ABRAHAMSEN AUDIO REVIEWS
Naim amp made too harsh
The V2.0 UP replaced my Sugden A21SE and is better!
sound is full, image has grown dramatically
I can now listen to recordings that my
how on earth do they produce this quality for the price they charge?
Stunning. Easily as good as the Electrocompaniet AW120
nothing in that price bracket comes remotely close
im just astounded by the sound im listening to
test panel unanimously decided to propose Abrahamsen as new reference amplifier in the plant.
HiFi wigWam Abrahamsen V2.0 UP Integrated Amplifier Review
By Lionel Payne on 11/08/2015
2 x 70 watt in 8 ohm 2 x140 watt in 4 ohm
1000VA Ring core transformer
100,000uF Capacitance. 16A Relays 12 Output Devices
Signal/noise: >100 dBTHD: 0,005 % Frequency response: 0-70.000 Hz +/-3 dB
3 Line inputs (RCA)1 Balanced (XLR) input Tape output (RCA)
Digital volume control LCD-display Bespoke Metal Remote control
Width 43 cm – Height 10.5 cm – Depth 32 cm – Weight 16 kg
The delivery man arrives with the package. Once it’s signed for I scurry upstairs with it to the mancave. I am a little surprised that it isn’t a little heavier (16kg) but it’s certainly no lightweight. Unpacked, it’s an attractive beast! The first thing that struck me was how it even looks like it should be part of the Electrocompaniet family.
It isn’t of course, but the Abrahamsen in the title may be a clue to more than a few people here. It is indeed designed by Per Abrahamsen – the main man in Electrocompaniet’s earlier days and the head honcho here too. All black but for the two solid brass dials, the gold lettering and the 4 gold screws holding the glass front in place. All very “Electrocompaniet” in looks then although thankfully the width is a standard 430mm and not a rack-busting 19” like the older models.
There is a relatively heavy remote (no plastic here) which I notice has a couple of Allen screws holding the battery compartment on but at least the correct sized Allen key is also provided. Believe me, this thing looks like it is really made to last. Around the back there is provision for 3 line level inputs plus one balanced (XLR) connection. Once powered up you see how clear and easily readable the LCD display is. All good so far.
I had decided before it’s arrival that I would give it a gentle introduction and immediately hooked it up to my Acoustic Precision Eikos CD player (via Transparent Audio Music Link Ultra interconnects) and my Cyrus CLS70 bookshelf speakers ( via Cable Talk Concert 2.1 cables). The difficult task of driving my PMC FB1+’s would have to wait a little longer.
The Eikos has been with me for many years and delivers a well- balanced full range sound that can be relied upon to tell me what is happening with the rest of the system. It is also one of the most analogue sounding CD players that I have ever heard. Boy was I in for a giant surprise when I sat down to listen to my first disc. The sound wasn’t great. It was as though the mid band was being sucked out of the mix. I rushed to check my connections but found no mistakes.
At this point I correctly surmised that a warm up may be necessary. I left it playing and I carried on listening but with far less intent. The sound gradually improved until it sounded different again after maybe 20 minutes. It was now sounding more like I had expected, in fact it was actually responsible for putting a pleasant smile on my face. Time to start listening with some intent again.
First I loaded up a track I’ve been listening to a lot lately -Ballad by New Model Army. Within the track is a mouth organ that I love to hear how resonant the sound is, as it seems to vary on every system I listen to it on and with the Abrahamsen it resonated wonderfully. Quickly moving on to another recent favourite CD – Push The Sky Away – the most recent studio release by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Everything was so natural, the tonality was fabulous and voices made you want to reach out and touch the singer. I couldn’t feed the tray of the Eikos quick enough. I wanted more and more!
From the thunderous bass of Leftfield’s debut album to the shimmering highs of Shadowplay by Joy Division this amp had the answers every time and could not be wrong-footed. I’m not much of a classical guy but I do love Sinead O’Connor’s Am I Not Your Girl which would give me the feel of how a big band sounds and the Abrahamsen did not disappoint. Her voice was portrayed with real emotion and inflection with the band creating a wide and balanced sound stage although perhaps not as deep as some I have heard although all these other amps would cost several times what the cost of the Abrahamsen is. In fact, rating this amplifier is the easiest thing in the world when you consider it costs £900. It’s a downright steal! I would be happy to recommend it against amplifiers costing twice the price – it is that good!
Earlier I mentioned I had one last trick up my sleeve which may upset the apple cart. This was my transmission line PMC FB1+’s which are known for needing plenty of current to get the best out of them. I can’t claim that they were the best amp/speaker combination as perhaps the Abrahamsen did fall a little short in creating the deepest of bass with ease but in every other respect they came through with flying colours. They grabbed the PMC’s with a vice-like grip for all but that last piece of bottom end but the mid-band and top end were beguiling. I’m not, for a minute, suggesting that the overall sound is bass-light.
Infact the bass region is a strong point with normal speakers and to try and sum up the overall sound of the amplifier is, I would say it stays on the slightly warm side of neutral, particularly in the upper mid-band which makes for a most pleasant and non-fatiguing sound.
In conclusion, I was taken aback by the synergy between my Eikos CD player and this amplifier. The combination was terrific. If you are considering a purchase of the V2.0 UP Integrated Amplifier I can heartily suggest your choice is a very good one. However, an amplifier of this quality demands the best ancillaries you can provide. You will then be enjoying a system which will keep you satisfied for an extremely long time.
I heard one today. It blew my socks off! Absolute audio excellence! I have never heard bass GRIP like it - it must be the huge capacitive reservoir. I think I am going to swap my Linn power amp (£3500 worth of Class D pleasure) for the Abrahamsen V4.0UP (just £900!)....
Fidelity Magazine Norway
Best buy integrated transistor amplifier:
When the test panel heard last production version by Per Abrahamsen integrated amplifier, we disagree on whether this
was the best amplifier since "the Two Channel Ampliwire"? Or the best amplifier purchase since NAD 3020?
We in fidelity is realized sørgerlig many would argue that hi-fi guru Per Abrahamsen voucherson good reviews in Norwegian hi-fi magazines in general, and in particular Fidelity. It had therefore been "wise" Fidelity to kåre anything but this affordable black
box with acrylic front and gold buttons "Annual best buy". And here are a number of good candidates from the costly but excellent
Danish Gamut with its excellent resolution, via French Atoll, Norwegian Hegel and American Krell now sat down in price. Not to forget the many good English ... But scant kr.10.000 from shelves Elkjøp and Lefdal, there after test panel meaning no way around AbrahamsenV2.0 which is a formidable comeback for Per. (See also test panel notes further behind in the magazine) Price: kr 9,995
The production version by Per Abrahamsen last amplifier, costs under 10K and is only 70 watts. But it sounds astonishing and plays at least one class better than the price indicates.
Rolf Inge Danielsen:
League of its own! This modestly sized amplifier from Abrahamsen is fantabulous good with surprisingly large soundstage, wide and deep, with sharp holographic focus. It is as if you look through the lens of a camera and wrap it around the last millimeter
the lens so that the image of light misty for crisp focus throughout fjæla. The amazing thing is not that this amplifier sounds better than Xindak but that the distance to the combination DP / Nemo from the referanseforsterkeriet is scary small to moderate sound levels. I am very surprised that it should be so great kvalitetesforskjell between two of the best purchases on the market, but there are absolutely no doubt about it was I who should go some money over budget: I had eaten oatmeal for weeks
to afford the black box to old Abe!
Neither the undersigned had heard this integrated amplifier Abrahamsen before this group test. After long familiarity with both constructor and his products, I was pleasantly surprised sound quality from this box with acrylic front and gold buttons that have more than a passing similarity with older EC structures. Also the sound quality is a modern version of the 2008 EC-sound with its holographic depth, rich bass and keynote area. All the exceptionally clean but lightweight reclining treble with exceptionally crisp detail without hardness and squawk in the present area. It will be interesting to see if the rest of the world is equally positive shocked as us in Fidelity, but I have no trouble adding head on the block to say that this is relatively the best product from Per Abrahamsen since 25 watts shoulder! Equally astonishing is that preamp is so good, and that given 70 watts is actually enough to drive most speakers in such a large living room that our test room. This is hardly something sensation, expectations were very high, but it is gratifying that we here at home now kanfå a modern version of The Two
Channel with built pre to the upward revision of the 1980 price of a NAD 3020! It is perhaps a little sensation, after all?
Fun to confirm earlier impressions in my home with what we now hear in reference plant. This is the best integrated amplifier I've heard near the recommended price. And with considerable sonically margin over cheaper products. Even with seemingly much more effort from Xindak, experienced Abrahamsen strangely enough as great sonically and with a far more virile sound that simultaneously can be calm and relaxed. But never boring! The smile is in place for what I believe is one of the major hi-fi products from recent years A high-end 3020 for 2008!
After a bit too high price relative to the total budget for "Budget resort in 2008", select the test panel unanimously decided to propose Abrahamsen as new reference amplifier in the plant. Then we either raise the status by calling the budget facility f
or "high-end" budget?
Bought Abramahsen V2.0UP Amp and V1.0UP CD Player along with IPL M1tlm
Speaker in walnut.
Sorry to bother you at this time of night.
How you doing Colin just texting to say thank you very much for all of your help.
The equipment is unbelievable absolutely love the sound and they are beautiful.
Thanks again Sir it's been a plaeasure to deal with you.
Lionel from HiFi Wigwam Forum requested to carry out review, Full Review coming as soon as its written
I haven't got too far in the writing of the review yet but I've certainly made enough notes and learnt the nature of the amp to finish the review without further need of audition. What do I think of it ? Honestly ? Fantastic !!!!!!!!!!!! To me, at this price (£899), it is an absolute bargain. It did, as you promised it would, a marvelous job driving the PMC FB1+'s. I was close to coming back to ask how much for me to keep this unit but I also had a second hand Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista 300 integrated here on trial at the same time. The Tri-Vista is going to cost me £1400 and it is nowhere near twice as good as the Abrahamsen. It is, however, slightly better and I'm willing to pay for that extra small degree of quality.
I will keep working on the review and get it posted as soon as possible. Would you like a draft copy for review before it goes live ?
I've been over to the North West Hi-fi Show today (Sunday) at Cranage Hall and I can assure you I have been telling all who would listen how good the amp is ! I certainly wish you every success with the product as it deserves to be a great success. I would love to keep in touch to hear how you are doing with sales and should the opportunity to do another review for you arise, then please don't hesitate.
Bought a V2.0 UP Amplifier and V1.0UP CD Player
Many thanks to Electro and others who pointed me towards Abrahamsen Audio for an amp to compliment my Tannoy D700 speakers. In the end I bought the V1.0 upgrade CD player and the V2.0 grade amp. I spent a lot of time listening to alternatives and nothing in that price bracket comes remotely close. I would go so far as to say that nothing came close at three times the price! The units are built like a Norwegian pine cabin and look superb but it is the sound that really sets them apart. The stereo image is astounding and each instrument can be heard very clearly and quite differentiated from the whole. I listen to everything from rock, to Leonard Cohen to Tchaikovsky and it all sounds astonishing on this set up. What I have also realised is how damn good my speakers are despite their age! Not many I listened to came close! Sometimes the performers sounds as if they are standing in front of you - you can hear them shuffle about and their breathing. If you close your eyes it can make the hairs on your neck stand up its so realistic.
And now the down side. This equipment will brutally show up any second rate recording and low quality CD's sound even worse. Sibilance can creep in and treble can be harsh. I have three CD's out of a couple of hundred that I will not listen to again! The counter point to this is of course that good recordings are out of this world. The equipment doesn't appear to have a characteristic sound and doesn't get in the way of the music or add to it or detract from it. As far as I can tell it's totally neutral which is more than I can say for many top brands I listened to.
i connected the CD player and Amp with balanced XLR cables (as recommended) after a week or so and much to my surprise it did seem to make a difference.
one final comment: how on earth do they produce this quality for the price they charge?
Bought V4.0UP 1.0UP V3.0UP sent to UAE
Just received the package today, but had an awards dinner to attend so didn't get home till 12am.
But I was excited so I installed the units and my new HT amplifier which has pre outs for the front speakers.
Not time to listen as it's 1 am and I need to get up at 6 tomorrow. Then the next 3 days I am out then I fly to
australia for 3 weeks talk about torture!!!!
Anyway here are a couple of pics of them installed, haven't had a chance to tidy up any wiring yet.
I need another V4.0 I can tell already......
Bought a V2.0UP Integrated Amplifier.
I have also joined the club! My V2.0-UP arrived today.
Initial impressions are very very good. In order to try and describe the sound, the music seems to "pop" out of the speakers far more than it did with my Naim or Nad. I guess I am saying the soundstage is better? Difficult to describe, but my older amps sound recessed in comparison.
I wouldn't say the amp is bass-heavy or bright, its seems to be fairly neutral. The sound is very engaging though and I can't wait for an extended session. I can hear lots of detail (like reverb) too.
Build wise, it is very heavy and solid and looks the business. The remote is sturdy too - annoyingly I dropped one of the screws that holds the battery compartment on and can't find it! No big deal, I'm sure I can find a suitable replacement. I noticed the same thing with the volume, I am listening to it at 36-44 and that is plenty loud enough for me.
The Abrahamsen is connected via a Balanced Input from my Dspeaker Anti-Mode 2.0, which is acting as a DAC and has balanced outputs. I am on the hunt for an Abrahamsen DAC, but they are no longer in production.
I've only had it for 2 hours, so needs burning in. However I already believe it is better than my Naim SuperNait 1 and every other amp I have owned.
Another happy Abrahamsen customer here! The more I use the amp, the more I like it. The sound from my system has really opened up recently and I am enjoying it very much.
I haven't found any harsh sibilance on recordings, the opposite actually - I can now listen to recordings that my Naim amp made too harsh.
I am still trying to secure the Abrahamsen V6.0 DAC second hand to complete the system.
Mark bought a V4.0UP Power Amplifier
Hi Colin. Stunning. Easily as good as the electrocompaniet AW120
Have a good night, Mark.
Jon bought a standard V2.0 Integrated Amplifier.
Im now the proud owner of Abrahamsen V2.0 Amp, it blow the Exposure out of the water.
First thing you notice when halling it out of its box is the weight ouch my back aches now, then i found myself just staring at it forever (a few mins really)but seemed like forever thats how lush it looks.
Once set-up up and powered up i was amazed how it sounded its truely gob smacking thats how good it is ive only been running it for an hour and already im smitten.
Thanks again colin your a true gent and great listener/adviser.