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This review first appeared in the April 2009 issue of hifi & stereo magazine You can also read this review of the Exposure S2010 CDP & integrated amplifier in its original German version. We translated it through a syndication arrangement with our German colleagues. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of or Exposure. - Ed.

Reviewer: Martin Mertens
Analog source: Thorens TD 160 HD, TP250 arm, Benz Micro MC Gold cartridge

Analog source: Creek CD 43 Mk II, Logitech Transporter
Amplification: Phono - Lehmann Black Cube SE II; integrated - Jadis Orchestra; Myryad MXI2080
Loudspeaker: Expolinear T 120, Gaithain ME150
Cable: Low-level - Vampire CC; high-level - inakustik LS 1002
Review Component Retail: € 1.120 each

I've somehow managed to foster a reputation for fancying outdated technologies, perhaps rightfully so. For music playback, I believe that two speakers are sufficient for a proper soundstage. I'm fond of valve amps and convinced that vinyl outdoes even current digital in certain areas. Yet my CD collection lives ripped on a NAS server from which data are streamed to a network player over the resident WLAN. I pen this review on a computer, not
the nostalgic but gorgeous mechanical typewriter on my shelf. The photos for this article were shot digitally even though my best pictures, you already knew, derive from conventional film preferably in black & white.

Granted, it's far more comfy to get results on the screen after ten minutes in Photoshop than inhaling developers and fixatives over a half day in the dark room. But I remain convinced that no computer printer competes with a properly worked SW negative carefully enlarged on baryta paper*, never mind that this conservative process teaches one certain fundamentals about photography. Those basics remain valid for digital too despite its endless processing options which tend to discourage taking those rules as serious anymore.


* Baryta paper is the classic, top-quality photographic paper used in black-and-white photography. A white layer of barium-sulphate gelatine (called baryta) is applied to the paper ground, followed by a light-sensitive layer. A typical feature of classical photography is that this second, light-sensitive layer consists of silver halogen grains, usually silver bromide, suspended in gelatine. This light-sensitive layer is erroneously often called an emulsion; the correct chemical term is suspension since it dense particles are distributed through a viscous fluid. The silver halogenide in baryta paper is only sensitive to blue and violet light; therefore only red or yellowish green light can be used in the darkroom when photos are being developed on baryta paper. After exposure the photographic paper is developed, fixed, watered and dried. For glossy prints a dry press, also known as a baryta press, is used. When prints on baryta paper are carefully processed, the quality is excellent, with pure white, intense black and rich gradations of grey. Baryta paper is the most durable of all conventional photographic papers: prints on baryta paper can last more than a century. The developing process on baryta paper is so time-consuming and tricky that it is now only used for prints of particularly high quality. - from Ketterer Kunst

One is taught for example that one can never afterwards rescue an image taken out of focus nor manipulate contrasts willy nilly. Improper exposure never makes for a proper image, hence correct exposure remains the alpha and omega of ambitious photography. And since belichtung or lighting turns to exposure in English, we've got our perfect entry into today's review:

Exposure's founding dates back to the halcyon days of British High Fidelity, i.e. the mid 70s. But whereas firms like NAD, Naim or Rega have become the establishment since, Exposure at least to my mind has never gained similar - um, exposure.

Their product portfolio is tidy and mainly contains CD players and amplifiers divided into three lines. The S2010 is the entry-level kit, the S3010 and New Classics the step ups. We requisitioned the S2010 integrated and matching CD player from the German importer Connect Audio. A further member of this series is the S2010 power amp but a dedicated preamp doesn't exist since the amplifier is meant as bi-amp companion for the integrated.

All S2010 entrants are housed in the same solid black aluminum chassis of 90 x 440 x 330mm dimensions (HxWxD). Gap tolerances would intimidate many a car maker. The protruding face plate is 6mm silver-anodized aluminum. These machines don't look bad but aren't completely stylish either. Let's call it character then. In typical Brit tradition, functionality is Spartan. The brushed alu fascia is interrupted merely by the power mains, volume pot and input selector – and the IR eye.

The rear is similarly sober with its IEC power inlet, 6 pairs of RCA source sockets, a fixed rec out and a variable pre out. The speaker terminals are doubled up but not independently switched and thus for biwiring only. The innards follow suit with a toroidal power transformer of unimpressive size, a few filter caps and a sparsely populated PCB. There's no hunking heat sink because the output transistors couple to the enclosure bottom via aluminum channel to turn the entire casing into a dissipating surface. One final detail is a small piggyback board behind the 'phono' input which for a €150 surcharge can be swapped for an MM or MC phono board.

Both Japanese Alps pot and input selector are motorized and hence, remote controlled. That wand works both the integrated and CD player but its controls mainly accommodate the amp to offer just the bare necessities of user comfort. The CDP's fascia sports the expected drawer and display plus power mains and usual control buttons. The poorly legible display in warm red can be turned off. The back offers RCA outputs, coaxial and Toslink digital outs and the power IEC.