Engström Arne Mk 2 built-in amplifier
It was definitely a great begin.
As the brushes gently excite and shimmer the cymbals, the bass and piano play a short, tumbling introductory suggestion and the scene is about. The total intimacy of the taking part in and the mild tempo invokes a darkish and broody really feel with the devices shining in stark aid towards the silence of the expansive acoustic. The piano begins its introspection and the soundstage depth opens up additional. Just the drums, the string bass and the wealthy and splendidly expressive piano come collectively forming an ideal trio of musical contemplation. I’m listening to Solitude from The Joni Letters by the very good Herbie Hancock and I’m listening to it by means of the Engström Arne Mk 2 built-in amplifier. When I hear Herbie is feeling out the notes and in a contemplative temper then so am I. This amplifier is so usually about ambiance and permitting the ability of the music to impose itself upon you thru emotional connection. It quickly turns into obvious that it is a giant a part of the beguiling nature of the Arne Mk 2 as a result of this music sounds merely lovely.
The Arne Mk 2 is a 300B-based tube amplifier and a refined improvement of the amplifier that we reviewed again in 2020. But, in case you might hear it with out seeing it, then you definately won’t instantly guess. Because in case you consider tube amplifiers as considerably languid, heat tone-master units which might be solely often distinctive then the Arne will shock you. If you give it a mere half-hour to stretch its legs and heat by means of then it might very properly shock you with its musical scope.
The amplifier is designed and constructed by Engström in Sweden and the overview pattern was completed in sensible white. With its clean-cut traces and half-glass cowl it jogged my memory of a chunk of medical gear. It is a bodily substantial piece that actually must be mounted in some clear air. Output is quoted at 30 watts per channel and operation is really minimalist in that it provides simply a big 48 stepped quantity management and one smaller rotary knob for choosing certainly one of its 4 line inputs. These are a few pairs of each balanced and single-ended connections on the rear plus some binding posts/4mm sockets for a single pair of loudspeakers. There isn’t any entrance panel on/off change, as a substitute that is discovered on the rear subsequent to the ability enter. Most will make use of the neat distant management however this operates the quantity and mute solely. The Arne Mk 2 is predicated on two pairs of 300B triode tubes. Boyer Audio, the importer are in a position to provide the amplifier with a number of completely different choices of 300Bs and these will differ in each efficiency and worth. They put in this one with a quartet of Takatsuki tubes, that are round £1,100 every. The most elementary tubes that Boyer advocate are the Emission Labs EML 300B which value £1,300 for a set. Between the 2 are the Elrog ER 300s at £2,700. I by no means had the possibility to match different makes however Boyer inform me that, as soon as they’ve skilled what the Takatsukis deliver to the occasion, most clients nod properly and pay for the musical high quality that they supply. It additionally signifies that house owners received’t have to bask in tube rolling.
It runs sizzling. In truth for somebody used to traditional stable state amplification, it runs extremely popular and although there’s a fairly creative air flow outlet on the highest of the casework, the glass lid covers this in addition to the tubes themselves. Perhaps there’s some chimney-type airflow design function that eludes me right here however as a number of the appreciable warmth appears to move from throughout the chassis part I ponder if the vents won’t have been left unobstructed for improved cooling.
It takes about half-hour of operating earlier than the Arne Mk 2 trims out whereas rising quicker and so much tighter, particularly by means of the bass and this continues to develop for some time longer. This spectacular velocity is certainly one of its core options. The Arne Mk 2 handles music that extra standard tube amplifiers won’t be completely suited to with shocking ease. Heavy rock, performed at tempo, manic drummers with twin kick drums pounding out a driving rhythm towards a murderously relentless bass guitar and a few electrical guitar shredders? Not an excessive amount of of an issue for the Arne which laps it up. As a caveat although I think about that anybody who listens to this music completely would go the solid-state route however the Arne Mk 2 does a really respectable job however. Certainly it’s the amplifier’s freedom and velocity of dynamic motion that’s so spectacular ought to you may have a basic style for intense instrumental drive leaning you in direction of a system that may get better as quick because it delivers.
On extra circumspect music it quickly established itself as one of the crucial lovely sounding amplifiers I’ve ever had at residence. Those with giant rooms and/or inefficient audio system might have a look at the 30 watt per channel output and surprise. I get that, however in a smallish listening room by means of a pair of Wilson Duette 11 audio system and a few wonderful cabling, sourced by the very good dCS Rossini streaming set-up it was completely satisfactory quantity clever. More essential for me was that it proved fairly epic in its gorgeous capacity to deliver the music into the room.
Listening to Andrew Marlin’s album The Witching Hour and the best way that the Arne handled the mixture of the mandolin and the fiddle was joyous. Marlin definitely is aware of tips on how to put these two devices collectively and sometimes makes use of them in unison to great impact. This is a contemporary tackle Bluegrass by a completely schooled musician who usually grows the languid violin traces out of the a lot shorter length of the mandolin notes and the Arne reveals you what he’s doing by drawing musical photos within the air between you and the audio system. The tonality and focus is great and the instrumental placement crazily exact inside time and house. As ever the Arne Mk 2 has this glorious behavior of connecting you to the music you want, making it a pure pleasure.
Conjuring up ambiance
Regardless of how easy or complicated the music is or the way it has been recorded this amplifier provides it to you straight and it thrives on each the busy and the spatial. In truth its sense of the entire recording acoustic is likely one of the greatest I’ve ever heard and its capacity to conjure up ambiance usually depends on its barely eerie methods with soundstage depth. The Wilsons are fairly good at this and although a 30 watt tube amplifier won’t be the very first thing you would possibly consider as their ultimate associate, it labored beautifully. I discovered myself rising increasingly intrigued and fascinated by the best way the Arne casts its spell so broad and deep, holding the tiniest of threads and particulars collectively whereas remaining extremely specific. That’s a great phrase to explain the way it goes about its enterprise really. Tonal colors mix with pure articulation to allow you to proper in there, whatever the fashion or kind of music you fancy listening to. With the potential exception of David Berning’s QZ amplifiers I haven’t heard this degree of exactly expressed element from a tube amp earlier than.
It has a means with creating soundstages and layering views inside them. Instrumental ranges are so refined particularly with their relationships to one another that you’re left with a vista which reveals the producer’s and blend engineer’s hand. The Arne Mk 2 doesn’t essentially create its personal sense of house however it’s very good at portray a broad image of every recording. The merest contact of a pan management reveals perspective shifts drawn giant throughout your listening house and that is so highly effective, particularly when voices and devices come collectively.
Listening to the desolate, windy openness of Bobby Woods and Les Deux Love Orchestra’s Wagon Train jogged my memory of a John Ford western the place wagons and John Wayne transfer towards a backdrop of an everlasting Monument Valley. Evocative is the phrase I feel and the pure ambiance this amplifier can create should, in some half, be all the way down to the pure excellence of these Takatsuki tube upgrades. Yes, the amplifier is quick and dynamically spectacular however including its capacity to speak the music by means of sound visualisations transfer it on to an entire new degree.
Faithfulness to pitch
The Arne has a faithfulness to pitch and a sense of absolute safety that movie scores and a few classical items with their usually lengthy and languid backdrops depend on as sustained scenic poetry. Against these shifting ambient sands, the film drama might be writ giant and it usually is available in probably the most dynamic interjections. The energy with which the Arne Mk 2 can ship a loose-skinned timpani drum blow to the sound stress degree throughout the body and to the senses is an unforgettable a part of the expertise. Creating an environment is certainly one of its very strongest factors and it manages this throughout an enormous swathe of music. It’s so thick you’ll be able to virtually scrape it off the partitions.
So, in case you have been imagining that this Engström amplifier was going to be the form of system that you simply is perhaps involved in in case you listened completely to small Jazz combos then I have to disillusion you on that one. It is true that it was named after a well known Swedish jazz musician and it’s much more true that it’s going to sound magnificent on that fashion of music. I’ve listened to Miles Davis Nefertiti by means of it a couple of occasions and located myself misplaced in admiration with the musicianship. Few amplifiers handle fairly the identical feeling of closeness to the musician and touch-ability of sound because the Arne Mk 2 majors on. When the taking part in is vivid, the Arne Mk 2 lets you already know. In truth it may possibly usually sound fairly ahead. Fall, my favorite monitor on the album reveals simply how a lot color, texture and pure delicacy of note-weight the Arne Mk 2 can present you. This and the pure scaling of the notes can be certainly one of my abiding reminiscences of the amplifier. After my current streaming experiences I’ve gone to some lengths to scale back the noise flooring of my community and this overview has proven me simply how rewarding that has been as I’ve by no means heard the streamed music in such startling aid and towards such silent backdrops. For an incredible album like Nefertiti with its sparse instrumentation the place the areas between phrases are so very important and that great, ultra-cool and sparing fashion that Miles all the time excelled at is an important element. Very, only a few musicians are ready play precisely what they really feel fairly like Miles did. This communication degree is essential and has helped no finish in making my time with the Arne so musically significant and certainly highly effective.
What an amplifier!
What an amplifier and what a system it helped create! It’s simple to only sit and take heed to a high-end system for a overview and to finish up concentrating on its general decision and I imply in all its varieties. The Engström Arne Mk 2 definitely goes the gap on this respect. Its command of house and time give it the power to kind sonic illusions in entrance of your ears and make it the perfect companion for individuals who wish to go deep into the music and discover its inside secrets and techniques.
Seeking out numerous new music turns into addictive and clearly high-end streaming is the important thing that unlocks this. Its management of instrumentation be it solo or ensemble and the uncannily pure means it has with the human voice are as notable as the truth that it all the time has house and headroom to spare. It by no means sounds hurried or flustered and rising tonally harsh is solely not in its repertoire and it is a giant a part of the explanation why it speaks the language of music so eloquently and with such objective.
This actually is an attractive sounding amplifier. It’s so simple as that.
- Type: Tube built-in amplifier
- Power output: 30w per channel
- Inputs: 2× SE line inputs (RCA), 2 x Bal. line inputs (XLR)
- Frq. response: 10Hz–40kHz +/-1dB
- Tubes: 4× 300B (choices out there), 4 × D3a
- Vol.management: 48-step
- Remote management: Yes-volume and mute
- Dimensions: 320 × 450 × 480mm
- Weight: 38kg
- Price: £29,500. Various end and tube choices can be found
+44(0)330 223 3769
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February 13, 2024 at 05:59PM
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