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Michi X3 Series 2 second generation integrated amplifier

Michi X3 Series 2 Review
Michi X3 Series 2 Review
Michi X3 Series 2 Review
Michi X3 Series 2
9.5

The appearance of a series of Michi components in 2019 produced the effect of a bomb exploding. They have become for the High End audio market what inexpensive Rotel models have always been for the Hi-Fi segment – the standard of what you can get for a given amount and even a little more. The new Michi X3 Series 2 integrated amplifier continues this tradition.

Design

During an external examination of the new product, no differences from the first generation of the model  could be found. The manufacturer claims that he has made several hundred changes to the circuit and element base, although without any clarification. At the same time, the weight of the amplifier has not changed one gram, as well as the power indicators. Of the obvious upgrades, it should be noted that the DAC unit is now built on the Saber Pro ES9028PRO chip. This is not the most expensive of the ESS Technologies chips, but, as you know, to obtain good sound, the formal characteristics of the converter are not so important as the correct analog wiring and power supply. Otherwise, it is almost impossible to distinguish the Michi X3 Series 2 from the original 2020 model.

Integrated amplifier Michi X3 Series 2Before us is the same integrated amplifier, capable of delivering 200 Watts per channel when operating into a load with a resistance of 8 Ohms and up to 350 Watts into 4 Ohms, the damping factor is stated at 350 units in the frequency band from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Switching capabilities include three analog unbalanced inputs on RCA connectors, one balanced input on XLR, and a phono input (only for moving magnet heads – MM).

Integrated amplifier Michi X3 Series 2Digital inputs are represented by three coaxial and three optical terminals, a USB-B port, and a Bluetooth wireless adapter with support for the aptX HD codec. Network capabilities include an Ethernet RJ45 port and an RS232 bus; a USB-A port located on the rear panel is used for firmware updates and charging gadgets. There is also an analog output from the pre-amplifier section and an output for connecting an active subwoofer.

 

Integrated amplifier Michi X3 Series 2The power supply, as before, is made on a large toroidal transformer with reliable shielding and four solid filter tanks, and passive radiators for cooling the output stages are elegantly integrated into the side panels of the case.

Integrated amplifier Michi X3 Series 2The front panel has also remained unchanged – there are two large rotary controls, one of which is used to control the volume, the second to switch inputs. The centrally located display only reveals its presence when the power is turned on; it is more convenient to work with the menu using the remote control, which has not changed compared to the first generation amplifier.

Integrated amplifier Michi X3 Series 2

Connecting

The Lyngdorf CD-2 CD player and the AVM Rotation R 30.3 vinyl record player were used as signal sources during the listening. Speakers: Bowers & Wilkins 703 S3, recently awarded an EISA Award . Switching was carried out using cables from the American company Transparent.

The first generation of Michi X3 turned out to be so successful that any attempt to improve it seems blasphemous. It would seem that what can be added to such undeniable advantages as excellent control of speaker systems and confident positioning of instruments on recordings of any genre that distinguished the original amplifier? There is a greater chance of ruining something here. Nevertheless, there are improvements, although not revolutionary.

Integrated amplifier Michi X3 Series 2To begin with, I would like to note the definitely improved response speed, especially in the low-frequency range. Any electronic and other bass-rich compositions were played by the amplifier not only with impeccable control, but also with excellent drive. Such a favorite characteristic of all music lovers as PRAT (Pace, Rhythm and Timing) is clearly more pronounced in the Michi X3 Series 2 than in its predecessor.

An unexpected and pleasant surprise (for a transistor amplifier) ​​was a very careful attitude to timbres, which was expressed in the correct transmission of complex timbres of bowed instruments and male vocals with a wide range. The amplifier also reacts very sensitively to changing the signal source – the higher the level of the connected digital or analog player, the better all the strengths of the Michi X3 Series 2 are revealed. The DAC built into the amplifier has a slightly cool, but very detailed sound, about the same can be said about “native” phono stage. In general, a wide field for experimentation opens up for the owner; let’s just say that the device is worthy of the best signal source that you can afford.

The amplifier’s signature also includes what is commonly called holography – there was no connection between sound and speaker systems, and the stage extended far beyond the physical dimensions of the system. It would take a long time to list all the advantages of the new product, but the main conclusion is very simple – the best integrated amplifier has become even better, albeit at the expense of a slight increase in price (adjusted for the exchange rate, of course).

Conclusion

Surprisingly, Rotel managed to make their breakthrough amplifier even better. If your speaker systems do not require kilowatts of power to adequately drive, then finding the best integrated amplifier for a reasonable price is simply not possible. That rare case when you can buy a transistor device with your eyes closed. Our sincere recommendation.