Croft Polestar 1 review

This power amp has a relatively low output, but the sound is sublime Tested at £800.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

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


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    A fast, insightful sound

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    timing is exceptional

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  • -

    Many rivals go louder

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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.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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