Review: Mistral Integrated Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

Simplicity is the name of the game for this slim-profile amp. I decided to purchase it as an upgrade from my Cambridge Audio A3i, which I think is an appropriate comparison in that many people who are also considering an upgrade will think about this Mistral, too. The first thing I noticed was the incredibly high output; this thing provides plenty o' sock with the volume set at 9 o'clock! Don't think that the 50 wpc is limiting! Also, this amp has a neutral AND sweet sound; highs are very delicately rendered, even through my budget speakers; mids and bass are pleasant. How does it compare to the Cambridge Audio product? If you want to get an idea of what a "fast" amp is all about, this is it. It is also "musical." I uses these terms loosely because I know that they get thrown around a lot as if they have a standard, dictionary meaning, but I guess I'm just thinking like a musician, here . . . A note: this unit tends to reward the jazz and chamber music listener, but it won't necessarily disappoint metal heads. It's just a mellower presentation. Overall, I'll give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

Associated gear
Sound Dynamics RTS-9, Kimber Silver Streak ICs, Project 2.9 Wood, Grado Prestige Gold, DB Systems phono preamp, Cardas Quadlink 5c loudspeaker cable; Cardas Quadlink powwer cord.

Similar products
Cambridge Audio A3i; Jolida 202b