Light metal. You’ll likely know AMR subsidiary iFi Micro as the guys who’ve made entry-level ripples with their range of techy-looking DACs, phono stages, USB power filters, USB converters and headphone amplifiers, each of which are housed in a similarly styled aluminium extrusion. I’ve had hands on experience with their iUSB Power Supply (reviewed here) and iPhono (reviewed here).
This year iFi Micro are building a bridge to desktop spaces with a fully-fledged two channel system called ‘Retro’ that’s been drenched in a vintage vibe. The wood wrapped amplifier and matching loudspeakers strike a real pose at iFi’s table in the CanJam, RMAF’s headphone-centric hall.
Breaking it down, the amplifier is called the Stereo 50 whilst confusingly outputting 30 wpc into 8 Ohms. Note the large Leben-esque (defeatable) bass and treble tone controls and a pair of 3.5mm headphone sockets. A feature that might cause hardcore audiophile to bristle a little is the trio of ‘XBass’ settings; sounds like something Sony used to push in the 1980s.
Inside, the coaxial, USB and 24bit/96kHz aptX Bluetooth inputs hand of to the same DAC design that can be found in the iDSD Micro (a Burr Brown). Also skinned for inclusion here are the iPhono, the iTube buffer with NOS tubes and a souped-up version of the iCan.
In a cheeky wink to the fondly remembered LS3/5a golden years, the monitors have been named the LS3. A doped paper driver and a silk-domed tweeter sit behind the flush grey grill. The latter kicks in above 8kHz when called on by the high-pass capacitor filter.
Both amplifier and loudspeakers have been designed by Thorsten Loesch and are manufactured in China. The system will sell for a flat $2000 and begins shipping on November 1st.
I can see this not only working on desktops but playing nice in style-conscious studio apartments and dorm rooms. The world needs more quality, entry-level hi-fi gear like this. Actually, scratch that – audio shows need more quality, entry-level hi-fi gear like this.
Further information: iFi Micro