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This review first appeared in the January 2013 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of the Audreal V30 in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. 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 fairaudio or Audreal - Ed.

Reviewer: Jochen Reinecke
Sources: iPod Video 80GB with Pure i-20 dock, Marantz SA 7001 CD/SACD, Yamaha CD-S 1000, Pro-Ject Xpression III mit Ortofon OM 30 Super
Amplification: Funk LAP-2 and Dynavox TPR-2 preamps, Trends Audio TA-10.2 SE and Yarland FV-34C III integrateds, Myryad MXA 2150 power amp
Loudspeakers: Neat Momentum 4i, Quadral Rondo, Nubert nuBox 101 with AW 441 subwoofer, DIY transmission line with F120A widebander
Cables: AVI Deep Blue interconnect, Ortofon SPK 500 speaker cable
Review component retail: €1.590

With both curiosity and awe, my daughter accompanied my sweaty heave of the 24kg Audreal V30 integrated onto the top of my rack with a "that looks like a tank". With its tube covers in place it admittedly did look bullish and massive if compact. This impression mellows after unbolting the black metal protectors but only by a bit. The four KT88 in the output stage are decidedly fat pleasure devices. Mated to a pair each of ECC83 and EN8P input and driver bottles plus a central power trafo between two output transformers, the deck here is clearly stacked. So let's take a step back and ask what kind of player has such puffed-up cheeks.

The V30 originates from China where it is built by Xindak aka Chengdu Xindak Electronic Co Ltd. This company is no newcomer. After 23 years of operations their current portfolio spans more than 100 models of numerous amps, CD players and D/A converter as well as interconnects, speaker cables and power cords. In essence they've become a one-stop provider except for speakers. For the German market Xindak gear is rebranded as Audreal and currently offers 11 valve amplifying models by way of five integrateds, two preamps and four power amps. The latter break down into three different mono pairs. Amongst the German integrateds the V30 sits at the very top and sports truly impressive paper specs for its asking price.

Starting with output power, it claims in excess of 50wpc into 8Ω at less than 0.2% distortion. That's class A push/pull pentode mode. We also get three relay-switched line inputs with chassis-mount socketry and a motorized Alps pot which implies remote control. And that's no universal excuse of cheap plastic crap but a rakishly machined full metal jacket wand.

Add 4/8-ohm tabs, discrete secondaries for pre/power stages, a combination of PCB and point-to-point construction and instead of convenient but sonically compromised auto bias proper trim pots for fixed output bias. All this is yours for the decidedly modest outlay of €1.590. My first pressing question thus was, what's wrong with this picture? With one disc in my lower back twitching and in a foul mood by now, one thing was clear right off – this was no hollow show. From weight to fit'n'finish, I faced one serious chunka metal (or hifi tank in the mind of a little girl). Its three controls handle silky smooth volume in the middle, hard mains power at left and sturdy input selection at right. The back mirrors the latter with three RCA pairs, then rounds out socketry with speaker terminals and a power inlet. Finis.