CROFT ACOUSTICS: Phono Integrated integrated amplifier test review

Art Dudley (Stereophile Magazine) writes: The name sounds perfect. It fits neatly next to those of Messrs. Leak, Sugden, Walker, Grant, Lumley, and others of Britain's most rightly revered amplifier builders. In fact, when their distributor called and asked if I'd like to review the latest amplifier from Croft Acoustics, I accepted without actually knowing who they are, simply because they sounded like someone I was supposed to know—someone who's been around for 60 years or so, shellacking bell wire in an old mill with a thatched roof.

As it turns out, this British company has been in business just 30 years—itself no small feat in perfectionist audio—and founder Glenn Croft actually doesn't spend his days winding transformers. Although Croft's first commercial product was, indeed, a tubed amplifier, he has dedicated the past few years of his professional life to making hybrid amps with decidedly simple—in the purist sense of the word, of course—solid-state output sections. The latest of these is the comparatively humbly priced and plainly named Phono Integrated ($1895), a sample of which made its way here some time between this year's Montreal and New York audio shows.

For his latest product, Glenn Croft has combined in a single package—and thus, one assumes, a comparatively thrifty package—a pair of products that already exist in the Croft line, neither of them lavishly priced themselves: the Micro 25 preamplifier ($1395) and the Series 7 power amplifier ($1395). The resulting integrated amplifier, while possessed of specifications that slightly differ from those of its two forebears, is one in which .............