Blue Circle CS vs. Unison Unico

I am awaiting the arival of my GMA Europas but I am still torn betwen amps in my purchasing. The Blue Circle gear and in my price range the CS come highly recomended from Roy of GMA. I am nervous about it just because I cant find any reviews of this unit. although with pretty good inards and point to point hand wireing i dont doubt its competance. Asside from the fact that I am unable to audition these products I dont know how conservative the ratings of blue circle gear is. That is very important...I need a very capable 50wpc from it to drive speakers in the 25x35x3 room. On the other hand there is the unison unico which has a tube output and weighs in at 35lbs, more than two times the Blue Circle CS. I have heard that the Unico does not rate the power conservativly, I am less woried about the 80wpc. It has great reviews and seemed a great product. At any rate if anyone has any Ideas, thoughts, or comments on either of these amps, their synergy with the Europas or just which one to get, let me know.

Eric Baer
There are several reviews available for the CS. Check out the BC web site for some links. It's a great integrated.
That's not a very high ceiling! "Being Very Small John Malkovich". That nevertheless appears to be a big room. How loud do you listen and how damped is the environment? If you really need the power after answering those questions, and you don't have the best source in the world to start with, then I'd look at the NAD 372...assuming you can't up your budget. Or what would you think of a used Plinius or something along those lines?
here's the scoop. I was considering the CS at some point. It's a very good sounding integrated and, for the price, I would recommend it highly.

The Unico, however, is without a doubt a level or two up in performance. It's much more 'liquid' or 'fluid' sounding and just seems to have better levels of depth and width.

Remember - this is not meant to discredit the CS - it IS very good and if you can't squeeze the $$$ for the Unico, go for it!
by the way...this apparent 'lack of power' of the unico is complete nonsense... (just wanted to add that bit)
Loose, looking at you old posts seems like you like the Unico much better now with your new speakers after you had some issues with the Unico-NHT combination.

What else did you change in you system (tubes, cables etc.) to get everything out of the unico? I am curious to hear some more comments.
I owned the Unico for a brief period, matched with a pair of Epos M12's in an approx. 12x15x8 room. Beautiful amp, very well made.

It does most things very well. It really brought the texture and nuances of the music out. Very palpable. I did not keep it however. I wanted more detail than it provided as well as more oomph. The Epos are a 8 ohm load but they do dip down to 4 or so (The Europas are an easy 4 ohm load)and I didn't feel the Unico had enough juice for the Epos. For me anyway. YMMV.

I owned the Europa's for about a year, great speaker, you will enjoy them. Roy and company are great people too.

If you can, try to demo each amp. My response, as well as the others you recieve, reflect only our opinions and own personal tastes. You ultimately should purchase the amp that you like.

Good luck,

PS - I know it is a bit more $$$, but how about a used Belles integrated??
FWIW, I just went thru this "intellectual" process a few days ago. I'm getting some speakers which should do quite well with 35wts per channel (not much different in actual use than 50wt) and I wanted a secondary source for them. The speakers are rated at 4 ohm and have an 92db efficency. What influenced my decision most was that the new amp (integrated) is tubes in both the pre-amp and amp sections, has 4 and 8 ohm output taps, is self biasing, is fused so that a blown tube doesn't damage the amp, and has been getting great press. Read up on the Prima Luna. There are two versions, one with EL34's (the one I ordered) and one with KT88's which comes with some internal upgrades and a few more wts.

in response to your question about what else I changed - I actually didn't change anything for the longest time...I just allowed the Unico to break in over a long period of time. It just seemed to get better and better. It was only when I swapped a few other integrateds into my system that I really appreciated what the Unico can do. I tried Roksan Caspian, Roksan Candy III, Classe CAP 151, Audio Alchemy (model???) , Creek 5350se, Primare i20 (very good, by the way - my top choice would likely have been the Primare A30 i think it's called, but the $$$ was too high - nearly double the Unico) and I tried a variety of others (albeit in stores and not at home).

kept coming back to the unico for its overall performance. not the tightest bass grip, but acceptable (i suspect that tube swapping might help that out, but I haven't tried yet).

the fact of the matter was my speakers were simply too much for my room. Also, the large rear ports contibuted to the 'slow-ish' bass (i stuffed them with medium density foam).

At some point I sold my speakers and bought what i thought were a better alternative for my room (wasn't able to try em out before purchase and, sadly, they didn't gel with the rest of my system). Now I'm awaiting the arrival of a pair of Epos M12.2's, which I suspect will do the trick.

Truly, i feel the unico's best matches will be with sealed speakers rather than ported, but the verdict is still out on that one. (just before sellig a pair of NHT 1.3a's - predesessor to 1.5's, I hooked them up to the Unico for the first time and they sounded excellent in my room). Also, the Unico will work better with speakers that are inherently revealing or ones that are even thought of as 'bright', as the Unico itself is on the neutral to warm side.

Further, the build quality of the amp is top notch - it simply ooozes quality.

hope this helps. Email me directly if you have any additional questions.

I enjoy me Blue Circle CS very much.

It replaced my Linn Pretek Preamp and Bryston 3B poweramp.

I think it is a great value to for the money. It does take a good 100 hours to open up though.