Spelled out. Attentive readers understood. Across my earlier pages, I mostly framed the RA280 by what it's not. It acknowledged persistent bias against class D to assure prospective buyers that in this case there's really no cause for concern. To celebrate, let's wrap with a recap of all the things the RA280 is: £3K; 250wpc; phono; defeatable tone controls; attractively styled; finely built; with remote. There was a time when a smart 50-watt integrated from Exposure, NAD or Naim was the cat's meow. Also not eons ago, a 250-watter was a true muscle amp; our sector's Ford Mustang. Like a dinosaur-erasing meteor, pulse-density modulation then exploded perception to 'power is cheap'. Today 250 watts are commonplace; should it be class D. When flying a class AB Bryston or Kinki badge, 250 watts still enjoy a properly muscled perception. But no longer is it the exception. Class D punched a hole in that exclusivity. Why then doesn't it enjoy the same respect? Because it's the usurper? Because the tech needn't cost as much? If so, let's call a punt a punt. That's reverse snobbery in action; ugly hifi racism; horse manure on a westerly wind. To escape its odour, let's call the RA280 what it is: a classic muscle amp behind the lightweight guise of a smart 21st-century integrated.

Sonically it's a slightly retro proposition. Here class D's very low noise floor wasn't exploited for soon tiresome hyper-rez excess. Detail is present but not on a silver platter. Image outlines aren't nearfield chiselled but midfield relaxed. Tone textures aren't tube-reminiscent wet but like a summer's day in a non-humid climate: comfortably dry not Death Valley desiccated. In tone-control bypass, the top end has natural extension without a cabriolet's roof-down effect of super airiness. Those wishing for more of that have the treble control. Control in the bass conforms with common class D expectations. That means ace. The midband where most music lives has good density and chewiness without excess padding from harmonic-distortion thickening. Separation and focus are high but not extreme. That's back at the soft-power maxim. It doesn't cut out tone pictures like a shadow play but puts them more in the flow. Big voltage swings track with ease like they ought to with a true muscle amp. In concert perhaps with the lighter touch on micro-detail magnification, small-scale dynamic gradients aren't as nuanced as our monaural amps of equivalent 8Ω power. Those simply lack all integrated functionality. For Cambridge or Rotel money, the Hifi Rose RA280 is a legitimate alternative to established brands. Unlike NAD or even Denmark's Aavik, it doesn't repackage nCore or Pascal but drives its own switching GaNFet outputs. Then it adds a proprietary SMPS not one outsourced to Meanwell. As a brand newbie whose only prior exposure were ads and webpages, consider me duly impressed. The Hifi Rose engineering team is clearly as skilled as their industrial designer. So I'll end how I started. A rose is a rose is a rose; until it's a Hifi Rose.