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Review: Alluxity Int One mkII integrated amplifier

Review: Alluxity Int One mkII implemented a classic recipe in the best possible way - and provided it with an ingredient that he keeps to himself.

I don’t know all the music playback devices on the world market either – and I haven’t heard every one that I know by name: Vitus Audio, for example, I’m only familiar with as a brand name, and Alluxity, whose new integrated amplifier Int One mkII (price: 8,350 euros) I didn’t know it at all until now. And that’s why he didn’t know that Vitus’ 28-year-old son stands for this brand. This eliminates one problem: I don’t have to forget or repress how good my father’s constructs are. Such comparisons between Alexander Vitus Mogensen and Hans Ole Vitus are of course made, even if the father’s devices are significantly more expensive.

Early starter

Alexander Vitus Mogensen grew up in a musically influenced “hi-fi environment”. He’s been surrounded by his father’s speakers and amps for as long as he can remember, and knew Nils Lofgren ‘s ‘Keith Don’t Go’ inside out before he could even pronounce or even write the title. Basically he had only two options: to do something completely different or to do the same as his father. He chose the latter and embarked on this path early on, working for Daddy at the age of 13. As he smugly remarked, from this age in Denmark it no longer counts as child labour.

Alexander was introduced to all aspects of production and gradually learned how to run a high-end audio company. His main work consisted mainly of soldering, including SMD components, which is a real pain to do by hand. No wonder that one of his first official acts after founding Alluxity was to delegate this work on machines. He invested in a corresponding assembly and soldering machine in order to be able to produce at the highest level of quality. Together with a large number of SMD components, this enables him to have a large vertical range of manufacture with little series variability and simple warehousing. 

Nordic design and modern construction

What is striking about the Alluxity amp, in addition to the sound, which I will come back to later, is the timelessly beautiful, typically Scandinavian design. The desire to also equip modern, sophisticated living situations led to a very flat, elegantly designed housing. If you look at the Alluxity website , you could almost get the impression that they are dealing with a furniture designer with chic hi-fi as decoration – not a high-end manufacturer.

The flat design of the integrated amplifier cost Mogensen a lot of brain power, since it is supposed to accommodate the essentials of the technology of his pre-amplifiers and power amplifiers in half the area. The housing of the Int One mkII is made from a solid block of aluminum, with a “labyrinth” milled into the interior, into which it inserts its service- and upgrade-friendly circuit modules. The symmetrical layout looks very tidy and clear and at the same time offers very good shielding. However, channel-separated toroidal transformers could no longer be accommodated.

Discretion instead of technology

If you’re the engineer type and looking forward to technical details, I have to disappoint you. Alexander said dryly on the phone: “I don’t discuss technical details.” I tried in various ways to get something out of him, because I think we should at least be able to understand a little bit to be able to, which leads to the tonal result of this amplifier. But there was nothing to be done. Is that fear of being copied or arrogance along the lines of: “Let them write what they want.” Hard to say.

Im Innern des Alluxity Int One mkII geht's aufgeräumt zu

Be that as it may, I can still provide certain basic information: Basically, the Alluxity Int One mkII is a transistor amplifier that is discretely constructed in areas relevant to the sound with many SMD components, which Mogensen appreciates not least because of the short signal paths they make possible. The output transistors come from Sanken and the Alluxity Int One mkII plays the first few watts in Class A. You can feel that too, because the colleague gets quite warm, the entire amplifier housing is used for cooling.

Basically, the Alluxity Int One mkII is a conventional class A/B transistor amplifier that relies on local feedback loops instead of over-all negative feedback. Mogensen has the toroidal transformer specially made for himself, it is supposed to bring a “soft aspect” to the sound – this formulation was new to me. He attaches great importance to the power supply and thinks it makes the Alluxity Int One mkII purr like a V12 engine or sound like an afternoon in the SPA – and that’s exactly what he wants: build amplifiers that don’t distract from the enjoyable music experience.

Als Schnittstellenwunder geht der Alluxity Int One mkII nicht gerade durch: Er besitzt fünf Hochpegeleingänge, davon zwei symmetrische. Die Qualität der Buchsen ist hervorragend

 

The original Alluxity Int One was already a very well-reputed serve from the young company. The limited space in the device did not allow for a radical re-creation, so for the Int One mkII Mogensen only redesigned the discrete preamp section. Like the entire amplifier, it is now fully symmetrical, which increases both gain and bandwidth.

Die Bedienung erfolgt lifestylekonform über ein frontseitiges Touchpad - oder per Fernbedienung

The volume can be adjusted from -79 dB to +13 dB with resistors switched via relays. This is a 50% larger control range than its predecessor. Incidentally, the volume only increases subtly at the beginning, only after around 50% of the control range does it become noticeably louder. Operation is lifestyle-compliant via a front touchpad or an included Apple remote control. The connector panel is less stylish: there are five high-level inputs, three cinch and two XLR inputs. And that’s it. No streaming, no digital input, no Bluetooth. The quality of the sockets is excellent, however, and the operation is foolproof.

Alluxity Int One mkII: sound impression

What has already become clear from the meager technical information: I cannot really reveal the secret behind the sound of the Alluxity Int One mkII. You have to accept it like Kaspar Hauser or a noble find as it presents itself to us. And this performance is nothing short of sensational.

Alluxity Int One mkII - Logo

classification and comparisons

Yes, I know, always these praises, but what should I do? In the decades of my involvement with audio and hi-fi, I have seldom come across an amplifier that has inspired me so much. Do you remember the Krell integrated amplifiers of yesteryear? I especially remember their almost monstrous bass. Or certain McIntosh amps that, figuratively, like bodybuilders, couldn’t run for sheer power. At the other end of the scale, for example, there was a Musical Fidelity A1 that could play very nicely, but quickly ran out of air and then dynamically drowned out in beauty. The Alluxity Int One mkII, on the other hand, seems to me to combine subtlety with power in such a way that it’s fun in every situation. In any case, I couldn’t embarrass him.

Die Lautsprecherterminals des Alluxity-Vollverstärkers stammen von Furutech

From the transistor world, I’ve compared it directly to my Lavardin ISx Reference, which isn’t entirely fair as it’s about half the price and offers only a quarter of the power of the Alluxity Int One mkII (which is 200 watts into 8 ohms). And yet the two are more similar in sound than one might think. They have a smooth playback that is reminiscent of very good tube amps. Overall, the Alluxity Int One mkII offers significantly more control, the overall picture is more focused, the edges of the stage are sharp, like a particularly well-lit photo.

And then he also had to compete against my Air Tight components (ATC-1 preamp and ATM-4 power amp). Their new prices are about 50% higher than the Int One mkII. In the mids and highs, these two worlds – i.e. transistor and tube – come surprisingly close, but the signatures diverge in the bass. Both reach deep down, play fast and colorful. But while the Air Tights reproduce the bass a little softer, with a little less emphasis, the Alluxity gives it a firmer frame, which leads to a somewhat tighter, more defined impression.

RCA-Buchsen des Alluxity Int One mkII

All in all, the “integrated amplifier” Alluxity Int One mkII actually delivers what it promises in terms of sound: it integrates. It is very homogeneous and slightly warmer – but its sound character is neither bright nor dark and thus it ends up on the friendly side of “neutral”, so to speak. Like a big cat or the aforementioned 12-cylinder engine, it lurks in wait for the tasks that come its way. If a fat bass impulse comes, it passes it on without delay or rounding. If a woman’s voice appears, he shows her nuances from silky soft to rough to shrill. When I listen to high-pitched music, I get endless details. Uff, sounds like a bit much? Then I want to be more specific.

Abgriffe des Ringkerntrafos des Alluxity

Soft tones

The “Gentle Giant”, as Alexander Vitus Mogensen calls his amplifier, never gets out of breath and has a gentle, unobtrusive basic character. When I played the first few bars of music to my loved one with the Alluxity Int One mkII, she, like me, could hardly believe what we were hearing. It sounded so different, so special. The tones of Cat Stevens dripped extremely gently and softly, but never slackly“Wild World” (Album: Tea for the Tillermann) as if from a rain shower on our ears. Do you know that feeling when you take a shower with lime-free water and every drop hits your body so softly and yet concretely that you don’t even want to get out of the shower? Clearly, the Alluxity Int One mkII plays more on the warmer, friendly side of the tonality, but offers a high level of transparency, which I will come back to. You will only hear harsh tones from him if the recording bears them.

Alluxity Int One mkII, perspektivisch

space glider

I was just talking about the rain shower feeling. How can this be grasped sonically? Take “Miles from Nowhere” from the same Cat Stevens album. Seriously, I’ve never experienced an amp that made me feel like I was listening to the musicians in the studio. Even walking around the corner to another room, it sounds like my living room is the studio and I can listen in from all perspectives: awesome. And no, I don’t smoke psychedelic substances.

Shelly Mannes literally wonderful soundtrack to “Daktari” takes me back to my childhood, when I was an absolute fan of the series. Effects that the foley artist conjured up in the studio in order to bring the jungle to life become an authentic, 3D-like and almost endless reality for me: lions casually wander up and down on the imaginary horizon in my living room, birds fly up and down wildebeest herds rush off to avoid their hunter. Rarely has an amplifier given me such a three-dimensional stage setting that is so spacious at the same time. The music is completely detached from the loudspeakers, creating an experience that no longer seems like a reproduction, but like a new, believable reality. Instruments are clearly defined in space, sculpted and generously arranged with lots of air.

mid magic

The Alluxity Int One mkII delivers a rich palette of tones that make listening to music a joy. Take the meeting of Dino Saluzzi, Anthony Cox and David Friedman (Album: Rios). How this music shines in glorious splendor, as if heard through a freshly cleaned window. When David Friedman’s vibraphone mallets hit the metal plates, it seems as if I could touch them, it comes across so plastically and organically. It sounds as soft as butter, but not rounded, but clearly and firmly outlined. Donald Byrdis one of the greatest trumpeters in jazz history, that’s made clear to me again by one of the fantastic reissues from French label Sam Records (album: Parisian Thoroughfare). I can run the record in the background with the Alluxity Int One mkII and still get all the information casually served up. Radiantly beautiful, always differentiated, without the slightest nitpicking, if you know what I mean. It is precisely its unobtrusive and yet fully illuminated high-frequency range that makes this possible.

Rüchseite des Alluxity Int One mk2

Attention: dynamics!

You might think the Alluxity Int One mkII can only be nice, soft or smooth. Forget it, it reacts effortlessly and confidently to fine and coarse dynamic attacks and reproduces what the recording reveals.

To prove it, I put on Led Zeppelin (Album: Led Zeppelin II ) and let “Whole Lotta Love” rip in the best sense of the word. This is not an audiophile recording and that’s exactly how it should sound: hard, dirty, earthy, sexy. I await with bated breath John Bonham’s legendary use of the drums after the playful intermezzo. And I won’t be disappointed. Bonham’s merciless drumbeats and great guitar solo are blasted into the room by the Alluxity Int One mkII that is truly a joy. Zero rounded, razor sharp and dynamic to the twelve. His ability to descend deep into the bass cellar can also be checked here. And because it’s so beautiful, I slide from Led ZeppelinFollow up “Stairway to Heaven” (Led Zeppelin IV album) and sink into perhaps the most beautiful ballad in rock history. What a terrific pleasure machine!

Alluxity Int One mkII- Conclusion

How can an apparently conventionally designed amp sound so good? Apparently, Alexander Vitus Mogensen has implemented a classic recipe in the best possible way – and provided it with an ingredient that he keeps to himself. He wants his devices to speak for themselves, and that didn’t make it easy for me to find out much about the technology behind them.

The fact is that with very powerful amplifiers, subtlety often falls by the wayside – but not with the Alluxity, quite the opposite. The Int One mkII never imposes itself, never gives the “alpha animal”, but still has everything under control and gives the listener the feeling of being in control at all times. I don’t want to lean too far out of the window and use nonsensical superlatives, but this integrated amplifier is simply brilliant.

The Alluxity Int One mkII…

  • has an extremely well-balanced overall character without emphasizing individual frequency ranges, even if it has a slightly warmer, friendlier timbre.
  • shines with decent performance without any gimmickry: when it’s needed, it’s there, but he doesn’t need to show it off.
  • spans a space of enormous credibility that reaches far beyond the limits of the loudspeakers in breadth and depth.
  • seduces with a very clean and finely resolved mid-range, which gives you goosebumps, especially with natural instruments and voices.
  • convinces with unobtrusive, transparent highs, with the help of which the music can be clearly illuminated, but is never “dissected”.
  • offers (deep) bass when it’s on the recording, dry and emphatically. It never imposes itself in the bass range.
  • is blessed with convincing fine and coarse dynamic abilities.
  • is excellently processed, but only offers equipment that is reduced to what is absolutely necessary.

Facts:

  • Model: Alluxity Int One mkII
  • Concept: integrated amplifier
  • Price: 8,350 euros
  • Dimensions & Weight: 43.5 x 10.5 x 31.5 cm (WxHxD); 17.5kg
  • Finishes: Black, Grey, Silver, Orange
  • Inputs and outputs: 5 x high-level inputs (3 x RCA, 2 x XLR); 1 x pre-out (cinch), 1 x speaker terminal, 1 x RJ45 (exclusively for firmware updates)
  • Output power: 200 watts into 8 ohms
  • Other: remote control
  • Guarantee: 2 years

 

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