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Integrated amplifier


Amare Musica

Manufacturer: Amare Musica

Price (in Poland): 34 000 zł

ul. Obrońców Tobruku 27, lok. 118
01-494 Warszawa | Poland

tel.: +48606117312 | e-mail:

Country of origin: Poland

lthough this is the first review of Amare Musica product in "High Fidelity" some of you might remember this company from the last, 2012 AudioShow in Warsaw. It was then, when this young Polish company made its debut with a high-end tube preamplifier De Forest and Trinity monoblocks. An additional interesting aspect of this presentation were also Polish, damn good speakers called Clockwork that were driven by Amare Musica electronics. Some of you might have wondered then: where had I seen these guys before? Even though it was their official debut as Amare Musica, these guys had participated a year earlier in AudioShow, being involved in presentations in DIY Audiostereo room. All these gentlemen, from both Amare and Clockwork, were and still are active members of Audiostereo community, especially of its DIY sub-forum. They created audio devices before just for fun, or to find out how particular project sounded like. They gained knowledge and experience and came up with ideas for products that could be interesting for other audiophiles. So, like many now well known designers, they decided to start a business to share their ideas with other people and to possibly make some money of it.

The system, that was presented in Sobieski Hotel did not perform, during the first day, as well as it was expected. But whoever decided to give it another shot on Sunday found out what kind of outstanding performance this system was capable of. In fact I asked the guys what had they changed since Saturday and they said they hadn't changed a thing. Thus the great mystery of an “always better sound on Sunday” remained unsolved. While the sound was impressive, also the design, make and finish proved that it was possible to make a world class audio products in our country. These amps reminded me somehow Tom Willis' (of ArtAudio) products because of their shining silver chassis. Such a refinement of external design was a bit surprising – after all DIY guys usually didn't get too attached to the look of their devices as they always knew it was only temporary, until some upgrade had to be made, or they would use the same chassis for some other project. In other words – I'd heard many good sounding DIY products but most of them looked like crap. In this case Maciej Lenar and Marcin Sołowiow, founders of Amare Musica, decided that if they wanted not only have fun while creating new designs but also to try to sell them to the audiophiles, they had to offer not only outstanding performance but also top level look of their “babies”. I believe, and many people I asked about it also confirmed, that Amare guys achieved exactly what they wanted to.
I have already used terms like "high-end", “top performance” and so on, that are heavily abused these days. But since, as vacuum tubes aficionado, I could not resist and asked to provide De Forest and Trinity for test (review was published in the "Hi-Fi Choice - Polish Edition" magazine) I had a chance to listen to this set in my system for several days. That gave me ground to assure you that in this case these were absolutely deserved terms. De Forest and Trinity not only looked great but performed even better offering an unique, extraordinary musical experience (and, as far as I know, preamplifier has been even refined since then).

An interview with…
Maciej Lenar, i Marcin Sołowiow/Amare Musica

Marek Dyba: It all started last year with fantastic preamplifier and monoblocks, so is now an integrated amp a natural addition to your portfolio?
Amare Musica: The presentation during last year's Audio Show was a huge success, but a lot of people asked us if we were planning on developing also an integrated amp. Since we planned it anyway the interest from potential customers only urged us to speed up our work. We figured out what we wanted to do, chose power tubes and drivers and than started to design particular layout and the external design.

For your top monoblocks you chose 300XLS power tubes, that in fact worked like “regular” 300B, which was an interesting choice considering that you might have squeezed bit more output power from them. This time you chose more powerful tube, that is hardly seen in any commercial products.
It was no coincident that we chose the most powerful Emission Labs triode. The EML1605 produces 23 W, which is enough to drive most of the speakers available on the market. The choice of a driver was even simpler – we chose EML20B that did great job in Trinity, while driving a pair of EML300B-XLS. So in fact we utilized similar concept as before and finally arrived at completely DHT (Direct Heated Triode) design..

Unlike most of tube devices manufacturers around the world you chose to deliver your products with top quality tubes. Other manufacturers use good quality, inexpensive products of Electro-Harmonix, JJ, or one of the Chinese brands.
Emission Labs produce top notch tubes, offering both great quality and sound, but it has to cost a lot. EML1605 combines best elements of the sound of triodes like: PX25 and 300B with an output power of 845, or 211. So what we offer to the customer is amazing performance of our product right out of the box. He does not have to find out which other tubes to buy to get the maximum performance of an amplifier he already paid a lot for. Of course it effects the price of our device, as these tubes don't come cheap, but on the other hand we also did what we could to expand tubes lifespan so the customer doesn't have to worry about buying replacement soon.

This time you opted for a solid-state power supply, why?
Yes, we felt that for this project it would be a better solution than tube rectifier, and one thing I can tell you for sure is that it did not effect the sound in any negative way.

During the time between previous and this review you have shown me a lot of rendered designs – is it how you work? Everything is created with proper software in a computer?
Before we build a prototype all elements including PCBs, and even elements mounted on them is put together in a software called Solidworks. That allows us to really see z 3D image of our new product. Doing it virtually on a screen allows us to see if there are any errors in our design and we can actually avoid making them when building our prototype.

Amare Musica made an interesting choice and based their products on silver (transformer windings are handmade with pure silver wire, part of internal wiring is silver), which reminds me of the Kondo Souga amplifier, that I had a chance to review a few months ago (HERE). Obviously I am not going to suggest that Polish and Japanese amps are equally good (Souga is an absolute, top high-end, stratospheric, cosmic device... well here comes my exaltation again), but there are certain similarities in the sound character of both of them, perhaps resulting from the use of silver wire in the output transformers.
Since my first review of Amare Musica products I spoke with both designers on many occasions and they told me a lot about their ideas for their coming products. One that in fact already made it to company's portfolio is a Silver Passive Power Station. As the name suggests it also sports silver wires inside, and its external design perfectly matches before mentioned electronics. Also, a few months ago, I had an opportunity to listen to a very promising, though still not ready for public presentation, D/A Converter and I can't wait to lay my hands on final version ever since!

When it came to choosing a product for September issue of “High Fidelity” magazine I was informed that a new integrated amplifier called Entropy was ready. This is yet another tube device, although I know that guys are also planning to add a solid-state amp to their portfolio in the near future. When I saw specs of this amp there were no real surprises. It was a class A SET (single-ended triode) sporting also this time Emission Labs tubes. By the look of that device I could also immediately tell that it was Amare Musica – same stainless steel, finished in a silver, high gloss chassis (although almost any color requested by customer might be applied), a large, easy to read "matrix" LED display, the same outstanding, world class quality fit and finish, which, as a bonus for an audiophile, assures a high WAF.

Recordings used during test (a selection):

  • Lee Ritenour, Rhythm sessions, Concord Records CRE 33709-02, CD/FLAC.
  • Metallica, Metallica, Warner Bros. 511831-1, 4 x LP.
  • AC/DC, Live, EPIC E2 90553, LP.
  • Kate Bush, The sensual world, Audio Fidelity AFZLP 082, 180 g LP.
  • Joseph Haydn, Les sept dernieres paroles de notre Rédempteur sur la Croix, Le Concert des Nations, Jordi Savall, Astree B00004R7PQ, CD/FLAC.
  • Gene Ammons, Boss Tenor, JVC JVCXR-0033, XRCD/FLAC.
  • Krzysztof Herdzin Trio, Almost after, Jazz Forum Records 020, CD/FLAC.
  • Harry Gregson-Williams, Kingdom of Heaven OST, Sony B00080EUN0, CD/FLAC.
  • Dead Can Dance, Spiritchaser, 4AD/Mobile Fidelity MOFI 2-002, 180 g LP.
  • Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, Ella and Louis, Verve/Lasting Impression Music LIM UHD 045, CD/FLAC.
  • Keith Jarrett, The Köln Concert, ECM/Universal Music Japan UCCE-9011, CD/FLAC.
  • Rodrigo y Gabriela, 11:11, EMI Music Poland 5651702, CD/FLAC.
  • The Oscar Peterson Trio, Night train, VERVE/ORG ORG 029, 180 g LP.
  • Pink Floyd, Wish you were here, EMI Records Japan TOCP-53808, CD/FLAC.
  • Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin, Atlantic/Warner Music WPCR-11611, CD/FLAC.

While the previously mentioned Trinity monoblocks were based on EML 300B-XLS tubes (two per channel in PSE configuration), the Entropy sports a pair of EML 1605 output tubes.

That is the most powerful triode in the current range of this tube manufacturer, offering up to 23 watts per channel (from SE) vs 18 watts that were delivered by a single Trinity monoblock (PSE). Driver tubes are exactly the same as in Trinity - EML 20B, but the difference this time is the use of semiconductors in the power supply module (monoblocks sport 5U4G rectifiers). Front panel sports a beautiful, easy to read even from a distance LED display in the middle, with two knobs on the sides. One is a volume control and the other is an input selector. Information you can read on the display are which input is used and what's the current volume level. Once you turn the amplifier on there is a countdown from 30 to zero that you can see on a display - fortunately after reaching zero there is no big boom, at least not as an explosion, as the sound might knock you off your shoes. Designers used a delayed anode voltage switching (which prolongs tubes life) and that's what these 30 seconds are for. The amplifier features an awesome looking remote control, that allows you not to touch amplifier itself – believe me, you don't want to do it – not only gets it hot, but each time you touch it you'll leave your fingerprints on, and these don't get off so easily. Although the remote is finished exactly in the same way as amp, but it's surely easier to clean plus it's not really a part of your living room's decor. Back panel sports three pairs of RCA inputs and speaker terminals. The latter, in the reviewed unit, were set to work with 8-ohm speakers. I learned that output transformers also have a second, 4-ohm taps, so its is possible to either order an amplifier with 4-ohm outputs, or to change that when on owner replaces 8-ohm speakers with 4-ohm ones, which, of course, should be done by the manufacturer as it involves soldering. During this test apart from my 8-ohm Bastianis Matterhorn I had also 4-ohm Amphion Argon 7L at my disposal, which gave me an opportunity to check the performance of Entropy with both loadings (but with 8-ohm outputs only!). My little experiment confirmed what is a common knowledge – a choice of speakers to play with particular amplifier is very important. Amare with 8-ohm taps did not do justice to 4-ohm Amphions. In fact I used this setup at the beginning because when I received Entropy I had Argons hooked to my amp and I was too lazy to switch one damn heavy set of speakers for another, even heavier one. Performance wasn't perfect but all I cared about at the beginning was to give Entropy a chance to break fully in and “accommodate” in my room/system before I could start any serious listening sessions. Finally to start assessing Entropy's true potential I switched speakers to my 8-ohm Matterhorns and Entropy almost immediately offered its gratitude for better suited load by delivering much better, impressive from the very beginning performance.

To make it clear – neither Argon 7L nor Entropy were poor performers but to hook them together wasn't the best idea as neither of them could present their real value. A valuable lesson for those who just start their audiophile adventure – for your system to perform at its best you need to take care about all components matching each others requirements! If you have an amplifier with 8-ohm taps, it is most likely that it will perform best with 8-ohm loading – obvious? Yes, but I've seen crazier things...

When setting up a new company one of the things you need to decide is who should be your target group of customers. Starting from most demanding, hi-end aficionados is a bold move, but that was Amare Musica's choice and I respect and admire that. But that would mean nothing if they couldn't come up with products that would truly represent top quality of both workmanship and sound quality. De Forest and Trinity proved that Marcin and Maciej were not bold but rather aware of what they had managed to accomplish. Even though they had a real high-end products they were also aware that there were not so many potential customers in our country who could really afford these. Therefore, the next project they created was an integrated amplifier, much less expensive although surely nobody would call it cheap. But the point is that market in our country for tube amplifiers with this price tag is surely bigger. Unfortunately, as I mentioned already many times in my texts, Polish market is quite a specific one, because it is not enough to create a product equally good as similarly priced foreign ones to convince Polish customers to chose Polish product. It has to be better – it's a paradox I mentioned so many times before, which I personally simply don't understand. Anyway that's a reality Polish manufacturers have to deal with. So even though Entropy is "only" an integrated amp, a step down compared to the pre/monos set, if you will, its designers made sure that it would still uphold the high standards of older brothers in terms of both, build and finish, and performance. To achieve that they equipped this amp with transformers that were also hand-wound with silver wire, casing was made of stainless steel with equal care and same excellent fit and finish, only high quality components and expensive EML tubes were used - all that to provide customers still great performance for less money. The key question is: have they managed to achieve their goal? The answer is: hell yeah! I mean, of course you have every right to expect a lot of an amplifier at this price level anyway, but you shouldn't really expect that you'd get a performance that would come quite close to the top of the line set, that cost twice as much.

And the fact is that the difference in performance, or build quality, or finish for that matter, if you ask me, is way smaller than anybody could expect judging by price difference. Entropy reminds me a bit of Ayon Crossfire, which is a great example of a tube amp fully capable of delivering fast, powerful, taut bass together with sweet, smooth and dense midrange – something that amplifiers based on one of KT line tube (KT 88, 90 or 120) usually can't do (I mean the midrange part). Entropy behaves a bit like some chameleon adapting itself to the music it plays. One of the first albums that I "seriously" auditioned was the last one of Lee Ritenour, called ‘’Rhythm Sessions’’. As the title already suggest this recording is about the rhythm, led by drums, electric bass guitar, and sometimes acoustic bass. And whichever that actually is in particular moment it usually offers taut, powerful, fast kick which is quite hard to reproduce for most tube amplifiers. But Entropy delivered this recording in amazingly truthful manner even though my speakers are not actually masters of fast and taut bass. When I played this recording, Crossfire came to my mind immediately. I remembered what Ayon did with the speakers I had at the time, which were Jericho-like design with a single Fostex widerange driver. I listened to this setup with a friend of mine and when he played some piece by Timbaland we both experienced the famous jaw-on-the-floor effect - that's how impressed we both were. Never before and ever after did these speakers rock that much. This time it was Entropy that took me by surprise. There was this tight, punctual rhythm, excellent timing, outstanding definition and differentiation of bass, that was truly colorful and agile. Kick drum was really... kicking with authority. The electric bass guitar delivered fast attack, and rapid damping of a string if necessary. The acoustic bass on the other hand was nothing but long, vibrant decay with lots of wood in the sound. Lee's guitar sounded smooth and colorful, and Hammonds, that appeared in some songs, could not have been mistaken with any other instrument, as their tone was so beautifully relayed. By the way, that's a fantastic album, highly recommended also because there are so many jazz stars supporting Lee.

Since it went so well with Lee Ritenour's recording, I decided to check how would Amare fare with even heavier repertoire, that both Crossfire Mk I and Mk II played damn well. One of the records of famous black album of Metallica, taken from the 4LP issue, landed on the platter and then stylus hit the groove. Although this is still not a perfect recording, but this particular issue is surely much better than any other I've ever heard, and it says a lot about the capabilities of the equipment that is playing it. Entropy did not let me down. Maybe it didn't offer such an incredible drive, as Crossfire did, but still it was doing more than OK. Having at its disposal around 10W per channel less it still offered a powerful and perfectly controlled performance, with nicely layered soundstage, and bit rough and powerful electric guitars. It also confirmed its outstanding pace&rhythm and a good timing. There was another album waiting for its turn – this time a live concert of Australian veterans, AC/DC. These guys are just human vulcanos of energy pumping more and more energy with every second they're on the stage. It is not possible to relay this amount of energy at home, in a listening room, no matter how good the system, how large the speakers. However, it is possible to relay this event in a certain scale, which in a listening room should be more than enough to get the feeling of what these guys do. And it's not really about how loud a system can play with no signs of compression or clipping, it's more about how much energy it is able to transfer from record to listener, how lively the reproduced sound is. So I use this record during my tests a lot and each time I play it and sit quietly in my chair I know there is something wrong with item under review. Because if it sounds right than it doesn't matter how I feel, what time is it, how shitty was my day, nothing matters in fact. I get up from my chair and have fun – when that happens I know this particular piece of equipment is doing pretty well. Yes, it is easier done by solid-state amps, than by tube ones – that's not a kind of music that requires sophistication, smooth, rich midrange and so on - on the contrary, it is about brute force, dynamics, perfect rhythm, and a bit of madness, and most tubes can not do it. Entropy is therefore an exception from that rule that drives speakers in a way allowing them to reproduce proper portion of the energy, thunderous dynamics, some roughness that allows electric guitars to sound right, but at the same time delivering quite a tube-like mids which made Brian Johnson's vocal clarity better than usual.

Knowing already that the reviewed amplifier wasn't missing on dynamics or power, I changed repertoire for a music that usually sounds well with tube's magic. I started with a beautiful Kate Bush recording. Here, everything revolved around the extraordinary voice of this singer and its presentation actually determined whether the recording sounded good or not. For me the performance was good as long as when I closed my eyes I could see Kate dressed in some long robe, dancing in the woods like some dryad. I haven't been watching any music TV in years and thus had no opportunity to refresh my memory, so I can't really remember which clip this scene is from, but I can remember that Kate danced in woods in one of her clips, so what I see in not just my fantasy but rather a memory... Anyway, system with Entropy was able to beautifully relay Kate's voice, its timbre, tone, texture, and to put her in front of my eyes in my room, so I knew, this amazing amp was doing great. Add to that this magical ambiance of wuthering heights and mysterious, dark sacred spots, and tones and tones of emotions that are the most important elements of Kate's music. It is not possible to deliver all that without wonderful, rich, smooth, colorful midrange and the fact that Entropy was able to do it reminded me of Crossfire again. These amps can strike you with power and authority, but when necessary charm you with 300B sweetness – a fantastic combination.

Amare played in the most amazing fashion all the old recordings I tried it with – for example the amazing recording of the great couple - Ella and Louis. These two voices, so different and yet somehow similar in their uniqueness, brilliantly intertwined, tangible, crystal clear, vibrant, powerful, were shown with the same level same of precision and thoroughness as Kate Bush's vocal before. Also Louis Armstrong's trumpet showed its magic sounding smooth and gentle to turn into sharp, even rough demon in a split of a second. In fact each time Entropy played any acoustic instruments these did sound “tube-like” with true colors, smoothness, beautiful timbre, tangibility and holography of the presentation that only high quality tube devices can offer. All that came really close to what I remembered from my session with the top of the line Amare set. And while the 300B triode is able to even further fine-tune a midrange, it usually comes with a cost of somehow rolled off range extremes. Amare Musica amplifiers, including Entropy, are more versatile, they do present midrange with a particular care but the same goes for treble and bass. In the summary of my De Forest/Trinity review I wrote that they offered perhaps the best treble I'd ever heard not only from a tube amplifier, but from any amplifier at all. And I did not mean that this set favored this part of the frequency range, but that it presented it in an extraordinary, remarkable way still perfectly integrated with the rest of the range. It was the treble that showed biggest difference between Entropy and De Forest/Trinity set, as this time treble was really good, but not as brilliant. It's hard to tell if it was done on purpose (by the designers), but the fact is that the sound of Entropy is very consistent throughout the whole range, so it is possible that it was a decision not to produce such a great treble as before, because it would not integrate so well with the rest of the frequency range as it does now. But yet what we get is an open, vibrant, detailed treble, simply not as rich as the top model offered. It is though nicely extended and there are no rounded, nor sharp edges, which in case of a tube amp is quite an achievement. Haydn's Les sept paroles dernieres ... is one of my favorite recordings when it comes to assessing any audio device in terms of spacing, holography of the presentation. It proved beyond doubt that the Entropy is genuine tube device. It delivered amazingly huge, three-dimensional soundstage, and tangible 3D images, which is clearly high quality tube amps domain. Listening to this recording I felt like, no, not just felt, I was just a tiny little man sitting in a huge church, overwhelmed by its vastness and by the power of the performance, experiencing some absolutely extraordinary music. It was an amazing, beautiful experience and, at least in my case, it is just this kind of experience I expect when I sit in my chair, turn on my system and start listening, no wait, not listening – experiencing wonderful music. Flat, nicely extended at both ends frequency range, no obvious downsides it all allows Amare Musica Entropy to play any music in a fabulous manner giving its owner an experience much more profound than just listening to some recordings.


Most companies build their portfolio moving up from the bottom to the top offer. Amare Musica kind of reversed this process – they started with top preamplifier and monoblocks and now move down the ladder. On one hand, it may just be easier because after they created a top achievement now what they had to do was to “reduce” its performance to fit into lower price range. On the other hand, the expectations of those who heard the top model are huge and can't be easily satisfied with an easy: it is less expensive so it doesn't perform that well as the more expensive one. If you hear a system that you love but can't afford you look for a one within your financial reach that would deliver as similar performance as possible. In this particular case, I think you will not be disappointed. This is obviously not the best amp in the world, it is less expensive although not really cheap, but it offers still damn good value for the money. Throw in the world-class finish, the utmost care for all the details, including the use of only high quality components and what you get is a unique device that can successfully compete with products of other, commonly known brands. Amare Musica has one more advantage over them – it is designed and made in Poland!

Amare Musica Entropy is a tube , single-ended integrated amplifier working in pure class A. It sports direct-heated triodes, offering the output power of 23 watts per channel. The power tubes are the most powerful triodes of Emission Labs, called 1605, and these are driven by a pair of 20B tubes of the same brand. The enclosure is made of 2 mm polished stainless steel, which gives an almost mirror-like surface (though it is possible to paint it with almost any color customer might wish). The transformers covers are made of a soft steel. Unlike most tube device manufacturers Amare Musica decided to used high quality, expensive tubes. To expand their lifespan the manufacturer took care of delayed anode voltage switching and the soft-start of heaters. The whole operation of the amplifier is controlled by a programmable logic circuit with LED display "matrix", that is placed in the center of a front panel. And I must say it is a great display that allows you to read everything easily even from a distance of 3-4 meters. On the front there are also two knobs, both finished in the same way as the front panel - volume control and input selector. On the back panel there are very nice, solid WBT speaker terminals, three pairs of CMC silver RCA sockets, that are soldered directly to the input selector, and an equally solid, high quality Furutech IEC power inlet. There are only single pairs of speakers terminals so you should chose whether these should be 4 or 8Ω before you buy your own unit. The terminals of a reviewed unit were connected to 8Ω taps of output transformers, but the transformers sport also 4Ω taps, so it is possible to change that even later (which should be done by authorized technician). Entropy transformers are wound by hand with silver (!) wire. Internal wiring is also made of a high quality silver and oxygen-free copper, coupling capacitors are Jensen Copper Foil Paper Tube and cathode resistors are Caddocks. In this model, the designers chose not to use vacuum tube rectification - each tube has a separate solid-state power supply (CLC). Volume control is an attenuator made by the company Danish Audio Connect ( DACT). It is a resistor ladder made of low noise and non-inductive SMD resistors.

Technical data:

  • Type: single-ended, pure Class A
  • Tube compliment:
  • Output: 2 x EML1605
  • Input: 2 x EML20B
  • Load impedance: 8Ω
  • Frequency response (-3 dB): 5 Hz-100 kHz
  • Output Power: 2 x 23 W
  • Input Impedance (1kHz): 50 kΩ
  • Signal / noise ratio (full power): 98 dB
  • Volume control: DACT attenuator
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Inputs: 3 x RCA line
  • Display: LED "matrix"
  • Dimensions (with tubes): 430 x 425 x 310 mm
  • Weight: 38 kg