Mis à jour le 10 March 2023.
The Octavio AMP is a compact connected model that aims to compete with the Sonos AMP, Yamaha WXA-50 and Bose Music Amplifier. An amplified version of the Octavio Stream, it has the same streaming features with DLNA, AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility and access to the majority of online streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Apple Music, Deezer and Amazon Music. It is equipped with two RCA inputs, an optical input and a USB port. Its power output is rated at 2 x 35 watts or 2 x 60 watts depending on the chosen power supply: Octavio AMP 24V or Octavio AMP 32V. Available from €699, will this connected amp be able to rival the market leaders?
Octavio: the brand
New on the market, the Octavio AMP connected amplifier’s manufacturer is from Lille. Octavio is committed to developing as much of its equipment as possible in France and to promoting the country’s industry. The young team’s goal is to simplify access to music. In 2021, it launched the Octavio Stream network media player. It was a hit and the brand quickly decided to create an amplified version: the Octavio AMP. The latter has all the same features while adding extra connectors and digital amplification.
Octavio AMP: packaging & accessories
The Octavio AMP comes in a box featuring the different streaming technologies and many possibilities offered by this model. It comes with a quick start guide, a WiFi antenna and a 24V or 32V mains adapter depending on the chosen version. In both cases, there is no remote control and the amplifier can only be controlled via the mobile app and a few physical controls on the front panel.
Octavio AMP: presentation
The Octavio AMP connected amplifier stands out with its ultra-compact format. With a width and depth of 196mm as well as a height of only 39mm, this model is even smaller than the Sonos Amp, its main rival. It can therefore be easily installed on a piece of furniture or a shelf.
Once in place, the Octavio AMP blends in thanks to its minimalist and understated design. Its silhouette is simple and straightforward. The high quality chassis is made entirely of anthracite anodized aluminum that provides a sense of robustness and quality. The amplifier is assembled using a screw system that is hidden on the bottom of the device, leaving the visible parts of the amp free of any traces of assembly.
The Octavio AMP’s front panel features the control interface, which includes a large metal knob for the volume. The latter allows you to adjust the volume smoothly, despite being very slightly loose. Two more buttons, also made of metal, let you select the source and turn the device on and off.
The ultra-compact format of the Octavio AMP is made possible by the implementation of a class D amplification stage. The Texas Instruments TPA3250 module used is unique, with an output power that varies depending on the power adapter used. As a result, two versions of this connected amplifier are available: one with a 24V mains adapter and another with a 32V adapter that costs €50 more. The 24V version can deliver 2 x 35W into 8 ohms and 2 x 65W into 4 ohms. With the 32V adapter, the power reaches 2 x 60W into 8 ohms and 2 x 100W into 4 ohms.
We tried both versions for this review. The 24V model was ideal for powering a pair of bookshelf speakers in an office or a small living room. The Octavio AMP 32V was more suited to small floorstanders and moderately sensitive speakers.
The French manufacturer promises to deliver this power with precision and control. To do this, the Octavio AMP incorporates Sound Filter digital processing technology. Exclusive to the brand, it continuously analyzes the signal entering the amplifier so that it matches the signal at the output. This process makes it possible to detect errors and unwanted noise introduced during the signal’s trajectory and eliminate them. The result is a more precise sound and greater transparency.
With only three controls on its front panel, the Octavio AMP is mainly controlled with the mobile app. Several options are available. The first is based on Linkplay’s Legacy Player app. Used by many other manufacturers including Elipson and Audio Pro, it provides easy access to various music services, tracks shared over the local network, web radios and files stored on a smartphone. This app also lets you select the source, adjust the volume and create multi-room groups.
Octavio also has its own mobile app for iOS and Android. Modestly named Virtuose, it is more intuitive and lets you add your preferred music service to the homepage. On the whole, the various compatible services are integrated more efficiently than with the Linkplay app. The display is more comprehensive and more true to the native applications. Finally, a horizontal menu at the bottom of the screen facilitates access to shared files, web radios and different settings. Very well designed, this app is good enough to make Sonos, the leader in this field, quake in its boots. However, it lacks a few customizable parameters, such as tone and balance settings and an equalizer, to be truly perfect.
Streaming & multi-room
The Octavio AMP connected amplifier is equipped with the same network module as the Octavio Stream. Therefore, the Linkplay ecosystem ensures compatibility with the majority of streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music, Deezer and Apple Music. It is also possible to access tracks shared over the local network via DLNA. The Burr-Brown PCM1798 DAC supports MP3, OGG, WMA, APE, ALAC and FLAC formats up to 24-bit/192kHz.
It is also possible to stream tracks directly from a smartphone, tablet or computer. Apple users are favored thanks to the integration of the AirPlay protocol. For everyone else, streaming is limited to Bluetooth, without support for HD codecs. Chromecast compatibility would have been a plus for Hi-Res streaming.
To enjoy music throughout the whole house, the Octavio AMP can be used in a multi-room system with any other equipment from the French manufacturer. It is then possible to play the same music on all devices, or different songs in each room. This multi-room system ensures synchronized and seamless playback in Lossless quality (up to 16-bit/44.1kHz). Moreover, it is possible to enjoy multi-room sound with any AirPlay 2 compatible devices.
While the Octavio AMP has the exact same streaming options as the Octavio Stream network player, it features a wider range of connectors. Located on the back of the device, they include an optical input and two RCA inputs, allowing you to connect a CD player, an external DAC, a preamplified turntable or a television, for example. However, it would have been easier to connect a TV using an HDMI ARC port like the one present on the Sonos Amp. The Octavio AMP also features a USB-A port to play music stored on a USB stick or an external hard drive.
Regarding outputs, the Octavio AMP provides a subwoofer output. This is a great feature, especially for the 24V version, which is mainly designed to power small bookshelf speakers. The latter are connected using screw terminals. These terminals are placed so close together that you need to have very dainty fingers to be able to connect the cables. Consequently, it is recommended to use banana plugs such as the NorStone Banane for easier installation.
Octavio AMP: listening conditions
Once connected to the sources and the external power supply, the Octavio AMP delivers a message via the speakers, prompting you to continue the configuration in the Virtuose mobile app. The setup is then done in a few quick steps, which include connecting the amplifier to the WiFi network if you aren’t using Ethernet. You can then start listening to your music, or you can choose to finalize the installation by adding streaming services.
For our review, we connected the 24V version of the Octavio AMP to the Sonus Faber Lumina I, Elipson Prestige Facet 6B and Eltax Monitor V bookshelf speakers. We tested the 32V version with the same speakers, as well as the Davis Acoustics Krypton 9 and Dali Oberon 5 floorstanding models. We used the amp’s built-in network player to enjoy Qobuz and tracks shared over the local network, as well as an Elipson Omega 100 Carbon turntable for records.
Octavio AMP: listening impressions
Even with the 24V power supply, the Octavio AMP managed to control the different bookshelf speakers we used. Its high efficiency amplification allowed us to instantly take advantage of all the available power. We enjoyed a lively and dynamic sound.
At low volume, the Octavio AMP sometimes sounded cold and unbalanced due to subdued low frequencies. It is a shame that no bass adjustment is possible. Fortunately, the balance was restored as the volume increased. Without becoming abyssal, the bass was more firm, present and energetic. It was tight and made the music sound fuller. The 32V version of the Octavio AMP offered a hint of extra liveliness in this frequency range. However, we still had to turn the volume up to fully enjoy it.
The Octavio AMP connected amplifier was very neutral, reproducing music with transparency and clarity. Its analytical character allowed it to masterfully extract the various nuances and details from recordings. The instruments were well rendered and nicely pronounced. The percussion instruments stood out clearly from the rest of the soundstage. The drumming was effectively highlighted, with a convincing emphasis on the resonance of the skins and the sound of the drumsticks. Vocals benefitted from a pleasant freshness and were impeccably rendered at the center of a vast stage.
The transparency provided by the small Octavio AMP was exemplary. Only the music was reproduced, without any background noise or hiss. The sound was fun, and pleasantly smooth for a class D amplifier. Even with complex tracks like ZZ Top’s La Grange, the highs remained perfectly controlled and detailed, and were reproduced without any harshness or sibilance. The rhythm was delivered with impact and rigor.
Octavio AMP: compared to…
Sonos Amp: available for €799, the Sonos Amp connected amplifier is the Octavio AMP’s true competitor. It offers an output of 2 x 125 watts into 8 ohms, making it easier to pair with floorstanding speakers or to use in large rooms. Soundwise, the Sonos model is more dynamic and, above all, more generous in the lows. The bass still isn’t abyssal, but it is more balanced at various volume levels. Regarding connectors, the French amp has the advantage of including a USB port to play music saved on a storage device. However, the Sonos Amp is more versatile with its HDMI ARC port, which makes it easier to connect a television. Furthermore, its app features many settings and even provides acoustic calibration.
Yamaha MusicCast WXA-50: available for €499, this Yamaha amp delivers 2 x 55W into 8 ohms. The network features are very similar, with AirPlay and Bluetooth compatibility as well as support for numerous streaming services. The Yamaha MusicCast WXA-50 is more user-friendly as you can control it vocally by associating it with a speaker equipped with a voice assistant. Conversely, the Octavio Amp’s sound is more upbeat and less analytical than that of the Yamaha model.
Octavio AMP: who is it for?
The Octavio AMP connected amplifier is designed for users looking for an all-in-one solution to enjoy both their physical sources and digital music. Its ultra-compact format makes it a great choice for small spaces and allows it to be installed discreetly in a living room, a bedroom or an office. Due to its modest power output, it is best to pair this amp with bookshelf speakers or small floorstanders. Adding a subwoofer is also a good way to improve balance at low volume.
Octavio AMP: conclusion
The French brand’s first connected amplifier is almost faultless. It impresses with its versatility and ease of use, notably thanks to the Virtuose mobile app. Very well designed, the latter more than makes up for the lack of a remote control. However, we hope to see more settings added in the near future, particularly to adjust the bass.
The Octavio AMP’s digital amplification is very effective, especially with the 32V mains adapter. The sound is dynamic, transparent and neutral. This amplifier adapts to all musical styles with enthusiasm and balance, as long as you turn the volume up or add a subwoofer.
- The compact format
- The many streaming options
- The very well designed mobile app
- The transparent sound
We would have liked:
- A more balanced sound at low volume
- An HDMI ARC input
- The ability to adjust the bass in the app