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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Esoteric UX-1, Yamamoto YDA-01, Stello CDT100, Stello DA100 Signature
Preamp/Integrated: AudioSector Patek SE, FirstWatt F5, Glow Audio Amp One
Speakers: Miu Audio 805 [on review], ASI Tango R, Zu Essence, Blumenhofer Acoustics back horn [on review]
Cables: ASI Liveline loom
Stands: 2 x Ikea Molger, Ikea butcher-block platforms with metal footers
Powerline conditioning: 2 x Walker Audio Velocitor S
Sundry accessories: Furutech RD-2 CD demagnetizer; Nanotech Nespa Pro; extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: The sound platform is 3 x 4.5m with a 2-story slanted ceiling above; four steps below continue into an 8m long combined open kitchen, dining room and office, an area which widens to 5.2m with a 2.8m ceiling; the sound platform space is open to a 2nd story landing and, via spiral stair case, to a 3rd-floor studio; concrete floor, concrete and brick walls from a converted barn with no parallel walls nor perfect right angles; short-wall setup with speaker backs facing the 8-meter expanse and 2nd-story landing.
Review Component Retail: €220

€220 could buy a fancy multi-course meal with very nice wine for two in a swanky Euro restaurant. Or, it could buy a 25/40wpc two-input integrated amplifier from Serbia. No kidding! And Dayens' 150 x 285 x 90mm 3.7kg Ampino is not class D. Nor does it run a switch-mode power supply. It's a linear design with nice Japanese transistors in class A/B mode, a black Acrylic fascia, stout metal toggles, a passive Alps pot behind an input relay and a claimed frequency response from 1Hz to 200kHz, with a whopping S/N of better than 100dB. Really.

As an outside and in spection shows, the Ampino is swanky as sin for the very modest fee which Dipl. Eng. Dejan Dobrin asks for it. Had economic woes clouded your audiophile future? Ampino might have you covered. Take a closer look.

Compared to the currently exploding rabbits and mushrooms of T-amp clones, Ampino is bigger. It's also a bit heavier due to its real albeit down-scaled 100VA Trafomatic transformer. Of the toroidal sort, it is appropriate for its traditional architecture and the low power rating. It also behaves like the perfect land lord when the party begins. In absentia. Mechanically and over my 91dB Tangos also electrically, it's mum as a mummy. Quiet really isn't quite the word. How unexpected.

The layout shows one clever way how this quietude has been accomplished. The finned heatsink acts as a divider between the transformer and output stage, with the former as far removed from the latter as physically possible.

The PCB shows good-sized traces and quality assembly. Mundorf ISWG105 silver/gold flying leads connect the amplified output signal to the 5-way binding posts and tap into the board one inch removed from the complementary 2SA194 / 2SC5200 Toshiba bipolar output transistors. There are Elna electrolytics, metal-film resistors, MCap input capacitors and matching speaker terminals. In short, parts and assembly quality are unreasonably high for the 'swanky dinner' tag.

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Who is Dayens then? From the included warranty certificate good for two years, we learn that their devices "are very carefully handcrafted. During the final phase of production after technical testing, every device must pass the most important and hardest test - the hearing test. This phase extends over a couple of days at least and is the period in which potential adjustments are made. I personally guarantee you this device." Model name and serial number appear next hand-written, with a signature from the boss at the bottom. All that for €220. Dayens for sainthood?

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Dejan Dobrin: "I am a graduated electronic engineer and the owner of the Dayens company together with my wife Ruzica Dobrin and my son Zoran Dobrin. I graduated from the Electronics and Telecommunications faculty in Timisoara (Romania) and decided to study electronics and become an audio engineer already in elementary school. I was working in Research and Development until 1991 when I have founded Dayens whose main business activities are projecting, producing, servicing and distributing audio electronics.

"My company is located in Sabac, Serbia. After some time under very difficult conditions of sanctions and war, we started to represent foreign companies, first Visaton, later Quadral, Canton, Oehlbach, Elac, Vifa, Scan-Speak, Peerless, WBT, Mundorf and Audio-Consulting. At the same time, we were working on our own products with the goal to offer high-quality products at reasonable prices in our own market because our philosophy is that music is not a privilege, it is an everyday need.

"We are producing several types of integrated amplifiers, preamplifiers as well as loudspeakers, power amplifiers, PA amplifiers, loudspeaker cables and interconnect cables. All our products are hand-made products and we are very proud of their high quality. Our intention is to become a better and bigger company. We are very ambitious. We intend to became one of the leading audio equipment companies in this area. The Ampino is our basic entry-level amplifier model. We are working on an English version of our website and expect to have German, Italian and Romanian pages later this year. To keep Ampino's pricing favorable, we sell it direct from Serbia, with added ship fees determined by destination. "

Do you begin to feel that terra firma is slipping? Imagine me holding the actual little brick of an amp in hand. I can't figure how Dayens manages. The timing couldn't have been more opportune either. Ampino's touchdown coincided with the arrival of the €76,000 theLars 20-watt 300B monos from Sweden. Let' see. 345 Ampinos to get an entire small village on hifi on my left. One luxury amp for one solitary mondo capitalist household on my right. Same budget. Do I feel like a leftist or rightist? Should 'serious' music lovers strike Ampino from the list for not possibly being serious enough when it comes to sound? I'll take Ampino for a few spins around different speakers and report back. For now, I'll add that my wife prefers the Ampino over theLars. On classical no less. On the big Tango R reference speakers. Adios terra firma...