AUDIO ANALOGUE BELLINI ANNIVERSARY PREAMPLIFIER REVIEW

It's always interesting to see and hear what Audio Analogue has accomplished with its products. This iconic Italian high-end audio company has been around for years and many music lovers and audiophiles have found something that suits their needs and appreciation for how audio Audio Analogue's product operates.  

So when I was asked to choose the next product to test, I took a close look at their portfolio and choose to pick up the preamp for many of the reasons.

A high-end audio preamplifier is the epicenter of a high-end audio system and is not only responsible for the proper input amplification of various digital and analog front ends. It also plays a key role in providing the proper, unified system gain that does not interfere with the incoming signal. And at the end of the day, each preamp is responsible for refining and fine-tuning the sound of the entire audio system. The key point is not adding, or taking anything away from the music's core and Bellini Anniversary has something specifically in-tune in this regard. 

 

As you can read further in the review of Bellini Anniversary, this product incorporates Audio Analogue's years of experience in developing high-end audio products. It implements Audio Analogue's own way of inner workings, which can provide more than just proper handling of music and system gain.

BELLINI ANNIVERSARY 

The Bellini Anniversary preamplifier, the new addition to Audio Analogue, developed in the Airtech laboratories, is part of the Anniversary line, which relaunches another historic product from Audio Analogue. 

The only similarity between this new model and the previous versions of Bellini remains the name, while the project and the technical solutions used are completely new. However, starting from the excellent base that is the preamplifier section of the Maestro Anniversary, the innovations compared to this one are many. 

The first is the power supply stage, which has been completely redesigned and uses inductive-capacitive filtering to minimize mains interferences. The filter inductance was designed and manufactured specifically for this device. 

The amplification stage, called SeGeSTA (Single Gain Stage Transconductance Amplifier), was designed to make the preamplifier even quieter while keeping the structure fully balanced and without global feedback. The circuit consists of 4 layers and the positioning of the components has been carefully thought out to avoid overlap between the input and output signals and especially between the digital control signals and the sensitive analog signals. 

The use of audio-grade components and internal cabling with 7N OCC cables made of pure copper completes the picture. Bellini Anniversary is available in silver and black and comes with a solid aluminum remote control and an Airtech power cord.

HIGHLIGHTS

Here are a few highlights of what makes the Audio Analogue Bellini Anniversary different and interesting.

  • Inductive power supply to reduce any kind of interference from the mains to the power amplifier 
  • no global feedback from the input to output
  • fully differential circuit (differential input and differential output) with discrete components
  • dual-mono configuration
  • digital volume control without op-amps
  • relay input switches to minimize non-linearity
  • oversized military resistors to minimize thermal distortion
  • audio-grade capacitors 
  • microcontroller management
  • Airtech internal wiring

OPERATIONAL 

As with all Audio Analog products, operating the Bellini Anniversary preamplifier was a breeze. Everything on the front and rear panels are neatly arranged with enough space to let the aura of Bellini Anniversary shine with refined delicacy. 

The spacious front is halved by the elegant volume control at the epicenter of Bellini Anniversary. Large volume control is equally dividing between the left and right sides, with the left side featuring the power-on LED and dedicated input LEDs. The main knob also acts as the power on/off button. 

The right side features evenly distributed LEDs that indicate the volume level.

On the backside left and middle of the preamp are reserved for the left and right RCA and XLR channel inputs. On the far left is a 12V trigger for a remote startup with other components. On the far-right is the on/off switch and IEC power connector. 

The Audio Analog Bellini Anniversary preamplifier comes with a massive, elegant remote control that allows you to control all the important functions. 

I really like the timeless, non-imposing, satin, hand-brushed finish and quality of the Bellini Anniversary chassis. It exudes a monumental feel and elegance just from a glance at the first Randevou and the refined order continues on the inside. 

THE MUSIC 

It was interesting to observe how the Audio Analog Bellini Anniversary preamplifier enabled a wealth of information that was corroborated throughout the known musical repertoire. 

Bellini Anniversary does not throw up any sonic contradictions. The music is simply encoded, with ecstatic moments that glorify the music and always give a very vivid final judgment.

With Radiohead OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017 Audio Analogue preamplifier amassed a solid projection, with a captivating analog elasticity that hits the right notes that characterize this iconic Radiohead aural storytelling. 

OK Computer can sound thoughtless too quickly if the preamp or other component is not up to the task of delivering linear summing of details, dynamism, and fluidness.

In contrast, the Audio Analog Bellini Anniversary preamp, with its porous quality, can easily reproduce the complex fragments of music that come from the deep and thick dark.

The riveting presentation continued with Don Henley's "The End of the Innocence" The pulsating nature of the song was presented without warm felt solidness and a non-skipping upper beat readiness. The streams of music were presented in a strict form and without synesthetic effect. 

John Mayer Sob Rock, the latest work by this prolific artist and excellent guitarist, was ascribed with more prevalent than what I am used to experiencing in this price range. 

There were no hollowed-out entry level phenomena, the overtones were presented promptly. 

In continuing quality, "New Light" pulsed with ease and balance. It's not always the case that a studio album is captured this well, but... The sound on Mayer's PRS was simply magnificent. 

Further cementing the inner heart of Bellini Anniversary, "Why You No Love Me" was rendered with a rare balance that makes it not only easy to listen to but in a great way that makes the rating, check-out boxes fill out with a big smile.

"Carry Me Away" contains a sort of Don Henley Boys Of The Summer 80's beat and feel. That 80's feel runs throughout the album and the Bellini Anniversary circulation of energy from Sob Rock was just mesmerizing. 

But if you want to hear the real Mayer magic, nothing beats "Gravity" by John Mayer Trioplayed live. I melt away and get rejuvenated goosebumps every time I hear it. Just pay attention to the sound, the feel, and the timing. 

Here Audio Analog Bellini Anniversary is nowhere shy of the "Gravity" TRY! - Live In Concert (Live at the House of Blues, Chicago, Illinois, September 22, 2005) crux and full Italian DNA  simply blossom nailing the proper timbre, tone, and color. 

The Audio Analogue Bellini Anniversary subtlety was easily shown with L.A. Woman - The Doors. 

The timeless aura of "Riders On The Storm" was sprouting out with ease setting the mysterious atmosphere stupendously. No flattening, no vamping, no hazardous sonic extremes undertaking that would change the pace of the track. 

The level of the music data content of "Riders On The Storm" was greater than expected, with the main focus on the individual musical moments immobilized with more profound perspective, enchantment, and no pernicious sonic influences. 

The Kansas City Symphony and Michael Stern's One Movement Symphonies are a true delight in both content and sound. Keith O. Johnson and Sean Royce Martin have captured this wonderful two-day recording session with full splendor, richness, and full dynamic range. 

It's all there. The intimacy, the lyrical expansiveness, and the colossal encounter that Audio Analogue Bellini Anniversary preamplifier handled these recordings with more than surprising efficiency. 

Complex orchestral patterns were not chance-conditioned but presented themselves as a true embodiment of playfulness that could handle pianissimos to forte rigorously without disrupting the tempi. 

There was no confusing tonal collapse, as is all too common with some preamps regardless of the price. Audio Analogue Bellini Anniversary encompassed the orchestra directions without sounding stringy or losing speediness and elasticity. 

The completeness of the Bellini Anniversary completeness was further confirmed with Brahms: Cello Sonatas 1 & 2/Bruch: Kol Nidrei Jacqueline du Pré/ Daniel Barenboim.

The Jacqueline du Pré/ Daniel Barenboim interplay was never felt crisscrossed, or cross-indexed but presented as a harmonious whole. The notes and tones were neither stretched into unnatural proportions nor accented, the decays were not artificially prolonged, nor cut into disoriented sonic particles. Bellini Anniversary restatement of the basics was simply spot on!

A more profound reiteration (as befits this price point) was consistently available across genres. Bellini Anniversary was able to fathom the various kinds of music with the requisite fixity following the smallest actions with much-needed vigorous pacing.

THE CONCLUSION 

The Italians do it better!? You betcha. With the Audio Analogue Bellini Anniversary preamplifier, there is a little doubt to dismay this perhaps too often overused adage. 

The Bellini Anniversary preamp is no-nonsense in the way it serves the music without casting false spells, overblowing the sound, saturating it, etc. 

It can reproduce the music from track to track on an individual level, allowing the deeper insights of the music to be grasped with ease, taking into account a much greater universality of the music than many, even pricer preamps. 

Whether in-studio recordings, in larger auditoriums, or smaller rooms with natural acoustics, Bellini Anniversary cuts deeper into the music with a rare, wondrous quality that invites the listener to hear more music. It offers that refreshing completeness in the reproduction of the music with an enticing, high entrainment factor that lingers after each song, enticing the listener to come back for more. 

If a high-end audio preamp or other component is unable to create excitement and suspense and sustain drama, then it is not truly worthy of the high-end disposition. 

Bellini Anniversary manages to deliver dynamics at all levels, with a solid foundation across the frequency spectrum, filling the room with exceptional dimensions with ease. 

I appreciate the clear statement of Audio Analog Bellini Anniversary, that the music is always the focus and the texture of the music is not changed. 

The Audio Analog team thinked outside the box and worked hard to put the Bellini Anniversary on a level sufficient to call it a true high-end audio preamplifier. 

Bellini Anniversary musical language, clearly is concise, allowing for endless escapades into the infinite wonderlands of music.

Bellini Anniversary does not try to make sense of analytically dissecting the music at every turn but presents it as it is and with a more than healthy dose of music's flux. It is also honing the tone, timbre, and color with the right precision and unanimous liveliness.

The Audio Analog Bellini Anniversary preamplifier is characterized by the astute ability to put itself in communication with the music, not acting radically in any particular frequency range, but rather revealing the true view of the musical delights.

It also does not temporarily put itself in the foreground with any special peculiarities, as is too often the case even with much more expensive preamplifiers.

Audio Analog's decades of experience are reflected in the Bellini Anniversary preamplifier. Bellini Anniversary was developed from the ground up to achieve sonic superiority. 

The Audio Analog Bellini Anniversary preamplifier has a rare capacity that allows music to be at forte at all times.

There's more to this device than the usual lofty technical specs and flashy marketing copy. It's about the music, projecting the sonic canvas with a rare sense of epicenter, and lyrical power.

We habitually we are looking for something deeper and this is where Bellini Anniversary comes in and offers something different to the discerning listener.

The Italian heritage and the goods came with a rare porous effect, where the various luxuries can slide past our sensual and logical guards, conveying a directness that is not common. 

Such an essence has always been associated with everything Italian and Audio Analog Bellini Anniversary preamplifier is in no way minor in this respect. Like wine and food, music has its charisma, and when we are touched by this unique inner potency, the mission is accomplished. 

For what it represents musically, and especially in its price range, the Audio Analog Bellini Anniversary preamplifier more than deserves to be highlighted with the 2021 Mono and Stereo Highly Recommended Product Award. •

Matej Isak

PRICE

  • € 5.800,00

TECHNICAL FEATURES

  • Channels: 2
  • RCA inputs: 3
  • XLR inputs: 2
  • Unbalanced outputs: 2
  • Balanced outputs: 2
  • Input impedance: 47Kohm
  • Unbalanced output gain: 5dB
  • Balanced output gain: 11 dB
  • Frequency response (attenuation 0.5dB): 200KHz
  • Unbalanced output noise (Band 0 Hz - 8kHz): ≈24µV
  • Unbalanced output noise (Band 0 Hz - 8kHz) - A weighted: ≈9µV
  • Balanced output noise (Band 0 Hz - 8kHz): ≈37µV
  • Balanced output noise (Band 0 Hz - 8kHz) - A weighted: ≈14µV
  • SNR(0dB/A weighted/ref. 2Vrms) - unbalanced output: ≈107dB
  • SNR(0dB/A weighted/ref. 2Vrms) - balanced output: ≈103dB
  • Standby power consumption(230VAC): 0.7W
  • Dimensions(HxWxD): 140x450x380 mm
  • Weight: 12 Kg

CONTACT

AF Group SRL
Via Cesare Battisti 126G
51015 Monsummano Terme
Pistoia
Italy

Tel. +39 0572 030964