Italian hi-fi brand Audio Analogue recently marked its 20 years in business with a new ‘Anniversary’ edition of its very first product, the Puccini amplifier. Having earned a ‘Highly Commended’ badge from Hi-Fi News (in the June 2016 issue), the amp’s celebrations continue with further reviews from Gramophone and What Hi-Fi magazines.
“The Italian manufacturer has long done things in its own way, launching its simple Puccini amplifier when the rivals were feature-laden,” begins Andrew Everard in the July 2016 issue of Gramophone. It was this simplicity that, at the time, made the Puccini stand apart from the crowd. That and the sound: “clean and informative, and seemingly impossible to push into anything approaching roughness or excessive treble enthusiasm”.
At first glance, the new Puccini Anniversary seems to be a return to those simple days. It’s an integrated amplifier with five line-level inputs (one balanced), a single central control knob and no phono stage. But on closer inspection, “this is a rather more ambitious design, with the output to match… and a topology clearly designed for extra clarity and finesse,” discovers Everard. “In other words, it sounds smooth and sweet, with excellent scale and substance to the music, but doesn’t stint on dynamic ability or presence and ambience.”
“We have fond memories of the original Audio Analogue Puccini,” agrees What Hi-Fi? (August 2016). “It delivered a combination of warmth, fluidity and insight few rivals could match, and did so wrapped in a beautifully elegant case.”
So how does the new Anniversary edition measure up? “Listening to the Puccini [Anniversary], there’s much to admire. It’s a refined amplifier, in the mould of the original, though with considerably more muscle…”
“The presentation is full-bodied, with punchy yet articulate lows providing a firm foundation for the midrange to shine… delivering an insightful and articulate performance that’s as good as anything we’ve heard at this price. There’s a charming organic quality to small-scale dynamic shifts that has us spellbound.”
“Stereo imaging is lovely too. It’s crisp, stable and nicely layered with an expansive sound stage that fills our listening room with ease.”
“Make no mistake, the Puccini Anniversary is a fine amplifier, and its sophisticated approach to music replay works a treat. Add fine build and ease of use into the equation, and it’s easy to see the appeal of this amplifier.”
Discover more about Audio Analogue and the Puccini Anniversary at www.audioanalogue.com
Find your nearest Audio Analogue dealer via UK distributor Decent Audio