pl | en



Price (in Poland): 89 900 PLN

2-14-10 Shin-ishikawa
Aoba-ku Yokohama ⸜ 225-8508 ⸜ JAPAN


Provided for the test by: NAUTILUS Dystrybucja


translation Marek Dyba
photos Accuphase | "High Fidelity"

No 238

March 1, 2024

ACCUPHASE unveiled its first stereo amplifier half a century ago, in 1973. Since then, this Japanese brand has become one of the most recognized and respected around the world. The company has earned its reputation by offering primarily high-end amplifiers (including Class A ones), preamplifiers and CD and SACD players. The latest addition to the Japanese manufacturer’s portfolio, which we have the opportunity to test, is a line preamplifier designated C-2300

THE THEME OF "MIGRATING" SOLUTIONS AND TECHNOLOGY from top series to lower ones, from the most expensive products to those costing much less is one of the many important elements of the audio world's stories. Mostly, we should add, true stories. It's a pattern familiar from many other luxury industries, but also from the engineering industries. The idea in it is that engineers, designers and developers, having funds at their disposal in top, prestigious projects that they don't normally have, reach for the most expensive solutions, often still in the development phase.

When such a project is finished, the high final price is a reflection of those choices - choices that the most demanding customers pay for; they are - to some extent - the patrons of all other buyers. This is because the technologies in question are then used by companies to improve products on the lower price shelves. When it comes to technologies the ration is usually lower than 1:1, because materials and some solutions cost so much that it's only economies of scale that determine a clear reduction in their prices; and this is unlikely to occur in perfectionist industries.

Already, however, in the case of ideas and developments, it is quite different - it is possible to use them in almost unchanged form, consuming them already without the price markup resulting from the cost of their development. Such is the case, if I understand it correctly, of the latest power amplifier from Japanese company Accuphase, the A-80.



The A-80 is a class-A power amplifier developed as a stereo version of our A-300 model, unveiled to celebrate Accuphase's 50th anniversary. Optimized with 10 parallel MOS-FET output transistors, operating in differential mode, it provides an output of 65 watts into 8 ohms, 130 watts into 4 ohms, 260 watts into 2 ohms, and 520 watts into 1 ohm.

Uncompromising investment in new, cutting-edge noise reduction technology has achieved a sense of presence and even the smallest manifestations of musical expression that can compare to live performance. The A-80 power amplifier perfectly combines state-of-the-art technology with the wealth of knowledge Accuphase has accumulated - all in pursuit of superior sonic expression.

Class-A 65W/ch stereo power amplifier A-80, →, accessed 15.01.2024.

As a reminder, the A-300s are power amplifiers, monoblocks, part of a system built by this manufacturer for its 50th anniversary, which was in 2022. The first, back in 2019, was the E-800 integrated amplifier (test → HERE), in 2020 we got to know the C-3900 line preamplifier (test → HERE «PL»), and in 2021 we showed the two-box SACD player, consisting of the DP-1000 transport and DC-1000 DAC (test → HERE) and the E-5000 integrated amplifier (test → HERE «PL»). The last in the series was the A-300 power amplifier, shown last year. The A-80 is expected to draw on the solutions used then.


A few simple words...


A team of engineers consisting of Mr. TORU TAKASHIMA, mechanical design; Mr. MAKOTO YAMAMOTO, output circuitry, microprocessor control and protective circuitry; Mr. TAKEO HOTTA, input circuitry, output stages; and Mr. TAKAYUKI BABA, control software (emphasis ed.) worked on the design of the A-80 Amplifier. I asked Mr. MASAOMI SUZUKI, for some time a director of Accuphase and for years its chief engineer, for a few words about each of them.

⸜ The team responsible for the design of the A-80 amplifier (from left), Messrs: Hotta-san, Takashima-san, Yamamoto-san and Baba-san.

He is a senior managing director and has worked at Accuphase for 50 years. He designed many of its most important products, including our first DP-80/DC-81 CD player, but also the DC-1000 D/A converter and the A-100 amplifier. Mr. Takashima loves sports and enjoys playing ball (baseball) during lunch breaks and tennis on weekends. He throws the ball so fast and with such control that it is hard to believe he is over 70 years old.

» ELECTRONICS - output circuits, microprocessor circuit • MAKOTO YAMAMOTO
Mr. Yamamoto is the chief engineer and has worked at Accuphase for 37 years. He's a versatile engineer who can handle not only amplifier design, but also high-frequency circuitry, digital circuitry and DSP programming. He collects mechanical watches; now he dreams of a Vacheron Constantin Overseas model. It will soon be on his 11th roto watch mat.

» ELECTRONICS - preamplifier, power amplifier, sound quality evaluation • TAKEO HOTTA
He has worked at Accuphase for 13 years and was the leader of the A-80 design team. His previous work includes the A-250, E-800, E-5000, DP-570, etc. One of his current concerns is that his 4-month-old daughter often cries. Seated in the car, she calms down - but only if the car's engine is running. She starts crying as soon as the car stops at a traffic light.

» ELECTRONICS - microprocessor software • TAKAYUKI BABA
Mr. Baba has worked at Accuphase for 9 years and he is a software specialist who can also design electronic circuits. His previous works include A-300, A-75, T-1200, DG-68, PS-1250/550, etc. He is also a talented guitarist and recently acquired a limited edition Gibson ES-345 in Sea Foam Green. Only 100 units of this model were produced worldwide, of which only 3 are available in Japan. He is delighted with his Gibson and enjoys playing it every evening.


THE A-80 IS A MASSIVE, very solidly built device. It's a stereo power amplifier operating in class A; it outputs 65 watts into an 8 ohm load, 130 watts into a 4 ohm load, and works stably even into a 1 ohm load, which is almost a short circuit, delivering 520 watts. Its rated output power is given for Class A operation. As experience shows, the company's amplifiers yield even higher power, however, switching to Class AB operation at that time.

The device has adjustable input sensitivity, in four steps of 3 dB. It allows adjusting the gain to a given setup, thus lowering the noise floor. And these are very low anyway (123 dB in the "Normal" position and 129 dB in the -12 dB position), as is the distortion (0.03%). Another way to work with it could be to use it as a mono amplifier; we would then need a second amplifier of the same kind. The unit then offers an impressive 260 watts at 8 ohms and as much as 1040 watts at 2 ohms, still in class A. When we add to this a very high damping factor of 1,000, it turns out that the A-80 should drive all commercially available loudspeakers easily.

The manufacturer achieved such good performance by implementing all of its most important solutions in the A-80. Company materials talk about: ten, push-pull MOS-FET output transistors, current feedback in a balanced MCS+ (Multiple Circuit Summing-up; in this case, it's two circuits working in parallel) type circuit, reducing distortion and noise by 30 dB, balanced design, and protecting output circuits on MOS-FET transistors rather than relays.

Also playing a big role is the extensive power supply, whose base is a powerful transformer and Accuphase-manufactured capacitors with a total capacity of 160,000 μF. The manufacturer also indicates that it has used a high-gain input circuit (+22 dB), while the power amplifier offers a gain of only +6 dB (x 2). This gain distribution is supposed to help reduce noise.

As important as the parameters are the mechanical design of the device and its workmanship. And these are flawless. Anyone who has dealt with any device from this company, even the cheapest integrated amplifier, knows that operating them is a pure joy, that they offer stunning, unique aesthetics, and that every element of their design is refined. And that they look as good at the time of purchase as they do many years later.

Part of this image are large VU-meters, indicating output power (in W) or gain (in dB). In the A-80, these are indicators featuring LEDs, with repeated alphanumeric indication, on LED displays, while in others they are classic VU meters. Their operation in the amplifier under test can be adjusted, choosing in which mode they work: whether they react momentarily or hold the peak indication for a while.

We'll feed the signal to the amplifier via either an RCA or XLR input, and send the signal to the speakers via two pairs of large, in-house made speaker terminals. At the XLR input there was a switch, with which we select how it should work, whether according to the DIN standard (pin 2 = hot) or the so-called "American" standard (pin 3 = hot); amplifiers from Japan usually have presets according to the latter (DIN = Deutsches Institut für Normung). It's also possible to operate the A-80 in dual mono mode, and two of the same amplifiers can be used in a bi-amping arrangement.

The Accuphase A-80 amplifier is a perfectly crafted product of an engineering company that has "soul" - it’s a rare thing.


⸜ HOW WE LISTENED • Accuphase A-80 was compared to my reference amplifier, the Soulution 710 solid-state power amplifier, and drove Harbeth M40.1 speakers. Preamplification was handled by an Ayon Audio Spheris III tube preamplifier.

The signal between the preamplifier and power amplifiers in both cases was carried by Acoustic Revive Absolute RCA interconnect. The amplifier was powered by Acoustic Revive Absolute cable, and the signal to the speakers was supplied by Crystal Cable Da Vinci speaker cable (test → HERE «PL»). The signal source was an Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition SACD player and a Lumin T3 file player.

The Accuphase amplifier is large enough that it did not fit on the top shelf of the Finite Elemente Mk II rack I use. So I placed it on the floor, on Acoustic Revive RST-38H platforms and RKI-5005 pads from the same company.


The TBM Sounds!, Lasting Impression Music LIM UHD 048LE, „Limited Edition”, CD (2010).
⸜ BREAKOUT, Blues, Polskie Nagrania MUZA/Warner Music Poland | Poslkie Nagrania 50541 9 78085 3 1, SACD/CD (2023).
⸜ MONTEVERDI, Quinto Libro De Madrigali, wyk. Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Opus 111 OPS 30-166, CD (2000).
⸜ DIANA KRALL, Wallflowers, Verve Records /Universal Classic & Jazz UCCV-9577, Deluxe Edition, SHM-CD + DVD (2014/2015).

⸜ VOCES8, Nothing Else Matters, Decca/Tidal, FLAC 24/96 (2024).
⸜ LIANNE LA HAVAS, Starry Starry Night w: CLINT MANSELL, Loving Vincent OST, Milan/Tidal, FLAC 24/96 (2017).
⸜ KALIEDA, Stranger, Embassy One/Tidal, FLAC 16/44,1 (2024).
⸜ ANASTASIA KOBEKINA, Venice, Sony Classical/Tidal, FLAC 24/96 (2024).

» HIGH FIDELITY’s Accuphase A-80 playlist is available on TIDAL → HERE.

WHEN GRZEGORZ WYKA, a Nautilus man, a fan of the Accuphase brand (and everything Japanese), who knows its models from many years better than all of us, set up an amplifier on Acoustic Revive platforms with a colleague, he looked at my system, smiled and said something like: "You know Wojtek, I could see this amplifier in your place as a test tool". I was almost offended. How come?! After all, I have such an incredible machine, costing almost twice as much as the A-80, the beautiful Soulution 710 power amplifier! And it is exactly what I need.

I too am familiar, very familiar, with Accuphase's products of the last dozen years or so because I have tested a many, maybe even most of them. I know their makers, I like them, and I also respect their work ethic. So I thought I already knew everything. As it turns out - not really. Because, although still my Swiss amp is a reference for me, the new power amplifier from Accuphase was not at all noticeably inferior. Slightly different, but nonetheless equally exciting.

Yes, the "710" plays deeper, plays in an even more refined way and delivers an even more tangible and more resolving sound. But the A-80 is so perfectly internally coherent that I got with it some 85-90% of what Soulution offered but at half the price. This, by the way, is another example of how much - oh, how much! - Accuphase's sound has changed in recent years. It's full, it's dense, but it's also fast and saturated. Those familiar with Tokyo-born products from, say, ten years ago and older, know nothing about it.

And I say this while listening to a compilation released in 2010 by Mr. Winston Ma as part of Last Impression Music, an offshoot of his First Impression Music label. The material for it was remastered in 32-bit by Robert Friedrich, then a member of the Five/Four Productions collective, holder of three Grammy awards, and previously a long-time Telarc sound engineer. The version so appealed to Mr. Ma that he wrote:

Nevertheless, there is one thing I am incredibly pleased with: the preservation of the full integrity of the TBM sound. And it was done in a way, in my opinion, that leapfrogged the quality of the original masters (...).

⸜ WINSTON MA, Mr. TBM, a booklet for the album The TBM Sounds!, Lasting Impression Music LIM UHD 048LE, "Limited Edition", CD (2010).

A strong statement. However, when you listen to this album on equipment like the amplifier under test, you will find that it is not so much exaggerated at all. The amplifier showed it in an amazingly sonorous way, that's one thing. Good thing, too, because the TBM label, or rather its chief sound engineer, Mr. Yoshihiko Kannari, recorded music this way: strong, sonorous, with long reverb.

What struck me was that the tested amplifier doesn't overdo anything, and yet the sound seems big with it, seems full, seems - finally - highly energetic. The differences in the sound of Isao Suzuki's and Nobuyoshi Obara's double basses in the ˻ 2 ˺ Blue City track, the differences in their timbre and the way they were "served" were clear and obvious. Yet it was still music, not a collection of sounds. This recording, from the album of the same title, had a long, dark reverb and was shown as such, in a big, slightly distant way.

And as soon as the first notes of Sadanori Nakamute's guitar sounded, followed by Yoshiko Goto's vocals in the ˻ 3 ˺ And I Love You So track everything became intimate, close, dense. This is because the A-80 perfectly handles differentiation. It's the kind of skill that makes albums different, that makes us understand the differences in album production and mastering, and appreciate different types of releases.

However, the lower quality ones will still sound wonderfully with this amplifier. It's not that it "prefers" the best releases. It's interesting, but the more sonically advanced the device, the more enjoyable is listening to even lower quality releases. It is the case that as the resolution gets better, we also get more and more small information that enrich the presentation, complete it, not impede it. Problems of recording process and release quality are shown, highlighted by highly detailed products, not the highly resolving ones. So if you come across such a product, i.e. one that plays bad albums very badly - run away! And do not look back.

The Japanese amplifier is completely different. Its sound is not bright, yet Tsuyoshi Yamamoto's piano was showed with excellent attack, with emphasis on the percussive element of the sound. But, as I said, vocals, guitars, etc., were also wonderfully open, but at the same time soft, with some kind of velvet in the middle. This is how Tadeusz Nalepa's guitars sounded from the BREAKOUT Blues album in Damian Lipinski's magnificent remastering, released in 2023 by Warner Music Poland on SACD.

The presentation was a bit more "forward" than with the Soulution, and it was also more pronounced. In the sense that Accuphase values a clear drawing, envelope of sound. It doesn't overdo it, it's not exaggerated, but it's also not as dark as with the reference amplifier. It came out wonderfully every time, and it was hard for me to even tell what I liked better - the treble, the bass, or perhaps the midrange.

And that's because the brass was clear and crisp with it, energetic and fast. But there was also plenty of density in their sound, it was not just a fast "sound” and then silence, but rather a slow, rich, full decay. The same, by the way, was also true of the bass. The latter is not overblown, not too big, but we know, we have no doubt about it, that this is something the A-80 "likes". And it likes it with reciprocity, because low tones are energetic, dense, but also perfectly controlled. This is the kind of amplifier we won't worry about that with. We also get a colorful, multidimensional dynamic low range.

And finally, the midrange. But before we get to it, let me shortly discuss imaging. These are related features, by the way. The A-80 is an amplifier that perfectly differentiates soundstage layers. It does not stretch the stage to the sides, but rather deepens it. This is a huge change from the company's previous amplifiers, but even comparing this element of sound with how it was presented by earlier generations of this amplifier, the A-70 and A-75 models, the progress is impressive.

However, let's get back to the midrange. It is almost velvety, almost like that from SET tube amplifiers. Almost, because although it's not as perfectly saturated with harmonics, it's still equally palpable, equally dense and believable. MONTEVERDI's madrigals performed by Concerto Italiano in a wonderful edition by the now-defunct French Opus 111 label had the depth and fullness I wanted and expected.

The separation of voices was above average, as was the fusion of them in the same acoustic environment. The differences in timbre, tonality, technique, etc. between the singers were presented superbly (by the way, Opus 111 was once founded and led by Jolanta Skura, a compatriot of ours, more → HERE). It was a moving performance, and that's because each voice was clear, and yet the harmony, created when several artists sing, mattered.

Despite the clear articulation of vocals offered by the A-80, we won't be taken aback by its sharpness or jazzy sound. Even DIANA KRALL's rather heavily compressed vocals from the Wallflower album, given more upscale, were not too bright, nor too high. The amplifier showed exactly where the vocals, instruments were placed in the soundstage layers, melded this perfectly with the strings, and even informed me right away that the choruses of the album's opening ˻ 1 ˺ California Dreaming track have a short reverb and are recorded in a small, heavily attenuated space. Yes, that's what Accuphase is.


IF YOU WANT TO HEAR what an Accuphase amplifier can do in the realm of timing, timbre and dynamics, play a cover of Metallica's song Nothing Else Matters from Tidal performed by the vocal group VOCES8; it's a preview of their new album, which will be released by Decca. There is beautiful separation, there is depth, and there is a clear acoustic environment. It's an open sound, but mostly compact, focused.

And when you play Starry Starry Night performed by LIANNE LA HAVAS, you get strong, compressed, but thus "present" vocals and very low bass extension. And if you can't get enough of the latter, look for the song Stranger by the band KALEIDA. Whatever you play with this amplifier, it will interest and maybe even surprise you.

It's a device that plays with flair, fullness, dynamically. It is open from both band’s extremes, but retains a creamy, almost silky midrange. At the same time, it is transparent to the musical material, that is, it does not try to interpret it, but rather to give it in a possibly unaltered form. At the same time, it is honest, but also simply cool in what it does. This is one of the best, and perhaps even the best power amplifier from this company that I have heard. Hence the ˻ GOLD FINGERPRINT ˺ award.


ACCUPHASE A-80 IS ONE OF THREE Class A amplifiers by this Japanese brand; below it in the price list was the A-48, and above it the top-of-the-line A-300 monoblocks. It has a compact, extremely solid mechanical design with a rigid steel chassis to which thick aluminum components are bolted, with double walls. Rigidity is improved by very large heat sinks. The front is made of a very thick sheet of gold anodized aluminum - a hallmark of this company. Large handles have been placed on the sides to make it easier to carry.

FRONT AND REAR • LED-based VU-meter indicators are located under the large glass window. They show the gain of the system and allow one to get an idea of the power given off by the unit. Above, but still under the glass, are red LEDs indicating the selected settings: indicator mode, bridge (bridge) and dual mono modes, as well as the selected input. The buttons are located under a hinged flap, above which only a large power button was brought out. These are the two switches for VU-meter operation, input selection and gain. Everything works flawlessly.

The rear is dominated by the powerful speaker outputs. They are very convenient to use and there are two pairs of them per channel, allowing the unit to operate in bi-wiring or bi-amping mode, in the latter case with both channels operating independently. The sockets are really big, and while there is an option for banana plugs, everything about them screams: "spades!"

Below these eight massive terminals, taking up most of the rear panel, are the input jacks, RCA and XLR, the amplifier mode switch and the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) power inlet. The amplifier stands on four large feet, manufactured by Accuphase in-house. The manufacturer emphasizes that these are anti-vibration feet, made of high-carbon steel, close in terms of the content of this element to cast iron.

INSIDE • Accuphase's mechanical and electrical designs are a showcase of precision and attention to detail. The company does not use exotic components, focusing on extracting everything possible from high-end but standard transistors, integrated circuits and passive components.

But take a look at the picture of the inside of the device, and you won’t be able not to smile. The bulk of it is occupied by a massive toroidal transformer enclosed in a shield that shields it, cools it and stabilizes it mechanically. At the front are two main electronic capacitors with aluminum cladding to minimize mains ripple, the ground of which is bundled with gold-plated sheet metal, and the voltage is supplied by duplicated, thick copper cables. These capacitors are custom-made for Accuphase by Nichicon.

At the rear panel there is the input/output board, and the power amplifiers were bolted directly to very large heatsinks running along the sides. The output circuit uses copper coils with rectangular wire, and the signal to the output jacks is routed through thick, gold-plated boards. The microprocessor that controls the amplifier, including the extensive protection circuitry, is hidden under a screen near the front panel.

Technical data (according to the manufacturer)

● Output - STEREO mode (20 - 20,000 Hz): 65 W/8 Ω ⸜ 130 W/4 Ω ⸜ 260 W/2 Ω ⸜ 520 W/1 Ω
● Output - BRIDGE mode (20 - 20,000 Hz): 260 W/8 Ω ⸜ 520 W/4 Ω ⸜ 1040 W/2 Ω
● Total harmonic distortion (THD): 0.03% /4-16 Ω ⸜ 0.07%/2 Ω
● Intermodulation distortion: 0.01%
● Frequency response:
20 Hz - 20,000 Hz/+0, -0.2 dB
0.5 Hz - 160,000 Hz/+0, -3 dB
● Damping factor: 1000
● Input impedance (XLR/RCA): 40 kΩ/20 kΩ
● Signal-to-noise ratio ('A' weighted):
123 dB (GAIN selector in MAX position)
129 dB (GAIN selector in -12 dB position)
● Power consumption: 260 W
● Dimensions (W x H x D): 465 x 240 x 515 mm
● Weight: 44.6 kg

THIS TEST HAS BEEN DESIGNED ACCORDING TO THE GUIDELINES adopted by the Association of International Audiophile Publications, an international audio press association concerned with ethical and professional standards in our industry, of which HIGH FIDELITY is a founding member. More about the association and its constituent titles → HERE.


Reference system 2024

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC