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: Edgar Kramer
Financial Interests: Click here
Source Digital: AMR CD-77.1 CD player, MacBook with BitPerfect player and AIFF ripped files 
Preamplifier: Supratek Sauvignon with NOS RCA and Bendix tubes; NuForce P9, NuForce P20, Musical Fidelity kW Hybrid 
Amplifier: NuForce Reference 18 monoblocks; Cymer Audio Southern Star SE-35 monoblocks; Ancient Audio Single Six monoblocks; Musical Fidelity kW750 2-box power amplifier
Speakers: Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia 
Cables: Digital - Cerious Technologies; Harmonic Technology Magic; NuForce digital cables; interconnects - Bocchino Audio Morning Glory; Cable Research Laboratory (CRL) Gold with Bocchino XLR and RCA; Cerious Technologies; DanA Digital Reference Silver; Eichmann eXpress 6 Series 2; ETI Quiessence Reference; Harmonic Technology Magic and Truthlink Silver; MIT Giant Killer MPC; NuForce IC-700; PSC Audio Monolith AG; PSC Audio Pristine R30 Ribbon; speaker cables - Cerious Technologies; ETI Quiessence Reference; MIT Giant Killer GK-1 loudspeaker cables; NuForce SC-700, power cords - Cerious Technologies AC; Eichmann eXpress AC power cables; Harmonic Technology Fantasy; PSC Gold Power MKII; Shunyata Research Diamondback 
Stands: SGR Signature HiFi racks
Acoustic treatment: Fonic Designer panels 
Sundry accessories: Burson Audio Buffer, Bright Star Audio IsoRock Reference 3 and BSA IsoNode feet; Bocchino Audio Mecado isolation diodes; Black Diamond Racing cones; Stillpoints ERS paper in strategic positions, Shakti On Lines; Densen & IsoTek CD demagnetizer; Auric Illuminator CD Treatment
Room size: New room – 6.4m wide by 7.1m long with high ceiling and narrow cavity behind speakers. Room has been professionally measured and found to be extraordinarily flat and neutral
Review component retail: Strumento No 1 preamplifier €12.900, Strumento No 4 power amp €18.900 

Volare Italia. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Maserati, Prada, Versace, Giorgio Armani... these are brands which are aspirational, which are most desired around the world and which generate the very highest pride of ownership. The common thread there obviously is that they all come from that Latin boot-shaped country. In the world of audio this Italian design flair combined with technical excellence has translated to equally desirable brands such as Chario, Diapason, Eventus, Pathos, Rosso Fiorentino, Unison Research (and its loudspeaker cousin Opera) and most notably Sonus faber. Whilst a large percentage of these are speaker manufacturers where the most stylistic panache can be let loose, a relatively new electronics player is now making a mark in the upper echelons of the high-end arena. Enter Audia Flight with three electronics ranges; the entry point ‘Three‘ Series, the mid-level ‘Classic’ series and the subjects of this review, the preamp/power amp combo from the stellar high-end ‘Strumento’ Series.

a Google Earth view on Audia Flight's headquarters

Fasten your seat belts!... The Strumento N°.1 preamplifier is immaculately assembled and sports a massive rotary volume knob on the right side of the fascia’s gently curving display window. Below that is a row of five chromed metal buttons for switching input, balance, power, (menu) set and mute. That’s all. The rear panel is a whole ‘nutha story resplendent with all manner of audio connectivity. There are two XLR and high-quality WBT NextGen RCA inputs (switchable) and three additional balanced-only inputs. Outputs include two XLR pairs and one RCA with a fixed ‘record out’ on RCA. There are two removable latch spaces for optional DAC and phono modules.

The Strumento N° 1’s gain operates across a range of -90dB to +10dB with a step resolution of 0.5dB. Frequency response within 1w RMS and -3dB parameters is 1Hz-1MHz with a high S/N ratio of 105dB. Input impedance is 15kΩ balanced or unbalanced whilst the output impedance is a nicely low 5Ω. The included remote control is beautifully styled, milled from solid aluminium and features small round metal buttons that make a somewhat intrusive clicking sound when pressed.