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Vista Spark: this amplifier sounds better than it seems

The Vista Spark is exactly what the world of audiophiles needs: a small, simple, uncomplicated, high-quality, affordable integrated amplifier. Spark is very basic in functionality, you get two analog stereo inputs, but there are no digital inputs or even a remote control. The main directive of Spark is to maximize the quality of the sound, and it does it very well.

The Vista Spark amplifier.


Compilation quality is decent enough for a component of $ 349, £ 251 or AU $ 437, but you will not get bragging rights when your audiophile friends come by and see the Spark parked on your audio system. Oh, but when listen your ears will be encouraged when Spark proves once again that you should never judge a component with your eyes. The most surprising thing about Spark's design is that it uses class AB circuits, not class D, and most of my favorite amplifiers are AB class designs. Catch is, AB amplifiers usually sell for a lot more than the Spark, it's a bargain.

I just had my Magnepan .7 speakers set up when I unpacked the Spark, and frankly I did not expect the amplifier to sound so good with the .7s. They are more power hungry beasts, and Spark squeezes only 20 watts per channel for 4 ohm and 8 ohm speakers, but the sound was "relaxed", there was no hardness or edge, and that's a good thing. The Spark chassis works cool to the touch, even when the volume increased in relation to the .7s. Before I forget to mention it, the Spark is made in Serbia, and comes with a two-year warranty.

I started working mainly using a set of speakers Emotiva Airmotiv B1 to listen to sessions That pairing made more sense than the .7s, the sound of the B1 was pleasantly transparent, with well defined bass and the dynamics were animated

For comparisons I got my 40 watts per channel NAD C 316BEE ($ 380, £ 279, AU $ 529) integrated stereo amplifier, and sounded more powerful and powerful, while including more bass. The sweetest and most transparent media of The Spark were the main attraction with the soundtrack of the film "Swiss Army Man" that presents massive voices and with many layers: they rise, they sing and they throw themselves with abandon. The C 316BEE was not loose, but it was a bit more mechanical / tense than the Spark. The B1 was a great match, but I wish I had a set of KEF Q350 speakers at hand, I guess they will really sing with Spark.

The back of the Vista Spark amplifier. [19659003] View

The bass of C 316BEE was fuller with the B1, but the bass of the Spark was lighter and better defined. So it was everything else, the Spark is a higher resolution amplifier. More than that, Spark has something more difficult to pin down, something that made me listen again long after I finished writing this review. The C 316BEE has more inputs and a remote control! Even so, none of the amplifiers have digital inputs, the digital converter Schiit Modi 2 would be a good combination with any of the amplifiers.

As for the C 316BEE, it is also a Class AB design, but all the new NAD amplifiers are Class D, which I like less. I have a feeling that the C 316BEE will finally be eliminated, so take them while you can. It is a great amplifier and a great value.

The Vista Spark is small, just 11 by 5.3 by 2.6 inches (280 by 135 by 65 mm), making it ideal for the use of the desktop system, or perhaps a small bedroom or kitchen music system . I'm really in love with this little guy, but I'm attracted to simple and easy-to-use products. If that seems great to you, the Spark could also be good for you.

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