It’s eleven years since I reviewed the Accuphase E-213 for this magazine. That was then the entry-level integrated amplifier; the next model up the line, the E-308, was similar in rated power output but a noticeably more accomplished performer, and represented quite a significant jump in performance, back in the day. So I approached this review of the current equivalent, the E-370, with high hopes. A lot has changed since then, but some things have stayed the same: Accuphase’s styling, for one thing, and the E-370 retains the E-308’s nominal 100W output, albeit with better numbers into lower impedance loads. And the build quality and finish remain top drawer. But somewhat more significantly for me, they have managed on both occasions to produce the best, most musically satisfying amplifier to grace my system at the time.
And the other thing that hasn’t changed is that the raw power output figures don’t tell you very much; Accuphase’s performance seems to transcend mere earthly banalities like output into 8Ω loads, and such like. They should leave out the spec sheet and say ‘trust us, it’s fine…’. The technology is different now, too. Accuphase remains staunchly committed to the phase-accurate design principles that so captivated me when I heard the E-213. Still, more recent models also have a radical preamplifier design, and it seems likely that it is making a fundamental contribution to the quite remarkable performance of the E-370. Most of my time with the E-370 was spent listening via my Russell K Red 150 loudspeakers, but I was also fortunate enough to have the Fyne Audio F702s available still. Both of these speakers use simple, low order crossovers and pay attention to accurate phase relationships, so the Accuphase was very much at home, and the E-370/F702 is a particularly compelling combination, both sides seeming to play to the other’s strengths.
The amp also offers enormous flexibility and connectivity. There are five line-level inputs, plus two balanced inputs, and spaces for two optional input boards. One option is a configurable MM/MC phono stage, while the other is a DAC that offers co-axial, optical, and USB connections. You can have two of the same if you prefer, which could be ideal for those who use both MC and MM cartridges, or for those with two moving coils with different load characteristics. The pre- and power-amp sections can be separated, so you can take the preamp out to an external power amp, or bi-amp configuration, or use the power amp stage with an external preamp. Two hefty sets of speaker binding posts and the usual mains IEC complete a relatively comprehensive back panel.
The E-370 has that familiar Accuphase house sound: ever so slightly warm, slightly laid-back; confident without being assertive; powerful without being obvious. We start from a happy place, the E-370 and I. Elbow’s uplifting ‘One day like this’ from The Seldom Seen Kid [Fiction] is fresh, crisp, and tactile, with very well resolved string textures. Natural and relaxed, but full of dynamic expression, the sometimes choppy string accompaniment has a sense of impact and drive but doesn’t dominate the natural arc of the song. Guy Garvey’s phrasing drips with empathy too; it’s anthemic, as you’d expect, but it’s also just a beautiful song, imbued with even more meaning from the apparent sincerity of the performance.