Canor AI 1.20 integrated amplifier

Integrated amplifiers
Canor AI 1.20 integrated amplifier

A few years back I visited Canor in Slovakia, their facility in Prešov is pretty impressive, modern and well organised, and as we looked round it became clear that a number of well know British companies were equally impressed because they were using Canor as an OEM supplier. Equally remarkable was the digital tube testing equipment that they had developed. Then, as now, Canor build some of its electronics using vacuum tubes, and measuring these devices for pair-matching and grading purposes is a slow process using analogue measurement techniques. At the time of my visit (2013) there were two amplifiers in the Canor (formerly Edgar) range now there are three of which the AI 1.20 is the biggest. Canor obviously doesn’t go for a high turnover of products but refine what it has for sound quality and reliability. It’s a slightly old-fashioned model but one that is highly beneficial for end users.

This is not a ‘glass’ powered amplifier but it takes its cues from that technology by running in Class A at all times, hence the substantial heat sinking that flank what is quite a substantial near 30kg beast for an integrated design. The AI 1.20 offers 50 Watts per channel into four Ohms, the eight Ohm figure that most manufacturers quote is a more modest 30W. But pure Class A amps are rarely power houses in terms of output figures, the amount of heat dissipation they need is one limiting factor but the fact that they produce a bigger, more powerful sound than the output suggests is probably more significant. Like their valve powered cousins they require more sensitive loudspeakers to achieve this but (unlike them) solid state Class A designs tend to have a more even tonal balance.

This Canor has a trick up its sleeve for those in need of extra power, it can be used as single channel monoblock with its preamplifier section controlling a second amp in a master and slave arrangement. This would have to be another AI 1.20 as there are no power amplifiers in the Canor range. There is a third speaker terminal on each channel and XLR outputs specifically for using this amp as a monoblock, it’s unconventional but quite clever and doubles the specified output. Otherwise the connections are conventional with five pairs of RCA socketed line inputs provided. At this price some will be looking for at least one input on XLR while others might be looking for digital inputs, but this Canor has all that the speaker-using music lover really needs.

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