In light of the fact that I paired the Accuphase E370 integrated amp with my PMC twenty5.24 floorstanding speakers, the very first element that I wanted to experience is the rich and engaging bass response that I am used to with these speakers. Playing the famous “Japanese Roots” track by TakeDake with Neptune from a standard WAV 16/44.1 file, the E370 was very capable of giving the PMCs a good sonic workout. The bass response dug really deep and offered great extension, making the listening experience very desirable. The amp produced a very bold and authoritative bass, while never compromising the clarity of all the instruments used on this track. Even the traditional wind instrument on this track sounded very airy and open, as its sound swept through my listening room. In my listening area, the E370 managed to provide an enveloping ambience.
Next in the queue was “Enter Sandman” by Metallica on CD. The E370 energized this track with power and authority, delivering an upfront and raw performance. The shredding guitar solo of Kirk Hammett sounded very sharp but not to an ear pinching level. I also found the solo to sound well balanced with the heavy drumming from Lars Ulrich. The overall sound however sounded a bit muddled and chaotic. While it sounded loud and huge, it didn’t really move me with much emotional engagement.
How did the E370 perform in delivering Hi Res audio? First up was Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” track on DSD. The double bass and the percussion on this track were delivered with great weight, reinforcing what I experienced when listening to the “Japanese Roots” track. But what amazed me is how the overall presentation was on the neutral side, where the wind instrument was not overshadowed by the low frequency part of the track. The wind instrument sounded remarkably airy despite playing alongside the heavy bass notes. I then tried another bass-heavy track by a Tunisian composer named Anouar Brahem on DSD and sure enough, heard a similar neutral presentation.
Next I decided to evaluate how the E370 performs with vocals and my first choice was to put on the Come Away With Me album by Norah Jones on SACD. This was when I began to appreciate the true capability of the E370. This recording made me realize that Accuphase had rated the power of this amp conservatively. The amp sounded more engaging than other amps with higher wattage ratings. The soundstage was huge and precisely focused, while the bass sounded full and played with full extension. Norah’s vocals were delivered with heartfelt emotions and at times, I felt like I was at one of her live shows. I jumped to the track ” Turn Me On” and the performance of the E370 continued to make me feel emotionally engaged.
Thoroughly satisfied with the Norah Jones performance, I switched to a classic track from my part of the world (Malaysia). At the time of writing this review, a famous Indonesian-born Dutch female singer named Anneke Gronloh had just passed away. Playing her classic track entitled “Bengawan Solo”, the E370 presented me with a different perspective. Although this track doesn’t have the best of mixes, I found the E370 to be quite forgiving. The amp maintained clarity throughout the recording and the highs and mids played to my satisfaction. Bass was a little bit laid back on this old track but nevertheless, the huge soundstage and airy delivery compensated for the lack of low frequencies.
Last but not least, I also played another DSD track by Jennifer Warnes during my listening sessions. “Way Down Deep” was the ultimate confirmation of the E370’s ability to provide powerful, low frequency experience. The bass not only washed over me with great engagement, it’s fantastic extension made me love my PMC speakers even more. This was a perfect example of how changing an amp in a system can give you a completely different perspective of what your speakers are capable of. Compared to some other amps that I have reviewed, a performance this strong in the bottom end usually comes with the sacrifice of the whole frequency balance. But not with this amp. Jennifer’s vocals were front and center in this case, giving the impression that she was performing in front of a live crowd.
Listening to all the tracks mentioned above again through the E370’s headphone output also proved to be an excellent experience. I normally use a dedicated headphone amp but the E370 still managed to impress me. It delivered a nicely open sound while still maintaining the details and clarity of the various instruments from these tracks.
The Accuphase E370 integrated amplifier is a wonderful example of how highly accurate engineering can provide an honest and uncolored music performance. With a high quality source, the E370 provided a huge soundstage without compromising any details or clarity in the low and high frequency spectrums. It excelled in performance especially with jazz and vocal music genres. It dug deeply into bass lines and produced an extensive bottom end slam. With heavier music like metal or rock, some might feel that the amp is a little laid back. For the asking price, the E370 is a serious contender for those seeking for a natural sounding amplifier that offers flexibility in future upgrades either on the digital side (adding a DAC board) or analogue side (adding a phono stage board). One note of caution, this is a very honest amplifier. Feeding it poorly recorded, poorly mixed material or connecting it to an inferior source, will only reveal the shortcomings of the track or the source. On the other hand, if you pair it with a high quality source, the E370 will give you an elevated and enjoyable listening experience.
For this review, the Accuphase E370 was paired with the PMC twenty5.24 floorstanding speakers, Sony HAP Z1 ES Hi Res player, ARCAM CDS50 SACD player, Clearaudio Solutions AMG Wood with Hana SL MC cart and Musical Fidelity M1 ViNL phono stage. Speaker cables were from the Vermouth Audio Black Pearl series and interconnects by Siltech 330L Classic Anniversaries.