This week we?re reviewing the Micromega M-One amplifier, a model designed and made exclusively in France and equipped with a DAC and a network controller for streaming music.
For those not familiar with the brand, Micromega is a French manufacturer specialized in hi-fi since the late 1980s. We owe to them the first digital CD transports featuring an external digital-to-analog converter. The external DAC quickly became Micromega?s specialty, and the brand’s entry-level models were instrumental to the device?s wider adoption by the public. More recently, Micromega kept innovating with very powerful Class-D connected amplifiers such as the Micromega AS400, capable of delivering up to 400 Watts. Micromega also launched the widely successful Micromega My range. Year after year, the brand has been recognized with a downpour of awards from the specialized press.
With the Micromega M-One amplifier, Micromega established itself on the market for high-end connected hi-fi amplifiers. The M-One is first and foremost a visual success, thanks to an atypical silhouette which is easy to invite into any living room. Its high-end offer in terms of connectivity covers the full range of digital audio inputs, including AES/EBU and HDMI, a phono input, and balanced and unbalanced analog stereo inputs.
The Micromega M-One 100 is a Class-AB, high output model capable of delivering 2×100 Watts into 8 Ohms and 2×200 Watts into 4 Ohms. This doubling of power?rare for an integrated amplifier?is made possible by a high-end power supply capable of responding to the speakers? slightest demand for power. Indeed, the M-One can take pride in its ability to drive the most demanding floorstanding speakers. The amplifier was launched in partnership with the Focal Sopra, hardly known for being easy to drive. In short, a super powerful amplifier.
The Micromega M-One?s digital inputs are paired with highly efficient controllers: the USB Type-B controller is an XMOS model. In these conditions, the amplifier oversees the transmission of digital audio data from a computer or NAS in order to reduce inconsistencies. Besides a computer, a CD player or network player may be connected to the amplifier. The objective? Benefit from the abilities of the integrated converter: the famous Asahi Kasei AK4490, which equips the best portable audio players.
The Micromega M-One can handle CD-quality and HD audio stream up to 768 kHz and DSD up to 11.2 MHz.
The Micromega M-One is equipped with a wireless Bluetooth receiver to stream music from any smartphone, tablet or computer. Logically, this receiver handles aptX transmission for superior audio quality.
The best solution for streaming is the RJ45 Ethernet connector, compatible with Apple AirPlay and DLNA. CD-quality streaming from any Apple device and even HD quality from a compatible DLNA server or smartphone is possible.
Lastly, analog inputs make it possible to connect any non-digital source.
We listened to the Micromega M-One 100 amplifier with Atohm GT2 and Focal Aria 906 speakers. The cables used were the Atohm ZEF and NorStone W250. We listened to SD and HD FLAC files via a DLNA network connection.
Is the Micromega M-One exclusively easy on the eyes? No such thing. For a Class-D amplifier, it offers a surprisingly wide and unquestionably analog-sounding listening experience. Of course, the Atohm GT2 speakers are a force to be reckoned with, and the same goes for the Focal Aria 906, which come alive as they rarely do. To be clear, the Micromega M-One isn’t a thunderous amplifier, yet it knows how to breathe the right amount of energy into these two pairs of speakers without ever giving too little or too much. The restitution is communicative and joyful, and energy is evenly distributed across the entire audio spectrum. Such quality is not common for this type of amplifier, and Micromega has clearly proven its mastery of the subject. The layering of the soundstage is nuanced and the sound seems to float around the speaker instead of staying in one spot. If we were to use only one word to describe the Micromega M-One, it would doubtlessly be: lively.
What we liked:
- the sound
- the superb design
- the build quality
- the plethora of inputs
What we would have liked:
- A control app at least able to handle Internet radio
The Micromega M-One 100 is a very alluring and musically refined amplifier which benefits from exceptional connectivity. It can be paired with any speakers as the sound will never be unbalanced. It seems as though there isn’t anything this amplifier wouldn’t do in order to offer a delightful listening experience.