What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Wed, 18 Apr 2007, 2:00pm

Croft Polestar 1

Tested at £800
100100
5

Together with the Precession 1 preamp, this power amp is a truly great buy - timing is exceptional.

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For

  • A fast, insightful sound
  • timing is exceptional
  • value

Against

  • Many rivals go louder

Never heard of Croft? We're hardly surprised: the company, which still hand-builds everything here in the UK, isn't as well known as it should be. Judging by this power amp, we've all been missing out.

We tested the power amp with the battery-powered Precession 1 preamp, which uses 10 AA cells with an estimated life of around 1000 hours. The advantages? You don't have to pay for a main-based power supply, while the sound quality is improved thanks to the clean power feed.  

This 25w-per-channel valve/transistor hybrid Polestar 1 power amp creates something about as enjoyable as it gets for the money. The midrange, transparent and revealing, is one of its standout characteristic; another is exquisite timing.

From Busta to Beethoven
True, that relativity low output means that you'll need to stick to fairly sensitive speakers, say 89dB or more; if not, high volumes will be off the menu in larger rooms.

However, get the speaker-matching right and the Croft combo is as at home with the likes of Busta Rhymes as it is with Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, which is hardly a surprise given the excellent detail resolution, speed, dynamics and – above all – refinement.

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