The Puccini is a 40 watts integrated amplifier designed with an
ultraminimalist approach in mind (just volume and input selector),
entirely developed and built in Italy.
Audio Analogue is a new Italian firm which is earning popularity among audiophiles because of its products (some amplifiers + a D/A converter, coming soon a CD player), designed to have a very high value/price ratio.
The amplifier I'm going to listen to has been successfully reviewed by several Italian *paper* mags and this has raised my interest even more.
The Puccini is a very interesting amplifier: minimalist but with some
clever features: the AC power cord is detachable and the power switch
is on the rear panel.
The detachable power cord allows us to use different hi-quality power cables with no need to open the component and install a IEC socket into it (operation which makes the warranty void, of course...).
The power switch in the rear forces you to keep the amplifier in stand-by, improving the life of the electronic components and overall performances (the warm-in period is *almost* non necessary).
To switch on the amplifier you just need to turn the volume clockwise, like those old valve radios of the '50s.
This amplifier has also a MM/MC input, just to give proper credit to the name of the brand (Audio Analogue :-)). To choose between MM and MC you need to open the amplifier and move an internal switch.
A solid cabinet with a thick aluminium fascia and four spherical rubber feet complete the Puccini, for a list price here in Italy around 900.000 liras (600$ more or less). Please consider that when importing the Puccini in your Country your national Distributor has to pay taxes, shipping costs and has to add a little margin for the local dealers etc.
So, I've given you the price here in Italy just to give you a pale idea of the cost of this amplifier. It may be VERY different once it reachs your local dealer. As usual, your mileage may vary.
The Puccini has a very well defined personality which puts this amplifier
into a league of its own. It sounds refined, very tube-like, if you
know what I mean: sweet and refined treble, not the usual high range
of a transistor amplifier: the instruments shine of a very brilliant
yet very natural light.
The mid range is somewhat similar -never aggressive- it treats female voices with a grace and an amazingly classy touch.
This amplifier doesn't know how to sound *nasty*, the musical program just flows through it without any apparent *solid-state* contamination. It succeeds in making accessible even poor recorded CDs, thanks to its sweet high range response.
The bass range is good but we would have preferred more punch and depth...but please remember its personality.
When you ask for more this delicious integrated never jells nor the sound becomes harsh: it starts reducing the overall dynamics, just to let you know it's not the case to turn that volume knob clockwise any further.
Thanks to a very lively mid-bass the sense of rythm and swing is very realistic and even the limited depth of the bass range becomes inifluent if one thinks at the ideal loudspeaker one should match with this amplifier: a compact, refined and fast freestander.
Every kind of music is welcomed by the Puccini: only with electric pop and rock one could ask more *punch* and impact but one should also remember that the Puccini is a very budget-conscious integrated with a very classy sound: for that price one shouldn't ask for more.
But, if you want the Puccini grace coupled with a *punchier* sound look no further than its brother Puccini SE: a dual mono integrated amplifier which is, roughly speaking, a double Puccini.
It costs a little bit more, of course: 1000$ more or less.
The pictures above show the Puccini SE (see the two transformers) but the two amplifiers are very similar *outside*. Actually just the aluminium front panel of the standard Puccini is less thick than the one in the SE version.
Now available the listening test of the new Puccini SE Remote (2000 ed.)
Copyright © 1997 Lucio Cadeddu - http://www.tnt-audio.com
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