Stereocheck Reviews:

Copland CSA-70: Integrated amplifier with analog and digital inputs

Copland Audio CSA 70 is an integrated amplifier with analog and digital inputs.  At first glance there is nothing unusual about the Copland CSA 70, but in fact this model is notable in several...

Copland CSA-70
Copland CSA-70

Copland Audio CSA 70 is an integrated amplifier with analog and digital inputs.  At first glance there is nothing unusual about the Copland CSA 70, but in fact this model is notable in several respects. Something else of particular note about the CSA 70 is that Copland’s existing line of amplifiers includes one all-tube model and two “hybrid” designs that combine a tube preamp with a solid-state power amplifier. At the same time, Copland CSA 70 is completely solid state.

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As already noted, there is nothing in the characteristics of the Copland CSA 70 that would make it stand out from its closest competitors. The name of the device indicates its output power, which is 70 W per channel with a load resistance of 8 ohms. Its value when operating at 4 Ohm speakers is not given in the specifications, but Copland claims that the CSA 70 remains stable even when the load resistance is reduced to 2 Ohms. The way this amplifier is designed and built speaks volumes about the priorities that Copland considers important in its work. Firstly, the amplifier is made on one board. Copland favors short signal paths in its designs, and this means, among other things, that the entire amplifier section of the CSA 70 is as compact as possible.

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Copland claims that by “shortening” the Copland CSA 70 circuit, the device was able to be made more resistant to external interference. It would be wrong to say that Copland strives to keep its amplifiers as simple as possible, but it certainly tries to avoid unnecessary complexity. The volume control in the preamp is a motorized variable resistor rather than a fancy encoder because Copland doesn’t want to use the extra circuitry it requires to operate it. However, what the company’s engineers consider really important, they use – for example, a speaker protection circuit. You get three line inputs, a phono input for the MM pickup – something Copland has always done well. In addition to speaker and headphone outputs (6.35 mm jack), Copland has both variable and line outputs on RCA connectors. The digital section is represented by USB, two optical and one coaxial inputs. Copland uses the Amenero USB module, as in its other devices, but installed a DAC in the amplifier not from ESS, but from a Wolfson WM8740, with a separate stabilized power supply. Additionally, a Bluetooth module can be purchased for this model.

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Support for sampling rates of digital DAC signals is rather prosaic, since the WM8740 is no longer the newest chip. PCM is supported up to 24bit/192kHz, and that’s it; there is no 768 kHz or DSD. As with the Arcam ST60, I feel compelled to point out that this is actually still within the parameters of the vast majority of music in digital formats. If you want something more, you can use three line inputs. Copland is a great example of an amplifier that will benefit from a partnership with iFi Zen Stream.

The way this digital section is built into the amplifier is one of my few real criticisms of the Copland. The amp has a (very nice) remote control that allows you to turn it on and off, adjust the volume and switch between analogue inputs. Digital inputs are selected using a separate small rotary knob. This isn’t supported by the remote control, so if you’re using the USB input and one of the optical inputs, for example, you’ll need to switch between them from the front panel.

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Scandinavian audio manufacturers are big proponents of fun-to-use control knobs, and Copland has the best of the bunch. Even better than Primare. The Copland CSA 70 volume control is a pleasure to use because it combines a great shape with the perfect tight action – it just forces you to put the remote down and adjust the volume manually. The two input selectors also have a nice action. I do think the amp looks better in silver than in black like our review unit, but either way, you’ll be happy to display this unit prominently in your living room.

The Copland CSA 70 is superbly built and there is nothing superfluous in its appearance. We are talking not only about hidden panel connections and the like, but about good materials that guarantee high reliability of the device. Literally the only criticism I can find in terms of build quality is that the phono ground connector is mounted a little rough. Everything else, however, is done to the highest standard.

Specifications Copland CSA-70

Power: 2 x 70 W at 8 Ohms (minimum load 2 Ohms)
Frequency range, Hz-kHz 10 – 200
S/N ratio, dB 90
Supported formats PCM 24-bit / 192 kHz
Phono stage MM-type
Optional Bluetooth aptX HD module
Remote control: yes
Digital audio inputs: coaxial, 2 optical, USB
Analog audio inputs: 3 line, Phono (MM)
Analog audio outputs: line, adjustable
Headphone output: yes
Dimensions (W x H x D): 435 x 135 x 370 mm
Weight: 13 kg