Country of Origin



This review first appeared in August 2020 on fairaudio.de. By request of the manufacturer and permission of the author, it is hereby translated and syndicated to reach a broader audience. All images contained in this piece are the property of fairaudio, 6moons or Grandinote – Ed.

Reviewer: Michael Bruss
Analog sources: J. Sikora Initial table with Kuzma Stogi Reference S12 VTA arm and Transrotor Figaro
Digital sources: LinnenberG Telemann, Norma Audio Revo DAC,  Auralic Aries, MacBook Pro
Integrated amplifier: Linn Classik Movie II
Preamps: Norma Audio Revo SC-2,  LinnenberG Bizet and Neukomm MCA112S phonostages
Power amp: LinnenberG Liszt stereo
Loudspeakers: Argon Audio Forte A5, Qin Prestige Three, Nubert NuPro A100
Cables: Gutwire Chime 3, Fastaudio Black Science, Gutwire EON-Z &Synchrony 2 SE, Audioquest Yukon, fastaudio Black Science, Graditech Kide 3 and Kide, JIB Boaacoustic Silver Digital Xeno USB, AudioQuest Vodka and Cinnamon Ethernet, AudioQuest Carbon RCA, Graditech Kide Digital RCA, Audioquest Tornado, Gutwire SV-8 &G Clef 2 & Ultimate Ground, AudioQuest NRG-2
Equipment rack: Roterring Belmaro 33 Customized
Sundry accessories: Tsakiridis Super Athina AC filter, Ydol Relax 60 and fastaudio Absorber, Acoustic System resonators, The Gryphon De-Magnetiz
Review component retail: €11'400

Music, magic & Magri. A few years ago, a Grandinote demo at the Munich HighEnd show really appealed to me. That aroused my interest in the brand. Forward to today. I see a relatively compact, beautiful integrated amplifier on our German distributor's website. After the recent heavyweights of ASR Emitter 1 and Avantgarde Paris X-i1100, I also spot a welcome back-friendly change to my review schedule. Well, I should have read more carefully. The young man delivering the Grandinote Shinai by dolly (!) warned me: "This is heavy!" I looked. I thought I'd manage. I did. But I needed far longer breaks on each level up to my fourth floor than my not-quite-so-advanced age would justify. Instead of a cute lifestyle product, I had signed up for a real heave-ho amplifier. First off, the Grandinote Shinai wasn't as compact as expected. Its 47cm depth adds unexpected mass to a deceptively compact front of just 32 x 20cm WxH. That means a net 40kg, almost 50kg in its sturdy hard-shell transport case. Uff.

Space efficiency Italian style? The central grill is perfectly polished steel. This unfortunately permits just a limited view on the densely packed interior. The extruded black side profiles round elegantly at the edges. The base plate and rear panel are polished steel again, the former with more perforations. All is assembled to an extremely high standard to feel incredibly tough and inert. The non-sunken screw heads add the necessary industrial touch to not turn into a cosmetic cream puff. This is exactly how I envision the best Italian handiwork. Not by chance perhaps as Grandinote are located in Lombardy not far from other sterling examples of tech and craftsmanship like Norma Audio, Diapason or Sonus faber. It really is how to best advertise one's country of origin.

What upon closer inspection catches the eye are two power sockets and horizontally plus vertically mirrored inputs. Hello dual mono replete with two power supplies and, fully consistent, twinned power IEC. Okay, even stricter apartheid is possible with Grandinote's Prestigio. That integrated still splits out into two separate chassis. Shinai adopts the basic Prestigio circuit in a single chassis with 37wpc into 8/4Ω per channel instead of 60 watts. If you wonder where 23 watts went missing given the serious weight on hand, blame full Class A mode. Like its siblings, Shinai isn't class A/B to ever even  partially switch its transistors. They're always fully on to mean 200-watt idle consumption. Grandinote in fact quote 270 watts of power consumption without further explanation.

From our prior Shinai review.

When switched on with its big-clicking central push button, the display of my Tsakiridis Super Athina line filter to whose unfiltered outputs the amp connected still showed a moderate 35-40 watts. Then the countdown started. The Grandinote went backward from 99 seconds. With each second that diminished, the Tsakiridis display added a watt or two. By the time Shinai's outputs were live, the Greek display had increased by about 30 watts beyond the countdown's start.