Musical Fidelity AMS 35i

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Musical Fidelity AMS 35i
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From Hi-Fi World - December 2009 issue


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Hotter Than July



Brand new from Musical Fidelity is the gargantuan “pure Class A” AMS35i integrated amplifier. David Price warms to it...


Talk to Antony Michaelson about his prodigious product portfolio and there are a few select designs about which he speaks with particular affection, the A1000 being one of them. This was one of the first British battleship integrateds. Of course, Japanese marques like Sansui once specialised in the breed - producing massive, usually heavily Class A, powerhouses with lavish looks and a fine feel - but here in the UK it wasn't until the advent of the A1000 in the early nineties that super integrateds ever existed.


Michaelson’s monolith was a lavish affair, being a two-box design, the first being the amp itself and the second the power supply (11kg and 7kg respectively). It boasted 50W RMS in pure Class A from two sets of eight heavily heatsinked transistors, aspirated by two chunky toroidal transformers in the other box. Switch it on and within an hour most of the casework was too hot to handle despite all that elaborate heatsinking, such was its prodigious power consumption...


On delivering this, the new AMS35i to me, Antony declared it to be the A1000’s spiritual successor, and you can see why. It’s pure Class A into 8 Ohms. He argues that many manufacturers assert their products to be ‘pure Class A’ amplifiers, but are actually simply Class AB amps biased just a bit more towards Class A. This is emphatically not the case with the ‘35i, he says, and the temperature rise of the massive heatsinks (about 35C) is testimony to this. Suffice to say, after my review sample had been on for an hour, the central heating went off and I was contemplating making myself some cheese on toast right there in my listening room...


Boasting 35W RMS per channel into 8 Ohms [see MEASURED PERFORMANCE], the AMS35i is a dual mono amplifier, each ‘bank’ with its own separate transformer. The preamp also has separate power supplies with discrete windings on the transformer. The circuitry itself is said to be “a direct descendant of the Titan and AMS50 circuit designs and is very closely related to them”.


I have to say that this is one of the most attractive modern Musical Fidelity products I’ve seen for a while, looking purposeful and imposing (it’s not small at 483x148x475mm and 28.3kg), yet subtle and classy too - especially in the black satin finish of our review sample. Whilst it lacks the silky perfection of Japanese esoterica, it’s certainly very well made and finished. The front panel is machined from solid, milspec aluminium billet, with an exclusive titanium G2 finish, in silver or black. The badge is made from medical grade stainless steel. The top and back are machined from solid and the heatsinks are custom made for maximum efficiency.



The front panel layout consists of a large, smooth operating central volume control, with smaller source selector buttons with individual blue LEDs. Round the back there are four RCA phono inputs (including a tape loop) and one balanced XLR, and one fixed (tape out) and one variable (pre out) RCA phono outputs, plus two pairs of 4mm speaker binding post outputs. The AMS35i remote is “one of the single most expensive components” of the package. Exquisitely machined from solid, it’s a handy thing to have in your dressing gown pocket should a midnight burglar decide he has as much right to own your hi-fi as you.



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