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Amplifier Magnum Quartet review

Trust Magnum to come up with another wacky amplifier! Having already wowed us with its Class A beastie, sees a genuine four-channel amplifier designed for quick-and-easy bi-wiring or bi-amping. Rather like the Lecson Quattra, Magnum’s Quartet houses four nominally identical power amplifiers, but, unlike the Quattra, two ofthese monoblocks are deliberately band-limited below 1 kHz.

The output of this pair is fed to a series of 4mm sockets labelled ‘Treble/mid X-over’ while the full-bandwidth channels are linked to sockets marked ’Bass driver X-over’. Assuming your speakers have separate bass/treble crossovers and binding posts to match, it’s possible to feed each bass and treble drive unit from an independent amplifier.

Meanwhile, push-buttons for mute, mono and tape monitor, plus input selection for five line inputs (MM/MC available at no extra cost), only add to its flexibility.

Sound quality

This, unfortunately, was another model that failed to stir the panel’s emotions. It had a tendency to make the treble sound rather sandy, a factor that cropped up throughout the listening session and one that would take a relaxed loudspeaker to play down. One might expect such a balance to improve spatial resolution and imaging, but in fact the opposite seemed to be true. The images it produced lacked focus, though they had a bit more depth than some dearer alternatives.

In other respects this was a rather grey amplifier. It didn’t sound unnatural, but failed to inject any real colour or life into music. There was a little more sense of musical interplay between instruments than with similarly priced alternatives, and occasionally the sandyness of the high frequencies helped matters. The ‘skin’ detail on a snare drum was picked out well, but a lot of high notes lost their purity.

Conclusion

The Magnum Quartet is an interesting concept, and it would be worth investigatng in fully bi-wired mode with a selection of sympathetic speakers. However, when used in our single-wired, blind tests it didn’t make a good enough impression to deserve much acclaim.

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