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Integrated amplifier

Fezz Audio

Manufacturer: FEZZ AUDIO
Price (at the time of the review): 9900 PLN

ul. Mazowiecka 20
16-001 Księżyno | Polska

The tested product was supplied by: FEZZ AUDIO

hen Mr. Maciej Lachowski, the owner of the FEZZ AUDIO called me to remind me about the review we had agreed a long time but that somehow did not happen so far, the whole wave of memories came to my mind. The call was about the Mira Ceti model, i.e. a 300B SET. It was this triode that my unwavering passion for SET amplifiers really began with.

| A trip down the memory lane

I remember the first few meetings and auditions in home systems of other music lover in different parts of our country, where we listened to SET amplifiers, sometimes featuring single, sometimes double 300B tubes (per channel). Each time I was simply enchanted with 300B magic, absorbing every single note of music played in THIS way. Actually, from the very first time it was clear to me that one day I would have to have such an amplifier, because this way of listening to music, or rather communing with it, was the best for me. And though later I listened to a lot of other types of amplifiers, the 300B always remained MY beloved triode.

From these first experiences I remembered also, that the discussions with the owners of these devices were no less interesting than listening itself. They were also quite different than those with other audiophiles. It is a matter of a different, specific culture of this group of people. I emphasize the word "different" because it is not about its superiority, but about being different. For when you talk to SET fans and, more generally, to tube devices lovers, the main topic of conversation is (almost) always the music, not system. Emotions, sensations, how real particular recording sounded like, or some instrument – that's what truly matters to them. Audio system is only a means to an end, to a close, intimate contact with music. These people talk much less about resolution, detail, treble, bass extension, and so on, and more about how beautifully a violin, guitar or double bass sounded.

Secondly, if the conversation concerns "hardware", it is still about ideas about how to bring out even more "music from recording", for example, earning by acquiring some rare NOS tubes, trying new brands, models of tubes that can be found on the market. etc. I am not saying that I have never heard from the tube enthusiast that the system sounded better due to a new cable or power strip, but such cases are much rarer than among fans of other solutions. Also because usually those who found “their” sound in the system with SET amplifier don't change their minds, find their peace, so to speak, or no longer feel the urge to constantly search for something new. After all, if you keep changing your system it means that there is something wrong with it if you need to keep looking for something else, now components, solutions, and so on. But when you find your sound, like most SET lovers did, you can focus on music and forget about hardware.

Maybe it's partly due to the magical glow of tubes, partly to the richness of harmonics, maybe also in part to an exceptionally natural, organic sound. Actually, it is not that important. What is important is that despite the fact that the era of electron tubes has theoretically passed long ago, still the tube-sound delights millions of people around the world.

It delighted also me once, a long time ago, and I just had to have one of such amps – the first choice was Abraxas featuring double 300B per channel, that I enjoyed for several years. Then came the Polish Amplifon (push-pull), after a while I returned to the full-blooded 300B SET with the legendary Western Electric tubes, designed by Tom Willis (ArtAudio). A few years later, during the visit at the Audio Show in Warsaw, the designer upgraded my Symphony II with output transformers with ones from even higher model (Diavolo), which was a clear improvement and only ensured me, that 300B SET was MY sound.

And although since then I listened to a lot of SET amplifiers, but also PP ones that outperformed my Symphony II (while costing several times more), and one of them, the remarkable, stunning Kondo Souga (that utilizes 2A3 and not 300B) remains on the top of my to-die-for list, and the work of the reviewer requires me to use powerful solid-state amps on daily basis – I still have my 300B SET and listen to it, when it is about my own pleasure.

| Tubes for all!

As I mentioned before, with the advent and development of the transistors, the era of tubes has come to an end. Today, they are a product belonging to the luxury category. The availability of the valves from the "golden age", the so-called NOS, get worse and worse and the prices constantly rise, and those manufactured today in most cases are not able to compete with those from several dozen years ago. Although, on occasion, some tubes of current production offer a very good quality (Takatsuki 300B, to name one). This effect also prices of tube amplifiers, making them hardly or not at all affordable for many people who are not ready to choose between buying a car and an amplifier.

Only a few years ago the only solution was to buy an amplifier from Ukraine or from China. However, as probably some of you read in economics books, the market has its rules and where there is a demand, sooner or later there will be also a supply. It seemed obvious, then, that in our country tube designs must sooner or later pop up on the market, and not only those from top shelf (such as ones from Ancient Audio), but also those more friendly priced. We have witnessed it happening, and today there are already several brands producing tube amplifiers in Poland. For the most part, they are small manufactures operating on a small scale, such as Linear Audio Research, Encore 7, Ardento, and others.

| Fezz Audio

There is also a company that has already grown quite a bit up over the past few years, largely due to export of their products. I mean the company that delivered one of their products fro this test - FEZZ AUDIO. Several factors contributed to its success, and one of the key ones was another family business - - a manufacturer of toroidal transformers known and used not only by Polish audio manufacturers, but also by many foreign ones. Hence the idea of developing amplifiers different from most offered on the market - namely ones utilizing toroidal output transformers.

That, plus the fact that a large part of the components for Fezz amplifiers is made in-house, allowed manufacturer on the one hand to control most of the production process, and thus to have a huge impact on the quality of those components and in this way on the performance of ready products, and on the other it allowed FEZZ to reduce costs. So when they released first compact, colorful, well-made and well-looking tube amplifiers on the market at prices that until recently were reserved only for products manufactured in China, they were on a path to a huge success. As soon as it turned out that the sound was of even higher quality than the prices suggested, the success was imminent.

It all began with the Silver Luna featuring popular EL34 pentodes. Later came next models, for example one utilizing KT88 (Titania), and during the recent Audio Video Show in Warsaw we could see, and listen to a true „moster” using KT150, named Magnetor. The boldest move, n my opinion, was however developing a 300B SET amplifier that could be offered for less than 10.000 PLN.

Usually the 300B amps cost tens, sometimes even hundreds of thousands, and Fezz Audio offered a version for the people. Sure, 10,000 it is still a lot of money, but if you fall in love with the sound of this magic tube, but are not willing to spend 20, 30 or even more thousands of zlotys, nor do you want a product from China, then you finally have a chance to buy a Polish product at reasonable price.

Although, to be fair, I have to remind you that there are other Polish 300B SETS on the market featuring though classic output transformers from, for example, JAG Electronics or White Bird Amplification, which are also reasonably priced. Other Fezz products, at least those I had a chance to listen to so far, offer better sonic performance than the price tags suggest, better than similarly, and even a somewhat higher priced competition. If this would be true also for Mira Ceti, it would be a real treat for SET fans. Once the amplifier finally arrived for the review, I could find that out for myself.

| Mira Ceti

As you surely know from your own experience, images do not necessarily reflect the scale of what they present. On the one hand, I knew that Fezz Audio products are neither big nor as heavy as those from other manufacturers. On the other hand, when I started unpacking Mira Ceti from a very decent box, I was still a bit surprised. First, however, shortly about this packaging - theoretically it is very simple, made of plain, though thick, cardboard featuring ordinary foams inside. It's just that everything is well laid out and tailored so that the amplifier, the tube cover, as well as the tubes themselves and the remote are stored very safely and they will reach probably even to further corner of the world undamaged. The device itself measures only 34 by 36 by 21.5 cm and weighs modest (as per SET 300B) 14 kg.

The unit I received for the test was finished in black. I once tested Silver Luna Prestige in red finish, which is probably the most spectacular one they offer. However, the question whether such an "aggressive" color is really the best for a long term relation remains open. A slightly conservative black is probably a safer choice, and with silver add-ons in the form of knobs, a large plaque with the logo of the company placed in the middle of the front, or circular housings of transformers made of polished acid-proof sheets, it looks really good.

The design is quite simple - two medium-sized knobs on the front – a volume control and an input selector. On the back there is a power inlet and the on/off switch, three pairs of RCA sockets (inputs) and loudspeaker connectors with separate taps for 4 and 8 Ω. And that's it. There is a cover for tubes that one can use, or decide not to. Optionally one may order a unit with remote control and if they do they will receive a really nice looking remote control. Another paid options are: additional HT input (power-in input), and a Bluetooth module (prices: remote 390 PLN | HT input: 390 PLN | Aluminum front PLN 390 | Bluetooth 4.2 Aptx Low latency module PLN 390).

The remote control is a small, neat unit with a metal frame, and a front made (probably) of black acrylic, featuring two useful buttons (for volume control) and a rubberized back (so the pilot does not slip either in a hand or if you put it on some surface). In addition, there is a small element, a kind of a holder that can be mounted in a chosen place, and both the holder and the remote feature magnets that keep them together.

I really like the design. Sure, it's minimalistic, not flashy, but when developing relatively reasonably priced products, manufacturer has to find some ways to limit the costs. In my opinion the right choice is to have a product without shiny, eye-catching elements but with simple, elegant appearance, set of useful features, and user-friendly. Fezz Audio, in my opinion, with Mira Ceti did just that. The only thing left to do was to check whether the performance can meet the expectations of great 300B fan, or infect some new people, who are not aware of the glory of SET, with passion for this type of amplifier.

FEZZ AUDIO in „High Fidelity”
  • TEST FROM THE COVER: Fezz Audio Ω LUPI | headphone amplifier
  • TEST: Fezz Audio TITANIA | integrated amplifier
  • TEST: Fezz Audio SILVER LUNA | integrated amplifier

  • Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion):

    • Chopin Recital, wyk. Maurizio Pollini, Toshiba-EMI EAC-55137, LP
    • TREME, soundtrack, Season 1, HBO 0602527508450, CD/FLAC
    • AC/DC, Back in black, SONY B000089RV6, CD/FLAC
    • Aerosmith, Pump, Geffen Records, FLAC
    • Cannonball Adderley, Somethin' else, Classic Records BST 1595-45, LP
    • Dead Can Dance, Spiritchaser, 4AD/Mobile Fidelity MOFI 2-002, 180 g LP
    • Dire Straits, Love over gold, VERTIGO 25PP-60, LP
    • Eva Cassidy, The Best of, Blix Street Records G8-10206, LP
    • Georges Bizet, Carmen, RCA Red Seal SPA 25 064-R/1-3, LP
    • Guns N' Roses, Use your illusion 2, Geffen Records B000000OSG, CD/FLAC
    • Kermit Ruffins, Livin' a Treme life, Basin Street B001T46TVU, CD/FLAC
    • Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Atlantic 8122796438, LP
    • Lee Ritenour, Rhythm sessions, Concord Records CRE 33709-02, CD/FLAC
    • Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain, Columbia PC8271, LP
    • Mozart, Cosi Fan Tutte, dyr. Teodor Currentzis, wyk. MusicAeterna Orchestra, Sony Classical B00O1AZGD6, LP
    • Wycliff Gordon, Dreams of New Orleans, Chesky B0090PX4U4, CD/FLAC

    Japanese issues available at

    Shortly before my test, or perhaps even during his test, Mr. Maciej presented a photo from some show on Facebook, probably from the Netherlands, with Mira Ceti driving Avantgarde Acoustics, that cost several dozen thousand euros. I am not sure if such a set was created by the distributor of AA or of Fezz Audio, but in any case, despite the huge price difference, it had to sound good enough to be used for official presentation. I thought about when connecting the Polish amplifier with GrandiNote MACH4 speakers. The latter cost “only” 18 thousand. euro. So, at least in theory, it was another mismatch, but from the point of view of testing the cheaper component, it was highly desired one. /p>

    For, let's call it: educational, purposes let me remind you how critically important issue for all those who fall in love with the sound of a SET, especially one with low output, or those who want to try or "taste" music from 300B, 2A3, or 45 – IS A SELECTION OF THE RIGHT LOUDSPEAKERS! People who don't appreciate such amplifiers often claim that the low power results in limited dynamics, and lack of lower bass, and the lack of bass slam. What all these “accusations” actually are, are symptoms of bad pairing of an amplifier with speakers. Because if the pairing is right, i.e. when the loudspeakers are sufficiently easy to drive, which means not only above-average efficiency, but also, and perhaps even above all, proper impedance curve, the results will be very different, or simply excellent.

    I my case, when choosing between my own speakers, Ubiq Audio Model One (that cost also almost 15,000 euro) or MACH 4 for this test, there was really no choice. The Italian speakers are definitely much friendlier for low-output amplifiers. Suffice it to say that the "normal" volume level in this combination was obtained when volume pot was at circa 2.5-3 (depending on the recording) on a scale from 0 to 11, and it got really loud already at 4 - 5. There was one more, surprising, combination I tried later, but I will leave it for a dessert.

    So, how did this mésalliance sound like (further enhanced by the 9,000 euro LampizatOr Golden Atlantic DAC, or even more expensive J.Sikora turntable with Kondo cartridge, that by itself is three times more expensive than Mira Ceti)? Damn good, that's how!

    | Jazz

    At the beginning, I listened to the well known (and probably not only to me) live performance from the Jazz at the Pawnshop, this time from the DSD128 files. It was immediately clear that the inexpensive Polish amplifier did not really deviate the typical sonic canons of the 300B SETs. The midrange was smooth, tangible, dense. Each of the instruments leading at the particular moment was "dug out" from the background and even more present, though those playing behind, painted with a rather thick line, well filled, rich, also present there, in my room. The impression of the close, almost intimate contact with musicians, the ambiance of the concert, my legs involuntarily tapping the rhythm – everything that high quality SETs usually offer was also there with Mira Ceti.

    Obviously, it was not the same level of performance as what I knew from Kondo or Air Tight amplifiers. But about a similar way of presenting music in a way, that allowed me to forget about everything else except for the music itself. There was one quite significant difference though – it's a recording that really captures the acoustics of the room remarkably well. As a result, usually when I listen to this album, I feel as if I was there, in a small Swedish club. This time the musicians moved here, to my room. The soundstage was not very big (it isn't in this recording), and the large instruments were quite precisely placed on it, but I could not hear the reverberation of the room as I usually can, and the audience's participation was also somewhat less real than I was used to.

    Yet, there was the same purity and naturalness of the sound of instruments, the almost audible chemistry between the musicians, the impression that they were having a great time on the stage during this recording, and it all was presented in a so-well-known to me, so familiar from the performances delivered by many other SETs, extremely engaging way. Sure, my upgraded Symphony II with Western Electric 300Bs and NOS signal tubes, is more resolving, better conveys the information about the surroundings of musicians, presents even more refined sound and texture of the instruments, adds more sophistication to the presentations and makes me feel even closer to the music.

    It's just with upgrade and these tubes it cost much more, you won't get that for PLN 10,000. And, as always in audio, the difference in sound, unfortunately, is not directly proportional to the price difference. Far from it. The Polish amp playing this album sounded damn good – it may be "cheap", as for the 300B SET, but it was hard to hear that in its performance.

    The Bobo Stenson Trio's Contra La Indecision made me wonder, whether I was really right when claiming my SET was clearly more refined one. Beautiful sounding, rich, saturated piano, sparkling, but well-weighted and differentiated cymbals, or a powerful, large, maybe not perfectly defined, but still very good, convincing double bass – it was all there. All that is beautifully spaced on the soundstage, presented quite close to the listener, with surprisingly (for this price level) good micro-dynamics, with a lot of information, subtleties that I could clearly hear. It was played in an open, airy manner, smoothly, coherently, simply beautifully.

    | Vocals

    This is a SET review, so there was choice - I had to reach for another 300B specialty, vocals. I started with Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea's Play. It sounded ... fantastic. Such music based on an amazing voice and one instrument, played by another genius, should sound just like that, and, in my opinion of course, it does sound like that only when played using high quality tube amplifier. Everything that Bobby can do with his incredible voice has been conveyed in a fabulously natural, saturated and tangible way, regardless of whether he actually sang or produced those amazing sounds, whether he operated at the very top of the impressive scale, or at the very bottom.

    Pure, dense and even organic from the first to the last second – that's how I would describe it. What was more surprising was how well the piano sounded. That's an equally important element of this recording and Chick Corea is as creative in it as Bobby with his voice. The lowest octaves had proper weight and power, the high ones sounded clearly and vividly, the midrange was dense, but precise and as clean as the both band's extremes. Also in this recording the chemistry between performers was conveyed in an absolutely convincing way, and the same goes for the equally lively and convincing audience reactions.

    | Soundtracks

    It would be only natural to keep choosing more and more recordings with beautiful vocals, because it was clear that each of them thanks to a wonderfully natural midrange presentation would sound special. Instead, I played the soundtrack by Alan Silvestri from The Abyss. The film was made just two years after the original Predator, the music was written by the same composer and ... it becomes quite obvious when you listen to both of the soundtracks, as there are a lot of similarities. Mira Ceti stayed calm through all the orchestral madness, kept pace with it, showed its more aggressive and dynamic face.

    It was able to convey the full power of the orchestra when the moment required it, play gently, but without losing detail resolution, in the quietest passages and flawlessly present even the most rapid transitions from the first to the second ones and back. As befits the 300B SET, the Fezz Audio integrated perfectly recreated the atmosphere of this recording/movie, which allow me to repeatedly watch (in my mind) scenes from the movie without turning my TV on. This is one of those unique features of SET amps - they build emotions up, they grip the listener's attention and draw him (or rather he follows willingly) into the world created using music. And once you get in you don't really want to get out.

    | Rock, electric jazz

    Since large, orchestral film music sounded so well, why wouldn't rock or electric jazz? Joe Satriani, Al di Meola, Lee Ritenour, Aerosmith - recordings of each of these artists proved that also for such music based on powerful, electric guitars, Mira Ceti has a lot to offer. Proper drive, high dynamics, good pace&rhythm, saturation of the midrange, with special emphasis on its lower part that give the right amount of "meat" to the guitars, fast, powerful bass guitars, drums with proper kick to them, charismatic rock vocals - everything you need to enjoy such music was there with Mira Ceti.

    Sure, it is possible to play rock harder, faster, with even more slam, in a more controlled way, to create a higher sound pressure in the room. This is a domain of powerful solid-states though. The vocals will no longer be as convincing with them as with the 300B, any imperfections of the recordings, especially those in the upper part of the band will be more irritating, but the drive will be more impressive, the performance more energetic. The choice, of course, belongs to each music fan and will be a result of the preferred repertoire. For me, the way Fezz Audio amplifier played such music would not be an argument against buying it, quite the opposite. In my opinion, for 10,000 zlotys, provided it is paired with proper speakers (not necessarily ones that cost 18 kEUR), it is one of the best and more versatile choices.

    | Experiment

    I promised to mention a little experiment that I performed. When I finished my listening sessions for this review, I decided to check, out of curiosity, how Mira Ceti would fare driving the loudspeakers that I just got for another review from Mr. Marek Koszur from I mean the limited edition of classic, legendary LS3 / 5a monitors prepared for the Rogers 70th anniversary. The British manufacturer turned to the origins of this model and prepared a version with impedance of... 15 Ω. Their efficiency is only 83 dB, and the recommended amplifier's power is 30-80 W.

    „So what!” – that was my first thought after just a minute of listening to this setup. Obviously it sounded different than Mira Ceti paired with much bigger MACH 4. The LS 3/5A are called „shoe boxes” for a reason. They are also a near-field monitors. That's also how I listened to them driven by the Polish amplifier, sitting much closer than usually, having placed them at recommended 60 cm height. There wasn't, as there couldn't be, the same scale and power of the sound, or the same bass extension as with Italian floor-standing speakers. Sound was smaller (in scale), not as dense, as substantial.

    But again - so what? The presentation was lively, fast, taut, crisp and smooth. More important were the really good purity and precision of the sound. The loudspeakers, of course, disappeared from the room better than MACH 4, leaving me alone with a clean, full of air, spacious presentation, with smaller, but precisely spaced, phantom images, which was as engaging and as enjoyable as with bigger speakers.

    I played music from different genres, although avoiding the “heavy” ones, but only because of the size of the speakers, not because of the amplifier driving them. I played as loud as I wanted – no limits there, and Mira Ceti never once struggled with driving Rogers, in no way it let me know that the load was too difficult. I can easily imagine someone who has only a small room at their disposal and bases their system on Mira Ceti and these small (15 Ω !) LS 3/5a combined with some high quality source. I would bet they would be very happy with such system.


    I've already told you everything there is to say about Mira Ceti. If you are looking for a SET amplifier with 300B tubes for (relatively) reasonable price, or maybe you just want to enter the SET world without spending a fortune, the Fezz Audio Mira Ceti made in Poland is one of the best choices you can make. Sure, there are even better amplifiers of this type, but you'd need much more money for them.

    One more thing. Although I have not tried it myself, I bet you can improve the Mira Ceti performance by replacing stock tubes with even better ones. There are many (mostly NOS) signal tubes on the market you can choose from, and some really good 300B triodes too. In my opinion though, you can start with the stock ones, delivered with the device, and only after some time, after getting used to the sound, try to change something. Just remember to pair Mira Ceti with some proper speakers! This is the key to having a real fun with any SET! To achieve a beautiful, palpable, smooth, emotional performance and a truly intimate contact with your favorite music.

    Mira Ceti by Fezz Audio is an integrated tube amplifier. It's a so-called SET, or Single Ended Triode design. Its output stage features the legendary 300B triodes, one per channel, which results in an output of 8 W (per channel). The preamplifier section features 6SN7 triodes. All tubes come from the Russian Electro Harmonix. The device is equipped with three line inputs (with gold-plated RCA sockets). A set of connectors on the rear panel includes also IEC socket (integrated with the on/off switch and the main fuse socket) and simple but robust loudspeaker posts, separate with separate taps for 8 and 4 Ω loading.

    The amplifier itself is relatively small, it is also not particularly heavy. Its fairly simple, metal, rectangular, low-profile chassis' make and finish are fairly good. Its rigidness or finish does not raise any objections. A black-colored specimen with silver transformer cups, silver knobs and a plaque with logo delivered for the test, create a simple, but elegant, eye-catching whole. I think that with WAF (or wife acceptance factor) should not be a problem, and once the tubes start to glow in the dark room, she will love it... :-).

    On the front of the device there are two metal, nicely finished knobs. The left, accompanied by the scale marked around it, is for volume control. The one on the other side, the three-position one, allows you to choose one of three inputs. In the center, there is a metal plaque with a company logo cut out in it, and next to it you can finds model's name. All these elements, combined with silver feet and transformer cups, contrast nicely with the black color of the chassis, giving the device a bit vintage but elegant character. On the upper surface of the housing at the front there are sockets for the tubes, while the large, silver, shiny caps in the back house output transformers. The device comes equipped with a large, removable cover for tubes.

    A remote control is not a standard element of the Mira Ceti but an option available upon order. The unit delivered for the test was equipped with this function so I could enjoy using this very neat and exceptionally well-made remote. The metal frame and the front made of black acrylic look better than many plastic remote controls added to much more expensive devices. Available options for this model include also: the HT input (for the home theater systems – it's a power-in input), the Bluetooth module compatible with the 4.2 Aptx Low latency codec and the aluminum front.

    Technical specifications (according to manufacturer):

    Type: stereo integrated tube amplifier
    Output: 2 x 8W
    Circuit type: Single Ended, class A
    Output impedance: 4Ω | 8Ω
    Inputs: 3 x RCA
    THD: < 0.4%
    Frequency range: 20Hz-65kHz (-3dB)
    Power consumption: 115W
    AC fuse: 3.15A
    Weight: 14 kg
    Dimensions: 340 x 360 x 215mm
    Tube complement: 300B x 2 (power tubes), 6SN7 x 2 (input and driver)
    BIAS: automatic
    Options: remote control, HT input, aluminum front panel, Bluetooth module