The Roksan Caspian integrated amp has been around in one form or another for almost 15 years. Over that time the design has been consistently developed to keep it challenging for class honours.
The Caspian's revised appearance will split opinion; the chromed control knobs and brushed stainless steel cover didn't find universal favour here. That said, at least it's distinctive and very well made.
Take that lid off and there's plenty to see. The amplifier has two mains transformers: a small 60VA toroidal to power the preamp section and a much chunkier 350VA unit for the power amplifier sections.
With the aim of boosting performance, the circuit layout has been revised, a balanced input added and components upgraded.
The amp can also be driven harder than before, thanks to enhanced heat-sinks and a cooling fan that comes on when needed.
Lastly, the M2 has gained the learning remote handset that already comes as standard with Roksan's Kandy range.
This classy control puts the offerings from the likes of Naim, Cyrus and Arcam to shame.
More after the break
How does the Caspian M2 perform? In a word, wonderfully. Its presentation is big and powerful, much more so than before.
This newfound authority is coupled to significantly higher levels of transparency and detail resolution.
The result is an amp that sounds gorgeous with something dense like Mahler's 5th Symphony, where it sets up a huge, well focused sound stage and delivers large-scale dynamic swings with ease.
However, switch genres and the M2 is more than happy to chill out to Bob Marley's Turn Your Lights Down Low, where its naturally fluid rhythmic abilities shine.
This is an immensely capable amplifier that sounds far stronger than a rated outputs of 85 Watts per channel would suggest. It's tonally rich without sacrificing agility, so should be easy to partner, too.