Alluxity Power Two Stereo Amplifier
The Alluxity Power Two is a beautiful new stereo power amplifier from a fairly new company. Alluxity, the brand, is manufactured by AVM-TEC. The company and brand were formed in Denmark in 2010, and while the company is new, it has an excellent pedigree. The head of AVM-TEC is Alexander Vitus-Mogensen, the son of Hans-Ole Vitus of Vitus Audio. The goals for Alluxity products are to design products that fit into the home (unlike so many current high-end products), that sounds very good, and that is fairly priced but built with a focus on quality. Those sound like relatively anodyne goals but, to jump ahead, they are achieved with ease. And I might add that for me (being half-Danish by background, with some relatives named Mogensen!) such modesty is not unexpected hyperbole is not part of the usual marketing of Danish products.
There is little to say about the unboxing or packaging of the amplifier, other than that it is cleanly, solidly, and simply packed. A standard power cord and a small but well-written manual come with the amplifier.
Once unboxed, though, two characteristics jump to the fore:
1. The Power Two is stunning in the copper/bronze color ("Titanium Orange") that I received, and...
2. It is pretty compact but quite heavy for its size. Everything about the Power Two speaks to a solid, well-made product.
The case is machined from a solid block of aluminum and it feels like that. It's not just for aesthetic reasons rather, in order to maintain proper isolation between various circuits and stages of the amp, the chassis is "CNC carved out of a solid billet of aluminum with pockets milled to house each subsection of the amp snugly". The chassis is then painted, not powder-coated, in one of four standard colors black, white, and silver in addition to the Titanium Orange, though custom colors are available for an additional charge.
Not to insist too much, but the result is very attractive. It is the only amplifier my wife has ever found beautiful, saying "wow, that is really nice" as opposed to "really? who would want that in their house?".
The front panel has a touch screen that controls the operation of the amplifier. It's simple and mostly intuitive. In short, one will look at the manual, set it (e.g. balanced or single-ended), and forget it. After that, you use the touch screen mainly to turn it on and off. The rear panel is clean as well. There are inputs for both balanced and single-ended connectors, a connection for the power cord, and well-made binding posts.
Construction And Design
The output stage is a smallish 200 Watt amplifier section based on the same section of the Alluxity Int One integrated amplifier. That allowed all the inner workings of a powerful amplifier to be fit in a small chassis. Output impedance is a very low 75 milliohms, which, as Maez points out, is about the resistance of solder. The output section is thus basically non-reactive, and doesn't change with frequency response or load the speaker can do what it is designed to do. Note that while the power rating is 200 Watts at 8 Ohms, the available power rises to 800 Watts at 2 Ohms. The Power Two is likely to be able to handle most loads without any problem whatsoever.
Because the brand may not be known to everyone, I think it might be good to quote the comments on production and manufacturing sent to me by Maez. They underscore the care taken in producing the Power Two.
"In order to maintain as much control and quality as possible over the engineering and production, Alluxity has kept as much of the manufacturing process under their own roof as possible. All circuitry is engineered in-house by Alexander Vitus-Mogensen, who also does all circuit board layout himself. Raw circuit boards are then stuffed (parts placed and soldered to them) in-house on machinery AVM-Tec (Alluxity's corporate name) has purchased specifically for the types of boards they produce. Parts are not just kept on the shelf: all surface mount parts are stored in a temperature and humidity controlled storage unit that prevents the drifting of values and extends the life of each part prior to installation on a circuit board. In addition, particular attention is paid to the quality of the parts used, everything from capacitors and resistors to the connectors on the rear panel."
To the above points, Alluxity has chosen to build its own, discrete gain stages. That ran counter to the drive to keep things compact because the discrete gain stages are much larger than the op-amps built into circuit boards. However, the low noise, low distortion, greater resolution, and greater control of the in-house gain stages far outweighed any other considerations in the design process. Again, I can say that this is borne out in the listening the Power Two may be the most unflappable amplifier I've had the pleasure to use, as the comments below will indicate.
So, for example, one could easily distinguish Tidal digital stream of Supertramp's Breakfast in America from the analog vinyl LP [A&M SP-3708]. The Tidal stream gave lots of image depth behind the speakers, but almost nothing in front. It had good bass extension and resolution. I found the highs a little cool and muted... and ultimately uninvolving. The LP, on the other hand, was alive, full of sweetness and light, with resonance, body, and warmth in the voice. It did not lack either for precision, extension, or coherence. Was part of that due to some extra resonance in the vinyl pressing? I don't know, but it produced an emotional involvement where the stream did not.
I'm not here to bad-mouth Tidal. Thievery Corporation's best-of compilation It Takes a Thief jumped out from the speakers the soundscape was more forward. The Power Two suited the trip-hop tracks well, so much so that I thought, "well, Tidal handles this nicely." A hint of congestion was offset by perfectly clean and shimmering female vocals, enough so that it became clear that the differences in articulation were all in the recordings.
Again on Tidal, the first cut from the great Goat Rodeo album from Yo-Yo Ma and his gang, "Attaboy", stood out as it had in my review of the Cherry MEGAschinos hugely spacious, lyrical, precise. The Power Two might have been a little more reserved here than the Cherry monoblocks, without their radical transparency, but they do cost $2000 more. What impressed me was the consistency of the Power Two's presentation, which was one more time effortless, clean, nuanced, and lacking no drive at all.
I'm ashamed that I only recently discovered the guitarist Kaki King, whose unique fingerstyle technique is married to terrific tunes in multiple genres. We encountered her music in an "auditory after-hours" evening at Mass MOCA. If you are familiar with the museum, you will not be surprised at the clever, fascinating musical choices that they offered during the pandemic for headphone-accompanied evening visits, of which King was one.
That prompted me to investigate her music, including two albums from 2012 and 2014, Glow and Everybody Glows. (But note that everything I found was compelling.) Home provided as good a stage as did the museum and the Power Two breathed life and detail into her songs. The recordings are excellent the images are rock solid, adequately wide, and with good image fill. Some live cuts (e.g. "Anthem for the Earnest" on Everybody Glows) highlight the depth and ambient space each instrument has gobs of room around it, finely articulated. King's well-defined textural variations in guitar tones leap out at you you feel the texture of each string as it is picked, strummed, or plucked. And, though this is something of a refrain, the Power Two doesn't give the impression that it is breathing hard at any point.
My listening sessions and notes go on and on but I will choose just a few more examples to touch some other bases. On Jazz Samba by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd [Verve VG 8432 LP], the Alluxity shows off both its delicate and powerful sides. "Desafinado" is light, elegant, propulsive, the sax is particularly delicate and feathery. But everything is heftier and rounder on the following cut, "Samba Dees Days". In other words, the Power Two easily adapts its apparent character to the recording. Once more, it's unflustered, calm, and well-articulated. One might say a little boring excerpt when the music calls for it, you're quickly knocked out of your seat with the change in dynamics. It's an amplifier that is very happy to be played quietly, with decent dynamic articulation at low levels. But crank it up and you realize how much reserve is there.
Bass control is very good. String bass has a rich tone and definition. I feel fortunate that since moving to a larger space, with a room where the speakers can stretch out some, that I've been hearing real bass in my home. "Tightly controlled" bass, the kind beloved by some, for me doesn't hold a candle to hearing the low notes of a string bass resonate cleanly and fully.
I migrated to an old audiophile favorite, the New Music Consort's Pulse, for percussion and strings [New World LP NW 319]. That record is not much mentioned these days, and I'll confess it's been at least ten years since I've listened to it. The music is challenging for the musicians, for the listener, and for an audio system. Lest I think the Alluxity be holding anything back, the initial notes of "Pulse" crash through the room with what feels like a rise time of zero. But it's not just jagged impact: the strings and piano of the Ruth Crawford Seeger Suite No. 1 are sharp and incisive, but not etched. They reflect well the sound of individual instruments in a studio or small hall.
A contrast: randomly I chose The Byrds' (Untitled) [Columbia LP G 30127]. The sound (and music) are far away from the clarity and impact of Pulse. For me, this is not untypical of Columbia vinyl of the 1970s muddy and compressed. I bought this when it came out in fall 1970. It's a fine record with some very good tunes but the midbass is tubby and the highs often missing in action. The Alluxity presented it as such.
A better-sounding LP is Jazz at the Pawnshop [Proprius 7778-79]. I bought it in 1978 and it is still unbelievably pristine. I most often play "Lady Be Good" when I am listening to new components. I have not ever heard it sound better. Carp some do that it's not the Miles Davis Quintet playing but the tunes, atmosphere, and recording are of a piece as one of those recordings where you are really there. And this has the impact, the round corners, the small crescendos, and the gracefulness of a small group in a real space.
To go with the fine ambiance and air, the Power Two does not lack inner detail and tonality. The various percussion "instruments" on Pulse provide a wide spectrum of noises, notes, and tones that are useful in separating the merely percussive from a truly enjoyable "work for percussion and strings". Perceived speed is excellent, if not quite so fast as the fastest megabuck amplifiers.
So What Is This Amp Really Like?
Conversely, early digital LPs or CDs that were drily recorded left me completely cold. Of course, they were always a little too cool and clinical, but the Alluxity did not make them sound any better. I call that a virtue. Let us take, for example, Tusk by Fleetwood Mac [WB LP 2HS-3350]. This is an album I like very much, and one where Buckingham was aiming for dry, weird sounds miles away from the lush tones of Rumours. The Alluxity shows that he was successful in that effort; the soundstage collapses and there is little natural resonance. (I do understand the hi-res digital sounds really good but I haven't heard it).
Or consider Ry Cooder's Bop Till You Drop [WB LP BSK 3358], a terrific album issued the same year, the "first digitally recorded pop album", which trumpeted its perfect replication of the studio master as "cleaner, brighter, and more dimensional". Clean, yes, bright, yes, dimensional, no but the bass is pretty good. The sound is cool and sterile via the Alluxity, which again is a compliment, as well as a reinforcement of my impression back in 1979. Still a very fine record.
Finally, I was prompted to pivot to something quite different in almost every respect the 1969 recording of Johanna Martzy playing Beethoven's C Minor Trio, accompanied by Istvan Handy and Paul Szabo. Reissued in 1998 by Coup d'Archet [COUP 004], it is an all-analog, intensely intimate mono recording, moving from serious to sunny. And it's clean, bright, and (even in mono) dimensional, planting itself firmly in your brain and gut as it takes you out of your listening room. The Alluxity calmly does everything right and does not get in the way.