Accuphase E-202 Amplifier Review

Ranking amongst the most powerful and the most expensive of the amplifiers the Accuphase E-202 has many sensible features. To start with, the overall frequency response is flat where it needs to be and rolls off at a sensible point, in addition to which a steep low pass filter and high pass filter can be switched into circuit. Whilst the high pass filter operates at 30Hz which is a good choice, the low pass filter operating at 6kHz is aimed at too low a frequency for the optimum.

In addition to these filters, there is a subsonic filter associated with the disc input which provides 6dB attenuation at 10Hz, but this is really an unnecessary addition to the existing high pass filter. The rotary switch type treble and bass controls operate in 2dB steps at 10kHz and 100Hz and are limited to ±10dB which is all that is necessary. The balance between channels was to all intents and purposes unaffected by any controls other than the balance control which is of the full range type.

On the input end there are two auxiliary and two phono inputs, plus a tuner input. Whilst one phono input is of fixed sensitivity and impedance, the other has variable sensitivity and switched impedance selection. In addition to the basic inputs, provision is made for two tape recorders with switched tape monitoring or tape dubbing from one recorder to the other. Front panel stereo jack connectors duplicate the rear panel phono connectors for one tape unit " a useful feature.

A further rear panel feature is that the preamplifier and power amplifier can be switch separated, thus providing an interface for equalizers and such at a voltage level of 450mV for rated output. Three sets of loudspeakers can be connected to the amplifier, with front panel switch selection of any individual loudspeaker, or speaker A and one other, with an off position for headphone listening via the front panel stereo jack socket.

As with many amplifiers, a mode switch is provided. This allows normal stereo, reversed channels, mono, or either difference signal in the form of the wanted channel less the sum of left and right.

The final obvious feature of the Accuphase E-202 amplifier is two illuminated meters which are scaled like VU meters and which work in conjunction with a range switch. Like the meters fitted to almost all other amplifiers this is a feature which is of little practical use, as the meters are far too slow to indicate transients and to give any guidance about overload conditions. This was verified by listening tests where transients clipped hard at between "10 and " 15dB meter indication on the 0dB range.

An unusual control on the rear panel is a damping factor control which has three positions giving damping factors of 66, 6 or 1. The effect of this selection on the reproduction of a double bass was dramatic, with all but the high damping factor giving exceedingly boomy reproduction.

Listening tests were impressive with a good transient attack, but as expected from the measurements, the low pass filter had a dramatic effect.

Examination of the performance figures shows that the amplifier behaves well into 4 or 8 ohm loads, but certainly takes exception to 2 ohms, it is therefore recommended that it should not be used with 4 ohm loudspeakers.

Input and output voltages were sensible, and the associated impedances and clipping levels were satisfactory.

Overall, this is a good practical amplifier with plenty of power and a sensible performance, but at rather a high price.