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The Preludio, a stunning piece of craftsmanship, is an integrated valve amplifier from well known Italian manufacturer Unison Research.It currently retails for £2,500.
Although this amplifier is only rated at 14 watts per channel, which many people will dismiss as not being powerful enough, it is a Pure Class A design so sounds more like a 40-50 watt solid state amplifier and therefore will drive most loudspeakers fairly easily.
However, the Preludio is not necessarily going to suit everyones needs, it still has limitations and will probably not suit those looking for a powerhouse amplifier or for playing rock or classical music at high levels. With that being said, it is well worth calling in store for a listen, as the Preludio is an exceptional amplifier for the price.
Using ECC82 valves in the input stage and 6550 output valves the Prelude offers full remote control which is a welcome addition to a valve design.
It offers four line stage inputs, as well as a tape input and output so, is well facilitated.
Sonically the amp offers what you would expect from a Class A valve design. Fast dynamics and good three dimensionality coupled with good bass and great midrange. Voices and instruments are very naturally reproduced and the amp is at its best with acoustic music, jazz and blues, however, it is very happy with most types of music.
I listened to the amp with Opera speakers which work really well with it, however, it should also suit other brands like Heco, Triangle, Cabasse , Advance Acoustics and many more. In fact, any speakers 90db or above should work well as long as the impedance does not drop beyond 4 ohms.
With any valve amplifier, speaker choice becomes more critical so we recommend discussing with one of our staff before purchasing however when you get it right, the sound is simply breathtaking and produces naturalness that most solid state amps struggle to compete with.
The looks are typically Italian and the Prelude comes in both Cherry and Mahogany finishes and the wood and brushed aluminum finishes compliment each other perfectly.
This model (Preludio) is about third in the range so there are cheaper options starting with the Simply Italy at £1650, however, this model is superior and is worth the extra over the cheaper model if funds permit.
For those looking for valve sound but with more power, Unison Research has a huge range and models up the range can go up to 45 watts Class A per channel.