UNISON RESEARCH Unico Nuovo review, HiFiChoice, issue 339

Review of the Unison Research UNICO NUOVO integrated amplifier

extract from Hi Fi Choice, October 2010, issue 339 by Alvin Gold

Best of Both Worlds

The Unico Nuovo is a second-generation valve/solid state integrated amplifier. Based upon the original 80 Watt Unico introduced in 2001, which had a timeless aesthetic quality that has hardly needed updating for the second decade of the millennium. It was a modern amplifier then, albeit with classic qualities, and it remains so today. But there are significant changes; a pair of higher-gain twin-triode tubes is used, claimed to improve performance and accentuate the valve-like qualities of the overall design. A new biasing circuit using `ionic bias` is said to uncover finer tonal nuances. And the power amplifier MOSFET complement has been doubled, which combined with a novel constant power-supply design offers an easier and more relaxed quality at elevated power levels with more dynamic headroom - claims which seem easily justifiable on test. The Unico has clean, simple lines and an absolute focus on the fundamentals. The fascia is a pleasing aluminium extrusion, with non-reflective sandcast finsh. And under the hood, the Nuovo reveals itself as being unusually well-made.

Natural flow

The best way to sum up the Unico is that it does what it says on the tin...it has the qualities you`d expect from a valve amp, a hint of warmth and grace and a smoothness that is quite different from the sterility of a poor solid-state amplifier. What`s really striking however, is that it achieves this without going over the top. The warmth appears to flow naturally from inside the music, rather than being laid on externally. Imagery is expansive, but properly focussed and realistic in scale. At the same time, the Unico Nuovo is fast, assured and dynamic. There is always enough power in hand and it is delivered in a consistent way with no hint of strain. The Nuovo has a natural flow and it sounds fast and assured on test, ebbing and swelling with the music. Stereo imagery has real depth, and in the lateral plane the sound seems to stretch without break between opposite walls..

Thoroughbred

If what you want from an amplifier is solid-state like power delivery, but with the grace and polish of a good valve-based design, then Unison Research have got it right on the button. The Nuovo offers an authentic taste of the high end at an attractive price. Its sound is individual and more valve-like than transistor, but it has undeniable polish and verve. Above all, it is a thoroughbred - one that makes use of the two main technologies to make it sing.

HI FI CHOICE -RECOMMENDED

 Unico Nuovo is available in aluminium finish or black, RRP £1650.  For more details contact UKD (01753-652669) or one of our Appointed Stockists.

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