“Little wonder”: Hi-Fi Choice recommends Exposure’s compact and very bijou XM5 integrated amp

“Don’t be fooled by its petite exterior,” writes David Price in the magazine’s June issue, “this new integrated may be small in stature but it’s certainly not in sound.”

Exposure XM5 integrated amplifier – titanium

Launched in early 2017, Exposure’s new XM series of amps is deliberately compact and bijou. Designed for music lovers who seek great performance across both digital and analogue media but don’t want the size or cost of their system to spiral out of control, it’s also rather ingenious, cleverly packing a full complement of high quality features into a narrow half-width design. Which is quite something for a British hi-fi brand that initially made a name for itself with “extremely large, powerful and punchy solid-state pre and power amplification.”

Exposure XM5 integrated amp with black finish

“Interestingly however,” notes Price, unlike other manufacturers “the company hasn’t gone down the class D route to get the amplifier to deliver decent amounts of power from its diminutive dimensions.” On the contrary, the Exposure XM5 integrated is ‘old-school’ Class AB, putting out 60W RMS per channel into 8 ohms. “When you listen to it, that doesn’t seem a wildly unrealistic claim,” agrees Price. It also incorporates both a phono stage and a DAC – putting the ‘integrated’ back into integrated amps.

Listening to The Orb’s ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’, a classic piece of early ambient house, “The XM5 locks onto the interplay between the base line, snares and hi-hat instantly and frames the whole song around this. It’s amazing just how flat this track can be through most integrateds at this price, but the Exposure absolutely transforms things.”

Switching to the “fulsome, sumptuous sounding jazz funk” of James Taylor Quartet’s ‘Keep The Dream Alive’, “The XM5 carries it with great skill, really throwing the listener right into the music in an immersive and engrossing way.” “The apparent ease with which it can summon the pump to make things really hit home is most satisfying.”

“This is very much an audiophile integrated amplifier that just happens to be small, rather than a ‘lifestyle’ product masquerading as separates hi-fi,” Price concludes. “It’s a joy to set ears on.”

Overall verdict: five stars and ‘Hi-Fi Choice Recommended’.

Read David Price’s review in full in the June 2017 issue of Hi-Fi Choice.

Discover more about the XM5 and find your nearest Exposure dealer at www.exposurehifi.com