ACCUPHASE: Their E212 compared to existing Naim Setup

I've been wanting to scratch the Accuphase itch for some time now so I have just taken delivery of a used Accuphase E212 courtesy of John at Midland AudioX and carried out an A B comparison over the last couple of days. My current set up is:

  • LP12 – used weekly for Val Doonican duties
  • Naim NAC 52
  • Naim Supercap
  • Naim NAP135’s
  • Rega Dac
  • SqueezeTouch – Spotify and ripped CD’s on laptop
  • Harbeth SHL5’s

Immediate impression with ripped CD and using Accuphase onboard DAC was very favourable. Lovely tone and ambience with more bottom end and warmth. This is with the “Compensator” [Loudness] control activated at low to reasonable listening levels. I only tend to turn the wick up when the Mrs is out of the house and I’m accustomed to lower listening levels anyway. Deactivating the “Compensator” makes for a much thinner sound and is partially redeemed by just activating the “Tone Control” even without applying any Tonal adjustments. Turning the wick up negates the need for the Compensator as it tends to get a little cloudy.

Although I like the increased bottom end and warmth the bass detail was a little muddled, therefore I unplugged the digital coax from the SqueezeTouch and used the phono cables and connected to the Rega Dac. The Rega Dac cleaned up the bottom end detail without losing the warmth and tonal quality. However the bottom end detail whilst more prevalent is a bit muddier than the Naim rig, but at less than a quarter of the price second hand what’s the gripe?

I would be interested to hear the next up in the hierarchy of the Accuphase integrated amplifiers, as what I’m hearing thus far is quite pleasing. Only time will tell if it’s the Emperor’s new clothes or just the novelty, but it’s very easy on the ear.