Pro-Ject Audio Systems has unveiled the latest iteration of its MaiA integrated amplifier, the S3, that aims to provide users with wide-ranging flexibility on a small scale.
First introduced in 2014, the dinky sounding MaiA stands for 'My Audiophile Integrated Amplifier', and as with its predecessors, Pro-Ject has been generous with the feature set of the deceptively small stereo amp combining a DAC, phono stage, Bluetooth receiver, headphone amplifier and, of course, an integrated amplifier within its petite chassis.
With eight inputs in total, the rear panel of the MaiA S3 comprises three RCA analogue line-level inputs, one Moving Magnet phono stage based upon Pro-Ject's Phono Box and three digital inputs as well as a new Bluetooth 5.0 receiver with aptX HD support, ensuring that it should satisfy the needs of most hi-fi fans.
Using a Cirrus Logic CS4344 DAC chip, the MaiA S3 can handle up to 24-bit/192kHz digital audio files. Meanwhile, its integrated amplifier has two 40W outputs at 4 ohms (or 23W at 8 ohms), utilising improved low-noise circuitry and built around a dual mono design. Thanks to the variable pre-amplifier output, the system can also be expanded with a subwoofer or a separate power amplifier.
The front of the MaiA S3 is clean and uncluttered, providing source selection, a 6.3mm headphone socket for private listening and a central analogue volume control with a motor-driven potentiometer.
Measuring 5.5 x 20.6 x 17.6cm (hwd), the new aluminium casing of the MaiA S3 is slightly larger than previous generations but is designed to visually complement other components in the S3 range that can be neatly stacked together. The S3 series may not turn heads like Pro-Ject's recent Metalica turntable, but it aims to deliver maximalist performance with minimalist looks.
Priced at £539 (around $676, AU$940), the Pro-Ject MaiA S3 will be available in the UK this month and comes in black or silver.
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