British hi-fi brand Exposure’s new top-of-range 5010 series features a preamplifier and a pair of mono power amplifiers and builds on the brand’s previous flagship, the highly-regarded MCX series.
As highly regarded as it was (and it was), the MCX series had just one potential drawback: it was massive. Which wasn’t a problem in the days of ‘bigger is better’ but lately our living spaces are becoming more compact and we’re living an increasingly mobile lifestyle. During 2016 and 2017 Exposure introduced its innovative XM series of hi-fi components, each of which sports an impressive complement of high quality features in a neat, half-width size. So, having perfected the art of packing a great deal of high-performing technology into a smaller space, the company then turned its attention to revisiting the top end of its offering and the question of how to create its finest combination of amplifiers yet at a fraction of the physical size.
The result is the brand new 5010 series which features two products: a preamplifier and a pair of mono power amplifiers. At first glance you might be hard pushed to tell them apart from the brand’s existing 3010 and 2010 series. Significantly trimmer than their MCX predecessors, they sport Exposure’s trademark clean, simple look. On the extruded front panel of the power amplifier you’ll see nothing more than a power button, while that of the preamp is equally pared-back with just a power switch, a single input selector knob and the volume control. No endless rows of flashy buttons or ‘look-at-me’ LED displays here. Instead, the Exposures make clear their intention to focus on the more critical business of delivering high-performance amplification with a deft balance of energy and elegance, power and finesse.
The mono power amplifier delivers a mighty punch with double the power of Exposure’s 3010 series equivalent. It features an 800W transformer with dual rectification and two 10000uF screw terminal capacitors, along with eight power transistors per channel. A specially designed slow start circuit reduces the power-on surge, which would otherwise be considerable in view of the size of the transformer.
Much of the Exposure magic is attributable to the relentless degree of attention that is paid to the circuit design in order to achieve the best possible sound quality, and the 5010 series is of course no exception. Cascode circuits are used for the input and second amplifier stages providing improved linearity and power supply rejection, and are fed from active rail smoothing circuits. High quality Welwyn RC55 resistors and polypropylene and polystyrene capacitors are used in critical positions. The input is relay-switched between balanced or single-ended to ensure the shortest possible signal path.
The preamplifier sports six line inputs, also switched by high quality relays. One of the inputs can be reconfigured as either an MM or MC phono option with the addition of an extra PCB, or as a DAC option with the addition of a plug-in board. The latter is capable of up to 192/24 bit PCM and DSD 64, and comes with two inputs: USB and BNC, with auto-switching between them.
The preamplifier has a balanced output and is DC coupled using servos at the output, and only one capacitor at the input. Its power supply features a 200W transformer, fast rectifiers and 24 high-quality smoothing capacitors.
If you like your listening experience big on emotion with an emphasis on realism and musicality, then the new Exposure 5010 series is definitely one to audition.