Exposure XM preamp & monoblocks

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Exposure XM preamp & monoblocks
Monday, June 26, 2017

Exposure Electronics add XM7 preamp (£1,236) and XM9 mono power amp (£1,388 per pair) to the compact XM series. “The inspiration for the series came from the unstoppable resurgence of vinyl amid a digital age,” explains Exposure’s chief designer Tony Brady. “I see both formats as being here to stay and believe that both have further growth and development ahead of them. It’s no longer a case of either/or. At the same time, quality of sound is once again becoming important to an increasing number of people – across all media.”

Brady was keenly aware that despite this proliferation of formats and desire for quality, not every music lover or audio enthusiast has the space or budget for a massive hi-fi system with multiple bulky components. “Many music lovers want to enjoy better performance but they still want convenience and value for money.”

The XM series is the first of Exposure’s ranges to pack a full quota of features into a narrow, half-width design. Kicking off the series were the XM3 phonostage and the XM5 integrated amplifier. The new XM7 preamplifier cannily tucks an extensive suite of features into its bijou box. They include a moving magnet phono-stage and DAC allowing both vinyl and digital bliss. The DAC sports five digital inputs, plus there’s a fixed gain home theatre input and two headphone outputs. Two preamp outputs allow for bi-amping.

While the XM7 can be partnered with a wide range of power amplifiers or active speakers, it comes into its own when paired with Exposure’s new XM9, 80 Watt mono power amps, described by designer Brady as “the highest performance amplifier we could fit into a compact chassis”. What the XM series loses in bulk, it adds in high quality detail. While most smaller hi-fi components (and indeed a good many larger ones) fall back on switch-mode power supplies – which are far from audiophile grade and pollute the mains supply with noise – both the XM7 and XM9 feature a linear power supply with a large 200VA custom-made toroidal power transformer. Only high quality resistors and capacitors are used in the signal path, while Toshiba bipolar output transistors are carefully chosen for their superior dynamic performance. The Exposure XM7 and XM9 are available from July 2017, each with black or titanium finish and a warranty of 3 years.