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Perreaux Eloquence 150i Integrated Amplifier Review  Print E-mail
Home Theater Power Amplifiers Integrated Amplifiers
Written by Andre Marc   
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Article Index
Perreaux Eloquence 150i Integrated Amplifier Review 
Listening Tests
Conclusion

In years past, I’ve usually rolled with an integrated amplifier. Reasons included less space, fewer cables, tons of inputs, conveniences like headphone jacks, remote controls, and even subwoofer connectivity. But there are integrated amps and there are integrated amps.  I was in the budget component and midfi camp during my college days.  At that point, integrated amps were not known for being state of the art. Things have changed quite a bit since then. Integrated amplifiers have approached, if not crossed into the state of the art. Most exalted high end audio manufacturers are currently offering battleship integrated amps along side their flagship separates. Many designers are even offering built in world class phono stages, Digital Audio Converters and digital inputs.

It has been a number of years since I have had any experience with a high grade integrated amp in my own set up, since I use tube separates most of the time. I was quite excited to receive delivery of the Perreaux Eloquence 150i integrated amplifier from Gene Rubin of Gene Rubin Audio, a well known California dealer, and one of the business’s true gentlemen.

Background:


Perreaux was founded in 1974 in New Zealand, and soon began working towards perfecting solid state amplifiers using MOSFET designs. They quickly developed a reputation as being innovative and began exporting their products worldwide. A good thing too, since the total population of New Zealand is just under four million; certainly not enough to sustain a high end electronics business! Today the company sells components in 30 countries. Perreaux products became known as great sounding, but also as super reliable. But Perreaux at one point disappeared from the North American market for a few years.

150i Top View

Now that has changed as highly respected importer Fidelis AV of Derry, New Hampshire has picked up the line for exclusive distribution in the United States. Fidelis’s Walter Swanborn is known to be very choosey about his brands, and when I saw a press release earlier in the year about the deal, I took note. Previously, I had only been exposed to the Perreaux brand through reviews in foreign audio magazines.

Design:


The Eloquence 150i is not your father’s integrated amp. It is a very sophisticated component with cutting edge and proprietary technology. Sophisticated, but incredibly easy to use. The technology enhances the user experience, in my opinion, rather than making it more cumbersome.

The 150i is specified at 150 Watts Per Channel into 8 Ohms and 300 Watts Per Channel into 4 Ohms.  It features four RCA inputs, and one set of XLR inputs. There is one set of preamplifier outputs, for use with an active subwoofer and more. There is a Tape Out, which I used for headphone listening, and most interestingly a user selectable function for Separates. This disconnects the preamplifier and amplifier sections in the unit. It allows you to use an outboard preamp to drive the amplifier section and vice versa. Very clever indeed. Lastly, there is an included infra red remote control.
150i Rear Left side

The sophistication comes in for form of the user programmable interface. You can decide what the initial default volume is for each input. You can select the maximum volume output and custom label each input. You can disable the volume control completely for unity gain. The balance can be customized for each channel as well, a great inclusion.  It’s obvious that a great deal of thought went into making this amp easy to personalize.

To add to all that, there is an optional phono stage, and an optional DAC module available for purchase that includes a 24 bit/192khz chip that allows for 2 Coaxial, 2 TosLink, and a 1 USB connection. Talk about a one box solution.  Lastly, the 150i is visually stunning, with the Perreaux logo notched onto the thick faceplate, a large, centered volume knob, and a well lit display, and six small selector buttons. The unit itself is built like a tank, and like previous generations of Perreaux products, should last a lifetime.



 

 
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