Each year, the Hi-Fi Choice Yearbook singles out the greatest-sounding audio products reviewed by the magazine’s expert team during the previous 12 months. On news-stands now, the 2017 edition’s chosen few includes no less than three of British brand Exposure’s amplifiers. All three are from the company’s small but brilliantly conceived XM series.
If you think that high-performance hi-fi comes in one size only – XXL in terms of the required budget and space – then you probably haven’t come across Exposure’s new XM series of audio components. Launched in 2017, the series cleverly packs an impressive complement of high-end features into a compact and affordable design. The XM5 integrated amplifier, XM7 preamp and XM9 mono power amps have all been selected as being among the year’s best by the Hi-Fi Choice review team.
Of the XM5, the team writes, “This is very much an audiophile integrated amplifier that just happens to be small, rather than a ‘lifestyle’ product masquerading as separates hi-fi… it’s a joy to set ears on.”
What the XM series loses in bulk, it makes up for in high quality detail. Despite their astonishingly compact half-width size, both the XM5 integrated amp and the XM7 preamp include a built-in phonostage and DAC. While the preamp can be partnered with a wide range of power amplifiers or active speakers, it comes into its own when paired with Exposure’s own XM9 mono power amps, described by Exposure’s chief designer Tony Brady as “the highest performance amplifier we could fit into a compact chassis”.
And while most smaller hi-fi components (and indeed a good many large ones) fall back on switch-mode power supplies, all three models here feature a linear power supply with a large 200VA custom-made toroidal power transformer. Only high quality resistors and capacitors are used in the signal path, while Toshiba bipolar output transistors are carefully chosen for their superior dynamic performance.
“This is a great system,” write reviewers of the XM7/XM9 combo. “All components match one another visually and make the best of their sonic strengths.”
“The inspiration for the XM series came from the unstoppable resurgence of vinyl amid a digital age,” explains Brady, who sees both formats as being very much here to stay and grow. “At the same time, quality of sound is once again becoming important to an increasing number of people – across all media. Many music lovers want superior performance but they still want convenience and value for money.” Which just happens to be where Exposure excels, in ‘real world hi-fi at real world prices’.
Find out more at www.exposurehifi.com
Check out the full list of 2017’s best audio treats in the Hi-Fi Choice Yearbook 2017