A-60R integrated amplifier
as reviewed by Teresa Goodwin
The A-60R is a really gorgeous looking tube integrated amp and is extremely heavy, especially considering it is only 60 watts per channel. LA Audio was established in 1988 and hand craftsmanship is claimed to be the main reason for the high quality of its components.
I like that it has only a volume control and input selector, bravo! I would have liked a headphone output jack. It doesn't have one so if you use headphones you will need a separate headphone amplifier with a switcher box as unfortunately the A-60R also does not have a tape loop normally used to connect a dedicated headphone amplifier.
I was surprised it had a remote control, a rarity on a tube preamplifier. One could get lazy not having to get up to adjust the volume. I left the remote control lying beside me but I still got up to adjust the volume, I guess it is hard to ignore half a lifetime of habit. I just couldn't remember I could now adjust the volume without getting up. Perhaps I would take a few months to get used to the convenience of the remote controlled volume.
The tube compliment is four KT-88's for the power amp section, two 6SN7's, and two 6SL7's for the preamp section. My current preamplifier is the AMC CVT1030 Class A Valve Preamp with two 12AX7's and two 12AU7's.
The A-60R is a lovely sounding tube integrated though it may be a little underpowered for my Infinity Kappa 7's which have a sensitivity rating of 88dB and a minimum power rating of 40 watts. I am using the 4 ohm taps. My current system is a hybrid, the above mentioned tubed preamplifier and an Adcom GFA-555II transistor power-amp which is rated at 325 watts into my 4 ohm speakers.
I spent two weeks casually listening to music and watching TV through the A60R while it burned-in, when not at home I ran the Burn-In tones on my XLO/Reference Recordings Test & Burn-In CD. Then I began critical listening using my best SACDs, DVD-As and high resolution music downloads. And in the final week I even listened to regular CDs and MP3's.
The amp has a sweet and lovely sound, however on really dynamic material such as big orchestral SACDs, it sounds a little compressed.
With most of the program material I played it never sounded like a low-power amp, and in more intimate music it sounds better than many higher powered amps I've heard. The sound was beautiful, relaxing, with good impact, a smooth midrange and excellent deep bass. It has very accurate timbre, a nice large, deep and wide soundstage with excellent imaging. A real pleasure to listen to.
With high resolution material especially SACDs, I slightly preferred my AMC/Adcom combo however I have never heard CDs sound less digital than with the LA Audio A-60R. It wouldn't convince me to adopt the CD format, however I am wondering if removing all transistors and other solid-state devices from the CD signal path might help make CD an enjoyable format for those of us who don't care for the sound of CDs.
The remote control includes the following functions: standby, mute, volume U\up and down, input selector, and a left/right channel selector (left only, right only or stereo).
I would highly recommend this tube integrated if you have very efficient speakers or do not listen to demanding music. Otherwise I would go further up the line for one with more power. Teresa Goodwin
KT Audio Imports