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Be it the softly swishing cymbals on Øystein Sevåg's "Hanging Gardens" (though the connection of swishing and cymbals is quite tenuous; I find this sound ultra complex and elusive for many hifi components), the sibilants in Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" or the forward synth percussion on Radiohead's "15 Steps"... the Bugatti is neither a golden-hued charmer nor brushes anything under the table here (or elsewhere). Its tonal balance and illumination of the high ranges is exactly as I'm used to from neutral transistor amps. In resolution matters, the Bugatti 300 SE doesn't hit the brakes either. Au contraire, its magnification power will doubtlessly please those who celebrate a penchant for fine detail and transparency. However, this doesn't run the risk of sounding analytical. Which brings us back to my earlier opinion that high resolution needn't be the bastard child of vivisection. I covered this in greater depth in my review of Fonel's Simplicité to beg for a self quote:

"It's not just about a component's ability to hectically reveal the presence of the smallest 'somethings' but to take its time to properly lay bare all the facets of the 'how' - including the spaces between the notes. Managing merely the facts (which on its own is good) while stripping away subtext and connective subtlety (their surrounding substance) leads to calling such components analytical." A specific forté of today's amp is to not jump -- or better yet, stutter -- from detail to detail but to tease out the substance, sustain and connective tissue of the sound. That leads to the aforementioned silkiness as well as pleasurable fullness and color intensity. Where colleague Ralph's deeply cherished, ultra-transparent and significantly dearer SAC il piccolo monos focus squarely on a plucked string's transient (say on "Afro-Left" by Leftfield), the ring-out and with it, the complete spectrum of string sound is noticeably more complex, organic and denser over the Glockenklang Bugatti 300 SE.

Myryad's MXA 2150, my workhorse amp admired for its 'speed' and control, netted similar conclusions: The multi-layered airy decays of Sevåg's ephemeral cymbal magic suffered compaction and turned out somewhat 'greyer' than over the Bugatti. But even with less ethereal matters such as the artificial reverb of "I'Good, I'm Gone" [Lykke Li's Youth Novels] surrounding a persistent beat, the Glockenklang attracts attention for not brushing over this echo but capture it carefully.

Vocals and the midrange in general profit likewise from these abilities which are buttressed by a solid foundation. Lykke Li's voice (a young Swedish songstress who debuted with 2008's Youth Novels) particularly over my Thiel CD 2.4 can turn a mite glassy with certain electronics. Not so with the Bugatti which remains full-bodied and relaxed. But there's more. Those who want vise-grip control and hard-kicking hyper-pressurized bass won't feel 100% served. While no slattern on focus sharpness, the consecutively wilder and denser interplay of piano, drums and double bass of EST's Premonition is rendered with more image lock and soundstage sorting by certain other amps. The Bugatti handles the occasional low-bass kicks of this song a tad more restrained and while the bass intro run lacks not for passion due to the powerful bass foundation, in matters of pressurization it's ultimately not the last word.

Are you hoping to trade up your integrated for a phat pre/power combo to finally yield stupendous pressure from your speakers? Do you insist on extravagant features and stylish design? Without knowing you better, I'd assume that considering its potent competitors, Glockenklang's Bugatti won't conquer your heart completely. But who knows, closer listening might have you cotton to other qualities, not the least of which is 2 x 160-watt/8-ohm power before I forget that relevant item. Or, your amplifier shopping list is altogether different. Do you prefer first-rate resolving power but please, without nervousness, artificial edges and corners? Do you instead want powerful colors and natural body? In which case, I have just one word: Voilà!

The Glockenklang Bugatti 300 SE stereo amp is characterized by:

  • A comparatively silken, substantial yet simultaneously neutral demeanor without soft focus or come-hither charms.
  • Good resolution.
  • A somewhat purist appearance with immaculate build quality.
  • A somewhat reticent infra bass and image lock less chiseled than other muscle amps might offer.


  • Weight: 27kg
  • Dimensions: 435/485 x 140 x 310mm (W without/with ears x H x D)
  • Trim: black | other colors and no ears on request
  • Output power 2 x 160 Watt/8 Ohm or 2 x 300 Watt/4 Ohm
  • Power consumption: ca. 100 Watt
  • Operational class: AB
  • Inputs: XLR
  • Speaker terminals: accept bananas and spades
  • Other: dual mono, dual-differential, bridgeable to mono, ground-lift switch, no RCA inputs
  • Website
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