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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: MacBook Pro, Stello CDT100 / DAC100 Signature
Preamp/Integrated: Glow Audio 2008 Amp One, Dayens Ampino [on review]
Speakers: Glow Audio Voice One, Glow Audio Sub One [on review]
Cables: ASI Liveline lo/hi-level + one power cord, Crystal Cable Ultra power cords
Stands: Ikea butcher-block platforms with metal footers
Powerline conditioning: 2 x Walker Audio Velocitor S, Furutech e-TP80 on desk top
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: $499 + freight from Hong Kong for 503 integrated amplifier; $900/pr + freight from HK for 805 loudspeaker (20% discounts apply when ordered by e-mail through website)

My e-mail inbox antenna received wireless audio signals from China: "This is Ivan Lai from Miu-Tech Systems (HK) Co. We are a hifi manufacturer established since 2003 in Hong Kong. We provide electronic solutions for audio products, control electronics and sound modules for toys. Our audio components are branded Miu Audio. Other products like sound modules, RS232 control boxes etc. fall under the Miu Control branch. That is mainly OEM. Our factory resides in Dong Gung in the PRC. In the early years, we concentrated on OEM vacuum tube amplifiers for Sansui. Recently, we launched the Miu-Audio brand. To date, its products include vacuum tube amplifiers, loudspeakers, CD players and desktop integrated amplifiers. Products ready for review are the Miu-Audio 503, a hybrid desktop amplifier with Bluetooth, MP3 (USB and SD card interface), FM radio and AUX input; and the Miu-Audio 805 loudspeaker. The 503 is a 6wpc integrated amplifier with a single 6922 tube. Its Bluetooth connectivity means you can listen to music stored on your mobile phone. You can also use the amplifier as a hand-free telephone unit with its built-in microphone."

Decked out in Jeff Rowland-type wavy aluminum, the 503 is a tiny kidney-shaped affair wrapped in burl wood. How tiny? The entire foot print occupies my average-sized hand from finger tips to wrist. Five unmarked buttons and a ventilated black plastic disc with aluminum screw-down knob complete top deck amenities. The disc removes to gain access to the 6922 but thick-fingered operators will coin new cuss words quickly as they will for the tiny binding posts that hide inside a very inconvenient recess around the back.

Due to the general dearth of real estate, mini sockets circle this wagon. Forget proper RCA inputs. There isn't room. Hence a mini-to-RCA patch cord comes with it. Unless you love fumbling, go bananas for the speaker leads. The 805s are biwired but arrive bridged with massive metal straps. You'll need a shot-gun biwire to eliminate those. Fumble and seriously cuss I did then with twisted stripped ends. I picked up a roll of no-name speaker cable from our local Coop to remain in character. Included are a braided
USB cable, the input patch cord, another mini-to-mini and a mini-to- bare-end patch, a pair of ear buds and a 100-240V 50760Hz AC adaptor to provide the unit with 12V at 4A. Once the wooden tray base is removed, we find a rectangular metal enclosure with a display protrusion. As Ivan explains in his later tour of Miu Tech, the 503 relies on many surface-mount devices to compensate for its shortage of space.

This includes a wireless Bluetooth receiver with removable antenna. The remote is a 21-button credit card type with telephony controls not usually seen in audio. The 503 is a bridge between the wired nation and hifi.

The 503's functions are best described by walking through its various connection ports:

1 LCD display
2 Microphone input - 503 acts as hands-free mobile phone receiver via Bluetooth. The microphone is used only when a phone call is accepted.
3 Infrared eye
4 LED for USB memory stick or SD card
5 USB port
6 Power switch / function select / play / pause button
7 - / skip previous / ch - / volume
8 + / skip next / ch + / volume
9 Volume setting / channel swap
10 Function button activates the function menu
11 6922 vacuum tube
12 Power status indicator, blue for on, red for standby
13 3.5mm mini headphone port
14 SD card slot for MP3 files
15 AUX line in for included patch cord to external sources
16 FM antenna input
17 24VDC power adapter input
18 Bluetooth antenna
19 8-ohm speaker terminals

The unlabeled buttons 6 thru 10 are multi-function commands which change operation depending on which input they're assigned to. This confirms with a ticker band of icons in the blue display that cycles thru:

In the above sequence, these icons stand for Bluetooth, AUX, tuner, SD card and USB. The 503 can transfers media files between PC, USB memory stick and SD card. The 503 must be connected via male-to-male USB (not included) to the PC, SD card seated and powered up automatically by the PC. This is confirmed with a PC connection readout. With USB stick and SD card inserted, the remote control can be used to copy files between both. Because the remote's buttons too are multi function, things can get massively confusing quickly.

For a mini factory tour of Miu Audio, proceed to this SideBar.