoort.

All its products are designed and entirely made in Holland with high quality components and competitive prices.

Van Medevoort manufactures consumer systems and pro devices. The lines are: standard, Audioart 350, Audioart 460 and Q State of the Art.

Very interesting are the amplifiers that use the class-D modules based on UcD that are very known among DIYers for the good quality/price ratio.

 

The Van Medevoort MA260, object of this review, is a 50 watts integrated amplifier with an integrated 24 bit/192 kHz D7A converter. Its price is 1,590.00 Euro.

The look and the weight suggest immediately an idea of solidity.

The front panel is in aluminum and, besides the input selectors, the volume knob and the power switch, there is also the sensor for the remote control.

The digital inputs are a USB port, two coaxial 24 bit/192 kHz inputs and two 24 bit/96 kHz optical ones selectable through a small switch button.

The USB ports accept input signals up to 16 bit/48 kHz and use an isochronal protocol, which takes the entire band of the USB channel in order to avoid any data loss and to reduce the latency at its minimum.

Two are the analogue inputs and both gold plated. Unfortunately, there is no phono input, but considering that the aim of this amp is to be a competitive product, I can understand that.

Furthermore, there is an IEC socket and a pre-amplification output to connect, ad example, a subwoofer.

 

Inside an ordinate printed circuit, entirely designed by Ad Van Medevoort himself.

The digital section uses Texas Instruments receivers and Burr Brown converters.

What intrigues me is the functioning of the dynamic class-A employed by the output stage of this device.

Through the Italian importer, I have found out that this system let the output stage to be polarized on the strength of the input signal. Without the input signal, the polarization reduces itself to avoid energetic wastes. Instead, with the signal, the polarization varies depending on the intensity of the signal trying to simulate the real class-A: all that to exploit the less possible the output stages and to maintain constant the operational temperature.

Very good is the power supply stage, which stands out for the huge toroidal transformers.

I made the listening test in my room with the following system: DIY audio PC with M-audio 410 and M-audio 610 sound cards, MacBook used via USB output, Cec 3300 CD player, Mit signal cables, Hidiamond main cables, DIY power, coaxial and USB cables. JBL L50 loudspeakers, a DIY three-way speaker system with Scan-Speak drivers of the Revelator series.

After thirty minutes, the first feeling of roughness disappears and the character of the amp starts to delineate.

If I had to use just one word, I would say "neutral".

The best synergy with this amp is the audio PC, good the performance of the MacBook via USB but not at the same level of the first one.

 

The first track I play is Molly on the Shore performed by the Dallas Wind Symphony.

This track has a disarming dynamics and the MA260 underlines immediately the great job made by the power supply, which gives in a sudden way all the current necessary to catch the strong dynamic variations. Unfortunately, the fifty watts sometimes are not enough to produce the sound message realistically.

The next piece is La canzone di Marinella from the album Mi innamoravo di tutto performed by Mina and De André.

With this track, I receive confirmations and some doubts arise.

Mina's voice and her "s" is at the same time extended and refined, De André's voice is warm and fluid, the position of the two singers and of the instruments is well proportioned, but what puzzles me is the damping of the woofers.

The low range is good for articulation, detail and depth, but improvable under this parameter. The amplifier, at least on paper, states an acceptable damping factor and I promise to test it later with another DAC.

A male voice, Give it up love by Mighty Sam Mclain. Great record, I suggest you to listen to it. Here a pleasant surprise in the spatial separation between the instruments and the low range.

The warm, bodied and powerful voice of the Afro-American performer has an impeccable precision, but what has really struck me is the playback of the Hammond organ: up to the last harmonic note without being dominate by other instruments.

 

In the other listening test, I concentrate mostly on tone colour and image.

I consider the tone colour a paramount element to evaluate a Hi-Fi product and the Medevoort behaves well.

With the high-res Rossini's L’italiana in Algeri, a track with a good detail and many orchestra instruments, the test is beyond my expectations!

The violins are sometimes strident as they are, the clarinet and the piccolo are coherent, although some air is missing, while the violoncellos give back their body entirely but suffer a small reinforcement in the mid-low range.

The image is appreciable since the MA260 keeps the right proportion of the instruments and a good separation of the sound planes.

 

Another test is with another DAC, the Schiit Bifrost just to make a comparison between the internal DAC of the Van Medevoort and another one with a different setting but of a similar price.

With the Bifrost the low range dries a lot and is more enjoyable. The detail increases, mostly in the high range, but after a couple of minutes I connect again the integrated DAC, since the general emission seems to me more balanced and the match with my audio PC gives a more musical sound.

 

All considered, I suggest this machine to whom needs a versatile device, has little room and can be used by a partner who connects his/her own mp3 without too many complications.

It is very easy to use, has many possibilities and you do not have to buy the cables. The Van Medevoort MA260 makes its work at best. Faults? Well, maybe not everyone likes this solution of DAC and amp together preferring to assemble his system by himself.

Finally, the price is adequate and it offers everything we need, phono input excluded. Furthermore, the manufacturer's choice of only one European pricelist is appreciable.

 

 

Official technical specifications:

Input 1: USB - 16bit/48kHz

Input 2 + 3: SPDif RCA – 24bit/192kHz

Input 3 + 4: SPDif Toslink optical - 24bit/96kHz

Input 5 + 6: analog line level - 50kOhms

Output Tape: analog source signal

Output Pre: analog line level variable

Channel separation: 100dB/1.5Hz -70kHz

Music power: > 2x70W at 8Ohms – 100W at 4Ohms

Power RMS: > 2x50W at 8Ohms

Distortion: 0.004%/1.5Hz -70kHz

Power bandwidth: 1.5Hz - 70kHz

Damping factor: 800

Signal / noise ratio: >100dB

Loudspeaker impedance: min. 2Ohms

Power supply: 230V/50Hz

Dissipated power: stb/min.7/17W, max.175W

Casing: steel

Weight: 10 kg

Dimensions (incl. feet): 434x83x410mm (WxHxD)

Finish casing: black (satin)

Front plate: silver

Official Italian dealer: to AudioMondo website

Official current price in Italy: 1,590.00 EUR

Associated equipment: to Francesco Taddei's system

 

 
by Francesco Taddei
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