Elipson P1 + Elipson A2700: the perfect hi-fi set

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Launched in late 2021, the Elipson P1 preamplifier has a modular design with an external phono preamplifier and a USB DAC to keep up with market developments and listener needs. It is ideally paired with the new Elipson A2700 power amplifier of 2 x 400W RMS into 8 ohms with which it is in perfect harmony, both in terms of design and musicality. Does this set, made entirely in France, live up to the previous achievements of the French hi-fi specialist?

The Elipson P1 preamplifier and the Elipson A2700 power amplifier are a perfect pair, both musically and aesthetically.

Elipson P1 + A2700: packaging & accessories

Because the Elipson P1 and Elipson A2700 are two separate units that can be used independently, they each come in their own box. The Elipson P1 preamplifier comes with a power cable, a quick start guide and a stylish aluminum infrared remote control. The Elipson A2700 power amplifier comes with a power cable and a set-up guide.

Elipson P1: presentation

Design 

While the French manufacturer Elipson is mainly known by music and cinema lovers for its highly musical speakers, the brand also excels in the design of hi-fi electronics. In 1979, Elipson launched the Elipson PE2/1A preamplifier and the Elipson AME 120B power amp, capable of delivering 2 x 125W.

Better known for its speakers, the French manufacturer Elipson has been developing high-performance electronics since 1979, such as the Elipson PE2/1A preamplifier and the Elipson AME 120B power amplifier.

A far cry from the design of the models from the 1970s, the Elipson P1 preamplifier adopts a more compact and understated design, with minimalist and pure lines. Entirely designed in France in Elipson’s Burgundy factories, it features a sturdy metal chassis, with a thick aluminum front plate that has a long groove that extends from one end of the device to the other and encircles the various buttons. Also present on the Elipson A2700 power amplifier, this design ensures a harmonious look for the electronics.

The Elipson P1 preamplifier has a robust aluminum chassis with an elegant and minimalist design.

Inside its chassis, the Elipson P1 preamp is equipped with audiophile-grade components to handle sources in the purest hi-fi manner. Its components, selected after many hours of listening tests, provide a signal-to-noise ratio of 102 dB, as well as a harmonic distortion of less than 0.001% over a wide bandwidth ranging from 2Hz to 120kHz (+/-3 dB).

Ergonomics and control

The ergonomics and the usability of the Elipson P1 preamp have been designed according to the same minimalist philosophy as the design. Only two large potentiometers are available on the front of the device. The first one is used to select the source, while the second one manages the volume. To the right of the latter, there is a discreet selector to configure the operating mode of the preamplifier: mono or stereo. Lastly, the source selector can also be used to turn on the unit by pressing and holding it for about 5 seconds.

The front panel of the Elipson P1 preamplifier includes two large potentiometers: one for selecting the source and turning on the unit, and a second for smooth and precise volume adjustment.

In the center of the front panel, the Elipson P1 preamplifier has an LCD screen displaying the source, as well as the volume level when adjusted. In DAC mode with the additional module, the Elipson P1’s screen can also display the resolution of the files being played.

The LCD screen of the Elipson P1 preamplifier displays the source, the volume when adjusted, and the resolution of the files being played when the DAC module is used.

The Elipson P1 preamplifier can be controlled remotely with its infrared remote control. Very well designed, the remote control is made of aluminum, the color of which is identical to that of the preamplifier’s chassis. Thanks to its ergonomic shape, it ensures a good grip and convenient access to the various controls: on/off, volume control, source selection, mute and display. The only drawback is that adjusting the volume from this remote control takes quite a long time for significant level variations. It is impossible to scroll through the volume levels, forcing you to press the dedicated button several times to adjust the level by increments of 0.5 dB. This is not a major problem, but it would have been easier to scroll through the volume while holding down the control.

The elegant aluminum remote control of the Elipson P1 preamplifier allows you to select the source, adjust the volume, turn on the unit and change the LCD display.

Modularity 

The Elipson P1 preamp’s real strength lies in its great modularity. It has several spaces on its rear panel to insert additional modules. In its original configuration, the Elipson P1 preamplifier features strictly analog connectors, with two unbalanced RCA inputs and two balanced XLR inputs. It can therefore receive a CD player, a pre-amplified turntable or a network player, for example.

To adapt to all your current or future needs, the Elipson P1 preamplifier can be upgraded with additional modules. Currently, the French manufacturer offers the Elipson MDAC I module with optical, coaxial and USB-B inputs for connecting digital sources. Its ESS Sabre DAC then ensures the playback of PCM streams up to a very high resolution of 32-bit/192kHz via its optical and coaxial input or 32-bit/384kHz from the USB-B port. From the latter, it is also possible to read DSD64 and DSD256 files. The Elipson P1 can also be connected to the Elipson MPH II phono preamplifier allowing the connection of a turntable equipped with a MM or MC cartridge. Naturally, we have examined these two modules during our test of the Elipson P1.

To accommodate all your sources, the RCA and XLR inputs of the Elipson P1 preamplifier can be complemented with a DAC module and/or a phono module.

Elipson P1: key specifications

  • Mono or stereo configuration
  • RCA and XLR inputs
  • Additional DAC and phono modules
  • Frequency response: from 2Hz to 120kHz (+/- 3dB)
  • Distortion: < 0.001%
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: > 102 dB
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 430 x 95 x 315mm
  • Remote control

Elipson A2700: presentation

Design 

The Elipson A2700 power amplifier has the same minimalist and refined design as the Elipson P1 preamp. We therefore find an anthracite metal chassis whose front face is traversed by a groove across its entire width. The Elipson A2700 power amp has an on/off control in the center of an indentation that looks like a driver’s cone.

The design of the Elipson A2700 power amplifier is perfectly matched to the Elipson P1 preamplifier.

The output stage of the Elipson A2700 power amplifier operates in class D to combine power, transparency and energy. It can deliver up to 400W RMS into 8 ohms in stereo mode or 1400W RMS into 8 ohms when bridged to mono mode. Choosing between stereo and mono mode is easily done with a switch on the back of the unit. In both cases, the Elipson A2700 power amplifier is capable of powering any bookshelf or floorstanding speaker, even the most demanding models with a large woofer, without any difficulty. With these, it maintains a high dynamic range and a strong impulse response thanks to the choice of class D modules.

Connectors

In order to be used with the Elipson P1 or any other preamplifier, the Elipson A2700 power amplifier provides a stereo RCA unbalanced input and an XLR balanced input. To make it easier to use, a trigger input allows you to turn it on and off at the same time as the associated preamp, while a trigger output allows you to control another source. Finally, the beautifully crafted speaker terminals accommodate wide gauge cables, banana plugs and spade connectors.

The Elispon A2700 power amplifier can be connected to the preamplifier in balanced or unbalanced mode thanks to its RCA and XLR inputs.

Elipson A2700: key specifications

  • Mono or stereo mode
  • Output power in stereo mode: 400W RMS (8 ohms) and 710W RMS (4 ohms)
  • Output power in mono mode: 1400W RMS (8 ohms)
  • Bandwidth: 2Hz to 60kHz (+/-3 dB)
  • 1 x set of balanced XLR audio inputs
  • 1 x set of unbalanced RCA audio inputs
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 430 x 95 x 302mm

Elipson P1 + A2700: listening conditions

We tested this Elipson P1 and Elipson A2700 hi-fi system in one of the three auditoriums of the Son-Vidéo.com store in East Paris. At first, the Elipson P1 preamplifier was connected with Audioquest Red River XLR cables to an Elipson A2700 amplifier in stereo mode, then to two Elipson A2700 blocks used in mono bridge mode. For the sources we chose the Bluesound Node network player connected via RCA to the inputs of the Elipson P1, then via coaxial to test the performance of the Elipson MDAC I DAC module. The Elipson MPH II phono module was also tested with the Thorens TD 124 DD turntable. The speakers used were the Elipson Legacy 3230 and the Sonus Faber Sonetto V. Both pairs were connected using Audioquest StarQuad Type 5 Banana speaker cables.

The Elipson P1 preamplifier and Elipson A2700 power amplifier were used with the Elipson Legacy 3230 and Sonetto V speakers.

Elipson P1 + A2700: listening impressions

The Elipson P1 and Elipson A2700 duo demonstrated its great power capacity by making the large Elipson Legacy 3230 speakers sing without the slightest difficulty and by making the most of their ability to reach 25Hz in the lows. This set worked in total harmony and enhanced every recording presented to it. The listening experience was beautifully smooth, especially in the midrange which was rich, textured and silky. On Sade’s track Smooth Operator, the singer’s suave voice was remarkably soft. It was warm, melodious and very soothing. The reproduction was imbued with a calmness and a softness that encouraged us to prolong our listening sessions without causing the slightest fatigue. It was always pleasant, relaxing and well controlled.

The Elipson P1 and Elipson A2700 pair brought out the best in the Elipson Legacy 3230 speakers, with a perfect reproduction of the various harmonics.

The Elipson A2700 power amplifier had a very good presence in the lows, which were powerful and deep. The bass was solid, well sustained and wonderfully round. The control in this range was undeniable, with a bass that was always tight and without any excess, no matter the volume or the musical genre. Accompanied by the Elipson P1 preamplifier, the Elipson A2700 delivered each frequency range with energy and conviction. Its great richness in the midrange benefited the vocals, whose slightest nuances were always delivered with agility and precision. They were accurately positioned in the center of a very spacious stage. We enjoyed a lot of depth that fully materialized each instrument.

The great impulse response of this Elipson ensemble ensured strong attacks. They were delivered with energy and vitality, while maintaining a great deal of control so as not to overpower or detract from the other frequencies. The symphonic scores took full advantage of this dynamic capacity, but also benefited from the ability of this set to preserve a refined soundstage without faltering. The latter was spacious, and benefited from a great transparency and a surgically precise placement of each micro detail. Everything was controlled, accurate and unwavering.

No matter which speakers were used, the Elipson P1 and Elipson A2700 duo delivered the music beautifully and offered a truly relaxing experience. The soundstage with its impressive three-dimensional reproduction was perfectly layered. Each instrument was clear, smooth and had room to breathe. The slightest chords were audible and revealed details that we had never heard before.

Elipson P1 + A2700: compared to…

Rotel RC-1590 MKII: available for €1,949, the Rotel RC-1590 MKII is the Elipson P1’s biggest rival. This Rotel preamplifier is more versatile out of the box, with 5 analog inputs including a phono input, as well as 7 digital inputs, including 3 optical, 3 coaxial and a USB-B. There is therefore no need to add additional modules like the Elipson P1 to connect a turntable or enjoy digital sources. On the other hand, the modularity of the Elipson P1 preamp, which initially seems to be a disadvantage compared to the Rotel RC-1590 MKII, turns out to be a real strength as it makes it more durable. You can change the module according to your needs and market developments, rather than replacing the entire device. Both ecological and economical!

The Rotel RC-1590 MKII preamplifier has the advantage of offering analog, phono and digital connectors as standard. However, it cannot be optimized according to market developments.

Rotel RB-1590: if you opt for the Rotel RC-1590 MKII preamplifier, then the Rotel RB-1590 power amplifier is the most obvious match. The latter features Class AB amplification capable of developing 2 x 350W into 8 ohms and providing a frequency response of 15Hz to 100kHz. While this Rotel amp is even warmer, it is softer and less dynamic than the Elipson A2700. The latter also offers a more transparent and spacious soundstage. 

Elipson P1 + A2700: who are they for?

The Elipson P1 preamplifier and Elipson A2700 power amplifier are intended for demanding audiophiles who want to treat themselves to a system with separate elements, without the slightest compromise. The main advantage of this exceptional hi-fi set is the modularity of the preamp, which can be easily upgraded according to your needs or the latest technological advances. It is therefore a long-lasting investment that you are sure to enjoy for many years to come. The Elipson A2700 power amp harmoniously complements this preamplifier, amplifying the signal in the most accurate way possible. Its impressive output power allows it to be easily associated with any pair of speakers, even the most demanding models.

The Elipson P1 preamplifier and the Elipson A2700 power amplifier provide a compromise-free solution that can be tailored to meet the user’s every need.

Elipson P1 + A2700: conclusion 

With the Elipson P1 preamplifier and Elipson A2700 power amplifier, the brand once again showcases French hi-fi by offering an upgradable, highly musical system that is entirely made in France. Working together in harmony, this Elipson hi-fi set delivers music with transparency, control and energy. It impresses with an incredibly spacious soundstage and with its ability to reveal the smallest details in recordings. The Elipson A2700’s high power output of 2 x 400 watts RMS ensures that any pair of speakers can be powered with confidence, while the modularity of the Elipson P1 preamplifier ensures that the duo is future-proof. What more could you ask for?

We liked:

  • The modular preamplifier
  • The spacious soundstage
  • The control across the entire frequency range
  • The high power reserve

We would have liked:

  • For the volume to have been quicker to adjust with the remote control 

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