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The Simply Italy was inspired by the iconic Simply Two integrated amplifier from Unison Research, and produced to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. It's been designed to be faithful to the Unison Research tradition, by making it an integrated amplifier design that sounds great and pays attention to important audio engineering principles that reduce performance-affecting interference.Because of the overwhelming success of the design, the Simply Italy shares many of the design features of the Simply Two. Both are ultra-linear, single-ended Class A designs that produce 12W per channel, and both use EL34 valves in the output stage and ECC82 valves in the pre-amp and driver stages to achieve Unison Research's trademark imaging, clarity and musical precision. But the Simply Italy offers a wide range of new features that were designed and developed more recently.First, the output impedance has been adjusted from 8Ω to 6Ω, making the amplifier compatible with a greater variety of loudspeakers. Also, since a true dual-mono configuration would be impractical in such a compact amplifier, Unison Research designed a new “Quasi-Dual-Mono” power supply. In this configuration, the power transformer and first filter stage of the power supply are doubled, separating all pre-amp stages to allow for lower cross-talk and low distortion.Thanks to Unison Research's ability to design specialised transformers in house, the Simply Italy is able to have an output stage consisting of one EL34 in a single-ended ultra-linear configuration. This mode of operation for the output transformers allows the pentode EL34s to operate almost as if they were triodes. Furthermore, an additional toggle switch allows for an adjustment of negative feedback in the circuit. This means the sound character of the amplifier can be adjusted to suit specific types of music or listening environments.The appearance of the Simply Italy has undergone radical changes, when compared to the Simply Two. The front panel is a locally-sourced wood that's accented by contrasting wood inserts around the controls, that also acts as an anti-resonant support for the metal chassis. Then two stainless-steel bands beneath the valves add a touch of refinement, while additionally aiding performance by thermally isolating the valves from the electronic circuitry and output transformers. Finally, the control knobs are made from non-magnetic stainless-steel with a sufficient diameter and weight to provide a smooth 'flywheel' effect with excellent feel and rotational precision.The Simply Italy is supplied with an infra-red remote handset which allows for convenient control over input switching and the premium motorised volume pot from ALPS. The back panel is finished with four large gold-plated terminal connectors that allow any type of loudspeaker cable to be connected easily, alongside clearly marked RCA inputs for multiple audio sources.
My old Marantz KI Signature transistorized amp gave up the ghost and so it was time to upgrade. I first saw this model in a hifi shop window in Germany a few years ago and was blown away by the look of it. So this was the one I decided to buy. Set up was easy, just have to be careful iwth the valves which need a fair amoutn of pressure. So I now have it set up and working and it is really great. Never had a valve amp before and the difference in quality and clarity is simply amazing to the extent that I am hearing sounds in music I know well for the first time. I was concerned at some reviews about how powerful the 12w would be and whether my 8 ohm speakers would be match. I need not have worried, the amp is more than powerful enough and am no where near cranking the volume knob full circle. That said it does seem that the speakers need to be driven to allow all instruments to come to life and very quiet settings are not optimal. To conclude, very happy with the looks of it glowing away in a dimmed room and the performance far exceeded my expectations.
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5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
The Unison Research Simply Italy is one of 3 valve amps I own, amongst other non valve kit. The Simply has sublime clarity and imaging especially given the modest price. On a set of full range driver horns they are holographic, open and sweet. Obviously not like the 100wpc monoblocks for clout, but manage to be highly expressive and sufficiently authoritative in smaller listening rooms. If the power rating is sufficient then I can highly recommend!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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