Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier Review

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier Review

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier Review

The German company continues to improve its proprietary recipe for high-quality Hi-Fi sound at a reasonable price, where a tube pre-amplifier unit is combined with a transistor circuit. The new Magnat MA 900 model operates in class A/B and combines sufficient power with wide connectivity options and work with a variety of acoustics.

When you first get acquainted with the Magnat MA 900, a slight deja vu arises - the device deliberately uses the same stylistic and design solutions as the younger model MR 780, which we tested four years ago. And formally, the amplifier replaced the outwardly similar MA 1000 model.

Even the front panel here differs in just a couple of buttons, and all the details seem familiar. First of all, there is a long plastic window, divided in the middle by a round volume knob: on the left is an LED display, and on the right is a pair of dual ECC 81 triodes, which, incidentally, were manually selected, tested and warmed up before installation.

Under the window with the lamps there is still a tone block (which can be turned off with the Direct button) with three controls for low, mid and high frequencies. To the left is the balance knob. Among the remaining controls, the already familiar mono mode button and a separate 3.5 mm line input for quickly connecting portable equipment should be highlighted.

However, the noticeably larger dimensions will prevent you from confusing the MA 900 with its younger brother - with almost identical width and depth, the new amplifier is almost three centimeters taller, and now the neutral, classic appearance has become emphatically more solid.

Magnat Managing Director Shandro Fischer sees in the hybrid line devices that allow you, first of all, to listen carefully and intently to music from a high-quality source, but also to play it in the background from a streaming service or portable device. Therefore, in the MA 900, as well as in the younger model, special attention was paid to wide connectivity options, which is clearly demonstrated by the abundance of connectors on the rear panel.

You will find here two pairs of built-in phono preamplifier inputs (quite decent, by the way) on Texas Instruments operational amplifiers: for MM and MC systems with high output levels and separately for conventional MC pickups. Nearby there are five pairs of analog RCA connectors to connect a variety of sources: from a CD player to a cassette deck. On the side there is a special analog REC output for recording to a tape recorder. Acoustics with an impedance of 4–8 Ohms are connected through screw connectors in the center of the panel.

Quite a lot of attention is also paid to digital sources, which can be connected to the amplifier using two pairs of optical and coaxial connectors - then the signal goes to a DAC from Cirrus Logic (the “780” model has a Wolfson WM8740). I would consider the built-in Bluetooth 5.0 chip from Qualcomm with aptX HD support to be a bonus feature that, if necessary, will help to provide high-quality audio content from a tablet or smartphone, but it is hardly suitable for serious listening.

Personally, I would have liked the networking and streaming functions that are present on a number of amplifiers in this price category, but the Magnat MA 900 does not have them.

Other Brands

It is rightly believed that Magnat amplifiers go well with acoustics from the brand of the same name. Therefore, we decided to take our own speakers for the test - two pairs of models of different design and presentation. We recently listened to the neo-vintage Magnat Transpuls 1000 floor standing speakers with the above-mentioned MR 780 amplifier, so they themselves suggest themselves for comparison.

At the other extreme, we have the exquisite and precise Magnat Signature 905 3.5-way floor-standing speakers, which feature a high-frequency section of two 30- and 20-mm tweeters, with the upper frequency bar stated at 55,000 Hz - of course, not to to entertain bats, but for the sake of the notorious “high fidelity.” These acoustics reproduce bass equally confidently, starting from 23 Hz.

And for greater objectivity, we decided to use equipment from “the other side of the strait” - exquisite British two-way floorstanding speakers Q Acoustics Concept 40. The source of the signal was the Danish player Lyngdorf CD-2, which has repeatedly assisted us in test listening and has proven itself positively. Today we used the player's own DAC, connecting the device via an analog input.


Those who were accustomed to rock music in the early 80s with foreign vinyl and “Radiotekhnika 35 AS-1” speakers are subconsciously drawn to large boxes with large paper “burdocks” and a bass reflex in front. That’s how I am – we started listening with Magnat Transpuls 1000.

This setup produces a very comfortable and natural analog sound, and the speakers in this case seem faster and more accurate than the older Transpuls 1500. For example, French metallers Gojira are distinguished by an angry, distinct sound, and the amplifier forced the speakers to faithfully convey all the guitar riffs and drum section.

Alternative metal Limp Bizkit is considered difficult for large inertial “paper”, but the Magnat MA 900 again showed that it can keep the speakers under control. But the compositions “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC and “The Happiest Days of Our Lives” by Pink Floyd could sound more cheerful and tougher.

Jazz compositions are presented very advantageously. The speakers comfortably present the shrill brass section and at the same time play the lows deeply and volumetrically - it seems that when you move the bow along the bass strings of the double bass, you can physically feel the vibrations of the varnished surface of the instrument.

Classical music lovers will be pleased by the combination of Magnat Transpuls 1000 and Magnat MA 900 with their ability to present large-scale symphonic and operatic works, when the setup equally clearly conveys vocals, the quiet sound of a triangle somewhere on the edge of the orchestra pit, and a large Turkish drum playing on the border with infrasound. Still, the size of the case and speakers matters.

Organ fugues and piano works are presented just as powerfully and three-dimensionally. However, I still won’t over-praise this setup - even though the Magnat MA 900 squeezed close to the maximum quality out of these speakers, it is felt that the amplifier, having a decent margin of sharpness and detail, is capable of more.

Modern reading

As soon as you connected the Q Acoustics Concept 40 speakers, the presentation changed and became noticeably more transparent - with an emphasis on high and mid frequencies. Vocalists, regardless of genre, seem to have moved closer to the listeners, acoustic and electric guitars sounded sharper and more distinct, and losses in low frequencies are now compensated by drive - the same AC/DC play as if they are hammering in nails.

In general, the presentation has become, if you like, more modern. For example, with the previous speakers, ABBA sounded very soft and authentic, but now the recording seems to have been changed to digital remastering - the sound has become sharper and seemingly compressed. In jazz and classical music, “numbers” have also been added and at the same time there has been less depth and volume.

The Magnat Signature 905 acoustics offer a golden mean in this situation. It is transparent and detailed in the mids, not to mention the highs, and at the same time handles the lows very well.

During listening, I deliberately did not touch the tone control knobs, but with the 905s I always wanted to turn down the highs and work some magic on the balance of the mids and lows. But I would like to emphasize that this is for my taste, which values ​​softness, while many may like the emphatically detailed and rich sound.

Perhaps a vinyl player or CD player with a different presentation would be in place here. I repeat - this is a subjective question. The main thing is that the amplifier itself does not add any gags. I got the impression that the Magnat MA 900 does not impose its will on the acoustics and the source, but gives them the opportunity to open up in accordance with the ideas and design inherent in them. This is precisely what distinguishes it from devices that stubbornly push through their character, regardless of the surrounding components.

Even though the manufacturer himself claims that the tube preamplifier unit was specially installed to create those “warm harmonics”, but, fortunately, I was never able to feel the ostentatious vintageness and emphasized “tube” sound. The presentation turned out to be quite transparent, neutral and at the same time comfortable for the ear - perhaps this is what the developers had in mind.


In my Magnat MA 900 AmpreviewMagnat MA 900 turned out to be a truly universal device - and not only because of its wide connectivity options, but mainly due to its ability to work harmoniously with different sources and acoustics. This is exactly the case when you don’t have to rack your brains too much in search of a suitable amplifier, since it is capable of revealing components that are different in spirit and design.


Universal, Power, Detail, sound.


There were no significant comments about the sound, but compared to the competition, expanded network capabilities would not hurt

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