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I don't have much to offer as far as insight with the newer line of exposure amps. What I can say is that I recently purchased a near mint XV for very little money on ebay. It is hands down my favorite integrated amp that I have ever owned. I have it paired with a vintage pair of proac elixirs and a planar 3/apollo as my sources. Nothing but sheer musical bliss!
for the record - I have the 2010s and an XX Super integrated (supposed to be quite good from the farlowe era) and I find the 2010s to be MUCH better - it could be that my XX needs service but i'm not sure about that - I think the stereophile review on the 2010s is really on the money. It's better than other Naims, Krells and others I've owned over the years - maybe comparable with Spectral...
The 2010s may be better. I have not been able to hear any of the new stuff. People are split on pinkfishmedia. Some are die hard farlowe era guys and others are open to the new stuff but they are said to be different.
I have owned the super 15 integrated, The 17 pre amp, The 18 mono power amps (3rd from the top) and the dual 4 regulated power amp (second from the top).
I liked all of them. I got the dual 4 recapped with high quality caps. Huge difference. I was shocked how good it was compared to the non re-capped stuff. It makes a huge difference. They say otherwise on pinkfishmedia but I disagree its a big difference.
Would love to hear any of the new stuff. Almost bought a used 3010s pre a couple of times. I am still looking out for a better farlowe pre amp.
I will say I have heard some nice Ayre, Mac and Audio research systems and while the Exposure might be bested in resolution and a little bit smoothness the Exposure presentation, soundstage and musicality make them really fun. I am not sure I could convince myself I need to spend 5-10 times more for some of these respected brands but that is just me.
Its really a taste thing. Many people don't get the Exposure and Naim thing. I personnel like it a lot. I also will say Exposure stuff really improves with sources, cables and speakers. A bad source will really limit the Exposure gear.
I had the Exposure 2010s, as well as the XIV(or was it XVI?) preamp with MM and the XVIII monoblocks. They are both very different from each other with different design philosophies (as far as I can tell). The 2010s is very fast and detailed with a massive soundstage. THe XVI & XVIII is more full sound with good PRAT and texture but a lousy soundstage. I sold both of them but I think about the 2010s more because it is more universal to any accompanying sources. But the MM stage on the older Exposure was probably one of the best I have heard.
If anyone wants alternatives to both, I would suggest a passive buffer from Pass Labs and his Firstwatt F5. If you want to keep within the older Exposure house sound I would try a Primare A30.1 which has a VERY similar sound but dual mono balanced with two balanced inputs. I sold my 2010s because I wanted more texture and tonality and I also sold the Primare because the soundstage wasn't that much better than the Exposure XVII & XVIII.
This thread is old but maybe someone will get this when searching through Google.
Agreed tonality, texture, PRAT and a more forward presentation are older exposure hallmarks. My XVIII monblocks had a decent soundstage but I am pretty sure they needed a recap and better source.
I went a step up with the dual 4 reg recapped and the soundstage is wide and has good depth but again its recapped and has a good source. very comparable to more recent high end stuff in soundstage dept
Agreed the phono input is very good. Very natural sounding. I will say you can beat the resolution and soundstage at about 1k New but the exposure still has a very natural sound.