ANALOG DOMAIN M75D MKII INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER REVIEW


This review update was long time coming, but I’ve really wanted to put the new Analog Domain M75 integrated amplifier revision through as many different setups and situations to provide a viable hand on conclusions that are also most objective.

Why? The trend of integrated amplifiers is kicking in with the grand pace and there are more and more companies trying to bring the ultimate integrated amplifier on the market. Great sounding one box solutions partnered with the great lifestyle appeal are highly desired. The growing need and market demand for true high-end audio one stop hub cannot be ignored any longer and Analog Domain M75 addresses the urges and needs with a great set of strong attributes.

In this particular review I’m focusing on the M75 MK2 features and sonic upgrades. You can read the complete original review with the detailed info here.

M75


Just a short reminder…

The M75 range of dual channel amplifiers from Analog domain represents the Analog Domain current state of the art in linear amplification technology. It is the result of 15+ years experience in high-performance amplifier circuit design, created to deliver exceptional performance at an attractive price point.


The M75 features Analog Domain’s proprietary Excalibur circuit. Near-zero distortion, a noise floor well below the human perceptual threshold and the generous power output capability of the Excalibur give the Isis its ability to amplify signals with extreme resolution and control, raising the enjoyment of music to an unprecedented level.


The M75 is available in two configurations: an integrated amplifier and a matching 2-channel power amplifier, for installations requiring more power, or for building multi-way systems with frequency splitting, or multi-channel systems.


Isis M75D – Stereo integrated amplifier, stepped analogue volume attenuator with remote control, Isis M75P – Stereo power amplifier

MEET THE M75 MK2


So before I start to dig deeper, let me look at what’s changed under the hood of the M75:
  • Implementation of the power management technology used in Analog Domain’s large monoblocks - the supply voltage is articulated on demand by the output signal, thus improving efficiency and reducing thermal losses;
  • The volume control now uses solid state opto-coupled MOSFET relays for improved switching times and extremely long life;
  • Power inlet features a thermal circuit breaker for improved reliability
  • Minor improvements in the user interface - bi-color LED’s for Power status and Limiter/Protection display etc.

Analog Domain M75 MK2 draws under 2W in standby mode and about 22W when idle. It’s not exactly clear how much power it will draw at full power as this depends on speakers and music, but peak power draw can extend up to 150% of full rated power as a momentary value. In practice music has a typical power density up to 15-20%, therefore average power draw with music while playing at full power into speakers will be a maximum of 20-30% of peak power output.


As you’ll read further in the review it feels how only the chassis is the same and the guts were completely revisited, but even the enclosure gained some upgrades for better dealing with the resonances. 


M75 implements a lot of trickle down tech from the Analog Domain’s flagship power amplifiers, along with few other “tricks”. It took Angel and his team seven month to come out with this upgrade and it shows within few tracks where the engineering time was spent.



Along with other changes, the M75 revision comes with the completely new and rebuilt preamplifier module.

Angel seems to have finally refined the preamplifier circuit and established the solid foundation that might see its fruition in the dedicated Analog Domain stand alone preamplifier in near future. Its for sure something that both distributor/dealers and customers are waiting for.


Three years of R & D combined with more than half a year of hard work on the M75 revision materialized in a push forward performance that puts me in a very funny position. I was already enthralled by the original version of M75. Now, the new revision redefines not only the M75 sole standing but also the general expectations. The new M75 comes with set of sonic advantages that will and should push quite few competitors back to the labs and drawing boards…


The newly gained music flow reassembles unrestrained sense of easiness and delicacy that is normally in strict domain of the state of the art power amplifiers and even monoblocks, but more about the actually sound impact in the chapter below…

MUSIC


The best and most spot on foundation for the aural benefits music. Here are few of the tracks I’ve used…

Itzhak Perlman - Dvorak: Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53, Romance in F Minor, Op. 11

Realism! Chasing the unattainable? The sense of being there is still the key factor for any high-end audio device, despite all the nonsense attributes, that are trying to penetrate the basic audio judging values. There cannot be no trend shifting with comparing any high-end audio product with the live music. 


Realism and drama cannot be faked. As the mastermind behind the upgraded Analog Domain integrated, M75 MK2 is not trying to prove something, that is not there/possible or trying to pretend to be something, that is not. For Angel the BS dealings belongs to some other universe. 

This record can too quickly become abrasive and sound dynamically flat with saltato and staccato. Analog Domain upgraded integrated didn’t just pull it away, but actually nailed the inner workings where each note expanded within space without loosing needed density and vibrancy. 

If musical articulation is being compromised within audio reproduction the emotional bound is gone. Analog Domain M75 MK2 encapsulated orchestral augmentation with full blood and Itzhak Perlman’s violin playing with quintessential attributes.

It’s never easy to combine and distinct the orchestra and solo instrument under unified scope, yet M75 MK2 reiterated them in stalwart abounds. M75 radiated with the vibrancy, that reflects with the live music core. This is and should be the epicenter of any amplifier.

Fleetwod Mac - Rumours

It seems impossible for me to get enough of this record. Despite of it’s audiophile “scenting” Rumours belongs to the one of the most accomplished studio recordings with scenic sense, that is eponymous of the high end audio sound.

Deep relief like structure and expertly positioned instruments are crisply layered into the space and Analog Domain M75 MK2 acted with exemplary scenic authority and with octave-to-octave coherence, that is usually reserved for the top tier mono block power amplifiers.

M75 MK2 managed to reveal the musical momentum even at low-level resolution with natural transparency and high detailed and expanded soundscape. The revealing factor again pushed M75 further away from any expectations usually bounded with the integrated amplifier. Analog Domain M75 MK2 acted rather like two high performing separates with utter synergy and with potency of multiple boxed components. 

Eagles - The Long Run

The best way to test any amplifier’s universality is to play non audiophile music :). I’ more then sure, that Angel will agree wholeheartedly. Eagles always comes more then handy for this particular role. This iconic band followed a great part of my growing up period and I literary know most of the songs by heart.


The recent high resolution versions are revealing even deeper  scope of the Eagles music. I’m not exactly sure if tis mastering or something closely related with the time domain, but they do sound really good. 

Even one “spin” of the I Can’t Tell You Why revealed M75 MK2 mightier hearth. The band has massively expanded and the kick drum formed even more focused and articulated punch with sharper transients and attacks. Dynamic burst counteracted usual slowness as if a thick layer of dynamic reservation was removed.

Album like The Long Run calls for an amplifier with powerful and non comprising core. As much as some would like to simply the structural integrity of rock music within the realms of balanced sound reproduction, its not exactly easy to convey the energy of electric guitars and drums within any audio system. 

This is the exact part where most speakers and amplifiers fall apart. Viable illusion calls for unaltered and non compresed power transfer and Analog Domain refreshed integrated locked easily with the Eagles. 

On top of the grip and with the high resolution version of the album in play, M75 newly gained resolution could really break apart and show what’s possible. 

M75 MK2 brought the mixmaster seat much closer, perhaps even more frankly, closer to the actual mastering engineer booth!

CONCLUSION


The best impact always comes with prolonged time evaluation of any device. As Analog Domain team spent great efforts for the upgrades I’ve felt it was right thing do my homework in the same fashion.


Properly executed electronic engineering is always awarded with potent results. By combining highly contemplated, daring and profound ideas along with with proper high end audio engineering, something different and wonderfully sounding can be formed.

Angel Despotov has an impressive life’s mileage and out of the box thinking ability. His passion is always challenged by his highly determined and efficiently provoking mind set.

Throw any question towards Angel and you'll get wit and expert reply in the matter of milliseconds. Angel cannot stand BS and such are his answers and approach to the electronic design. Bold and straightforward.


Throw the same or similar questions to the “typical” high-end engineer or brand’s representative and you can expect very different response. Often in the form of silence or a few weeks old email reply :). Angel do not mind explaining the actual technology in use and how and why something is working the way it does. There is no excuses or silly answers on the table and I’m always enjoying these startling conversations…

Despite of what is seems more like evolutional changes, M75 MK2 more or less acts as completely new amplifier. While the original M75 suited smaller room systems (speakers), the new upgraded version elevates M75 into the league and acting of the two monoblock power amplifiers. Don't let "small" chassis fool you. There is a heck of a lot of healthy and potent power packed under the hood of this integrated amplifier.


Analog Domain is no brainer to operate, encompasses the best attributes of high-end audio integrated amplifiers and comes with the set of functions that are exemplary. Even more importantly, the M75 revision encapsulates Angel Despotov’s vision and philosophy in a profound package that brings music to life and operate with the mighty heart of the lion.


Analog Domain M75 MK2 has managed to combine both Thor and Bragi attributes, that challenges what’s out there. By its double headed nature it can act as both surgical audio tool and musical machine.


Analog Domain M75 understated design recalls timeless design cues, that have always entrapped my attention with timeless Mark Levinson iconic looks. Elegant chassis side panels are coated with the special black rubbered paint, that offer great thermic dispersion and scratch proof coating. 

M75 MK2 was designed from ground up with longevity in mind and this logic is prolonged to the innards where cleverly designed circuits keep the heat at minimum level with carefully selected electronic parts, that can ensure life spans of two + decades.

Analog Domain integrated amplifier upgrade is essential and bold. This is not the typical tweak up or minor boost, but a constitutional push forward. 

Perhaps Angel should use HD instead of MK2 naming for the M75 upgrade as the newly gained difference is similar to the transition form low resolution to high definition screen.

I’ve already given out the Mono and Stereo Editor’s Choice award and Analog Domain M75 MK2 integrated amplifier is more then just keeping its value on the throne. It comes with terrific ability to expand on both power and sound planes with a grand and lingering impact.


Matej Isak


PRICE


Retail price in Germany: 21'400 EUR
17'990 without VAT

TECHNICAL


Power output:
8 ohm, sine wave, rms 250W
4 ohm, sine wave, rms 400W
8 ohm, bridged, music material 500W
4 ohm, bridged, music material
Damping factor:
1kHz, 4ohm load, single-ended > 1000
1kHz, 4ohm, bridged mode > 500
THD+N 20kHz BW, 8ohm, nom. power <  0,002%
THD+N: 20kHz BW, 4ohm, 1W output < -93dBr
Power bandwidth: 2 ohm, THD < 0.1% 5Hz-50kHz
Peak current: 50A
Noise output: 20kHz BW, rms < 35uV
Dimensions (mm):
Including feet and rear handles: 440W x 454D x 123H
With packaging: 560W x 560D x 200H
Net weight: 20kg

CONTACT 


Analog Domain Audio GmbH 
Bergstr. 12
D-82024 Taufkirchen
Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 1608 173 193
Mobile: +49 (0) 1520 202 54 04