Icon – Quad II Classic Integrated

Proof that valve-powered hi-fi need not be impractical or blingin'

It's a valve amp, innit?

Blimey, you're getting better at this. Yes, it's a valve-powered hi-fi amplifier, but rather a special one.

Oh, here we go…

Don't scoff. I'm not talking about all those arcane arts used to refine sonics to the nth degree – although there are plenty of those involved. No, I'm talking more fundamentally. This is an integrated amp, for starters, which means it's just one box to control volume and power the speakers.

Doesn't sound new

No, integrated valve amps aren't a new idea. But rarely have they been so compact and beautiful – in a rather '50s way, inspired by the legendary Quad II mono power amplifier with which it shares many design elements. Nor have they often featured, as this Quad does, a phono pre-amp for plugging your turntable directly into it, regardless of whether you use a moving magnet or posh moving coil cartridge.

And it costs more than my record collection?

Yes, but mainly because you listen to the kind of nonsense that'll be filling charity shops in 10 years' time. Just £4500 will buy you a slice of high-end hi-fi that'll more than likely be pumping out superb sonics well after you've checked into that big record store in the sky.

Also

Retro Chic – Quad II (1952)

Icon – Sagemcom Sixty

Hi-fi Top 10

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