THE A-A6 has had to scrap for its five stars each time we now have reviewed it.
Most equipment that pulls the selection of criticisms that we have now levelled at the Pioneer ends up with
a four-star verdict and, now and again, we now have fretted that perhaps the A-A6 wasn't worthy of the total 5.
Lined up in a Group Test for the first time, although, we're relieved to seek out that we were right all alongside - it is a five-star amplifier, but it is not without shortcomings.
So those shortcomings first...
Build and perceived price, as an example. The Pioneer appears good, attention-grabbing even, but it is imperfectly completed and harbours a few sharp-ish edges. The remote regulate is a flimsy comic story, extra appropriate for a product at a fifth of the fee.
The Pioneer's specification isn't very outstanding both: a phono degree is all the time welcome, however each different amp here can higher the A-A6's single tape loop and provision for riding only a unmarried pair of loudspeakers.
However, the Pioneer strikes house where it in point of fact counts, within the sound quality division.
Delivering The Smiths' Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others, the A-A6 sounds clean, detailed and unflappable. The top end on occasion glints dangerously, however even cursory speaker-matching can prevent treble histrionics, and it is a crisp and com-municative affair in a different way.
Easier to forgive after a listen
The midrange is spacious, articulate and involving, and what the Pioneer lacks in outright bass weight is more than compensated for by its pace, agility and focal point. Stereo imaging is solid and believable, and the A-A6 generates prodigious force and supple dynamism. The stormy passages of Beethoven's 'Pastoral' Symphony No.6 can have you attaining for your umbrella in sympathy.
We reckon it is an amplifier that will be happiest hooked up to a pair of disproportionately pricey loudspeakers.
That's to not say that the A-A6 is absolute best, and some will want extra low-end authority – however relating to simple musicality and realism, the Pioneer's neatly value its 5 stars.