For those who are not ready to spend serious money on a good tube amplifier, but want to get a bit of tube softness and melodiousness, opting for a hybrid concept might be a good solution. In this review, we will get acquainted with just such a model from the German company – Magnat MA 900.
The principle of operation of hybrid amplifiers does not change depending on what technologies are combined in them – the preliminary and final stages in them always work in different ways. Yes, it is traditionally believed that such a device should include a tube preliminary and transistor output stage, but occasionally there are versions with a reverse sequence, in addition, there are options for analog-digital hybrids.
However, in this device everything is done in a familiar and understandable way. The tube section of the preamplifier in the Magnat MA 900 is built on double ECC 81 (12AT7) triodes, while the manufacturer emphasizes that the tubes are not only matched in pairs according to the closeness of the parameters, but also undergo a pre-heating procedure before being installed in the circuit.
The transistor output stage can develop a long-term power of 200 watts in each of the channels when operating on a load with a nominal resistance of 4 ohms, while the peak power reaches as much as 320 watts! Of course, all-tube amplifiers capable of achieving similar power levels are in a very different price dimension. The power supply of the amplifier is built on a solid and reliably shielded toroidal transformer, it provides separate stabilized sources for various circuits.
The front panel of the Magnat MA 900 is made of a solid aluminum plate and is visually divided into two parts by a large round volume control knob, to the left of which there is an information display, and to the right there is a transparent window through which you can observe the glow of the pre-amplifier lamps. At the bottom of the front panel there is a power button, a 6.3 mm jack for connecting headphones, a 3.5 mm line input, rotary tone controls for treble, midrange and bass, as well as knobs for the rotary input selector and channel balance control.
The digital-to-analog converter unit in the Magnat MA 900 is made on Cirrus Logic chips, the signal can be fed to it through two coaxial and two optical digital inputs, the maximum resolution is 24 bit / 192 kHz. There is also a Bluetooth 5.0 module with support for the aptX HD audiophile codec. The built-in universal phono stage can work with moving magnet (5 mV / 47 kΩ) and moving coil (0.5 mV / 470 ohm) heads, with separate inputs provided.
There are as many as five line analog inputs in the Magnat MA 900. There is also a linear analog output. An interesting function Source Gain allows you to adjust the gain within +/- 6 dB separately for each amplifier input. In general, the functional equipment of the Magnat MA 900 covers almost all the needs of a modern audiophile, except for the built-in streamer and USB-B port for connecting a computer or laptop as a digital transport, but this is already nit-picking.
The kit also includes a universal wireless remote control for controlling a complete system of Magnat components.
To listen to the Magnat MA 900 amplifier, a system was assembled that included a Magnat MMS 730 streamer, a Lyngdorf CD-2 CD player and the well-known Magnat Transpuls 1000 and Transpuls 1500 acoustic systems as sources.
The main practical advantage of a good hybrid amplifier combining a tube pre-stage and a transistor power amplifier is usually considered to be the ability to crank the volume knob without worrying that the bass will get out of control and the high frequencies will start to choke the ear. From this point of view, it is impossible to make any claims to the Magnat MA 900 – both models of the speakers that participated in the test, he “pulled” without the slightest problems, while the maximum level of comfortable volume was sufficient to pump a large enough room. Well, many modern commercial releases, which, unfortunately, have a high level of compression, have definitely benefited from their additional enrichment with even tube harmonics.
If we talk about the genre preferences of the kit, then in combination with the aforementioned speakers, the amplifier plays out modern electronic music, as well as the classic rock repertoire, especially cheerfully and fervently. It is not for nothing that in Germany the Transpuls series speakers are now sold together with the latest AC / DC album on vinyl!
We would especially like to note how responsive and grateful the amplifier is to improve the quality of the signal source – when connected to a Lyngdorf CD player from a much higher price category, the stage acquired tangible depth, and the bass – additional speed and attack. It seems that when paired with slightly more refined and restrained acoustic systems, more focused on working with classical music, the Magnat MA 900 will fully demonstrate its ability to accurately convey all the timbre richness of live instruments.
An excellent find for audiophiles who do not want to spend significant amounts on powerful tube amplifiers, but who are not satisfied with the sound nature of budget transistor devices. The hybrid Magnat MA 900 can handle even complex speakers, and its ability to play loudly and comfortably will delight all fans of dynamic music genres.
- Type – hybrid integrated amplifier
- Model – Magnat MA 900
- Output power, W – 2×200 (at 4 Ohm at THD less than 1%)
- Audio Inputs – RCA (5), Phono (1 x MM, 1 x MC), digital optical (2), digital coaxial (2), analog 3.5 mm minijack
- Audio Outputs – RCA for recording (1)
- Wireless Module – Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD
- Power consumption (max), W – 700
- Dimensions, cm – 433 x 162 x 362
- Weight, kg – 11.7
- Technical data source – Magnat