Micromega MyAmp DAC/ Integrated Amplifier

Small Footprint, Big Performance

Equipment report
Categories:
Integrated amplifiers,
Digital-to-analog converters
|
Products:
Micromega MyAmp
Micromega MyAmp DAC/ Integrated Amplifier

Jam-packed is the only way to describe the back panel. It hosts three analog inputs plus three digital, a 96kHz/24-bit USB, and 192kHz/24-bit optical and coaxial/SPDIF inputs. There’s also a direct analog output, a sub output, and full-sized multiway speaker posts. The three-pin 10-amp cord is removable. The MyAmp streams conventional audio via the hugely popular Bluetooth aptX module, an efficient and more user-friendly (I’ve found) alternative to WiFi. This particular codec is also popular because it minimizes latency while improving bandwidth. Throw distance is always a consideration with Bluetooth, and depending on your home you can’t really figure much more than twenty to thirty feet from the transmitting smart device. Pairing Bluetooth devices with the MyAmp was a breeze, and up to eight devices could join up. However, remember that when streaming from a device like an iPad/iPhone you’ll need to disable any audio e-mail and push notifications as these bleeps, burps, and buzzes will temporarily mute the volume of the music. Of course, you can also connect a USB cable between your computer and MyAmp. Overall, MyAmp is designed to be an affordable, single-box solution for music lovers on a budget.

The MyAmp exemplifies what high-end audio should be about—solid sonics blended with flexibility and adaptation. It can spend the day in the desktop environment, and then just as easily be reassigned for small system duties in a den or cozy family room. In fact, in my small room, the MyAmp handily drove the expressive Epos K1 loudspeakers, the foot-tall two-way reflex compacts I reviewed in Issue 148. Although the Epos is nominally a 4-ohm speaker that’s rated at 88dB sensitivity, the Micromega seems to have plenty of power to drive it, even when subjected to the kind of evil hijinks that I put every review sample through. It impressively preserved the key strengths of the K1 including its open full-throated midrange, general poise under dynamic pressure, and solid imaging. Sonically I couldn’t extract anything bad from the MyAmp, save that it was a bit subtractive in the most benign sense. For example, the airiness riding atop Norah Jones’ cover of “Cold, Cold Heart” was nicely preserved, if slightly shaded. Only the deeper bass pulses or power of orchestral percussion seemed slightly diminished in output and transient impact. For larger room applications, however, you’ll likely want a solid 8-ohm speaker with higher sensitivity in the 90dB+ range. And there are plenty of them out there.

The MyAmp assumes an even greater comfort level with headphones. Of the models I had on hand it especially favored the higher-sensitivity models like the Cardas EM5813 (32-ohm/104dB), Audio-Technica ANC7b (300-ohm/109dB), and the B&W P3 (34-ohm/111dB). A few short minutes with one of these and MyAmp led me to understand why they call it personal listening.

As I took in the opening verse of Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland” from the 1975 concert at Hammersmith Odeon in London I could plainly hear Bruce leaning into the mike during some softly sung moments, and cupping it intimately between his hands for added effect. To gauge low-level resolving power I often turn to the backing harmonies of Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham and Christie McVie from “Gold Dust Woman,” a wonderful transfer from the 96/24 file. Behind Stevie Nicks’ lead, these two distinctive voices emerged in stunning detail. And during Muddy Waters’ “My Home Is On The Delta,” a recording known for its terrific ambience and envelopment, everything was there, filling your ears with air and ambient cues. Waters’ vocal was as lively and tonally accurate as I’ve experienced, although there was still that slight veiling on top and just a little speed-bumping of transients. Mind you, there are limits to the Micromega’s transparency and dynamic slam. Soundstaging is not epic, and imaging lacks the sort of pinpoint focus that locks each instrument down within an acoustic space. Quick aside: My personal pair of AKG K501s are cans of notoriously low sensitivity (120-ohm and 94dB) and they couldn’t be driven effectively by the MyAmp—a reminder that headphone/amp matchups matter. Remember that Micromega makes a matching dedicated headphone amplifier (MyZic) for difficult-to-drive headphones.

The whole point of entry level is to pare away the extraneous and cut to the chase—performance. In this sense, the MyAmp flat out gets down to business. It’s not alone, however, in this tough segment—it goes right up against the NAD D 3020 (Issue 239), an equally excellent competitor with comparable sonics, better looks, and the edge on price. But the Micromega offers more inputs and overall flexibility. The MyAmp is confirmation that serious comes in all sizes. It’s a desktop dynamo to be reckoned with.

SPECS & PRICING

Power Output: 30Wpc into 8 ohms
Inputs: Three analog, three digital
Dimensions: 5.5" x 5.5" x 3"
Price: $649

AUDIO PLUS SERVICES
156 Lawrence Paquette
Industrial Drive
Champlain, NY 12919
(800) 663-9352
audioplusservices.com

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