This is the Musical Fidelity A5.5, an upgraded version of the heavyweight A5 integrated amp, a mainstay of the company's range for over three years. The 250W per channel design benefits from improved output devices, an enhanced feedback/protection circuit and better low-level channel matching, and also has a USB input for computer-stored music.
The £1599 amp has been designed, the company says, 'to offer improved sonic performance and give extra facilities which were not generally available five years ago when the original A5 was designed.'
As well as the USB connector, those extra facilities include a rear-panel socket for remote control, allowing external control systems to access the amp's control system using either modulated or unmodulated RC5 code.
New output devices are also used for better linearity and current delivery, boosting detail, and the super-fast optical feedback protection circuitry is said to give a better sound, while at the same time increasing protection from short-circuit and overdrive conditions. It also allows greater peak current to be delivered.
A new configuration for the volume control also delivers better channel-matching at extremely low levels, and the amp has an improved cosmetic design, with a soft curve to the front-panel and restyled volume control.