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This review first appeared in the July 2008 issue of and can be read in its original German version here. It is herewith translated and presented to an English-only audience through a mutual syndication arrangement with As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end has a link below it to his e-mail should you have questions or feedback you wish to send. All images contained in this review are the property of or Myryad. - Ed.

Reviewer: Jörg Dames
Source: Audiomeca Obsession II, Fonel Simplicité (variable outputs for amp-direct connection)
Amplification: pre-power - Bel Canto PRe3/M300, Funk LAP-2.V2, Crimson 610C-2/640D, Bryston BP25 / 4B SST, SAC il piccolo; integrated - Accuphase E212, Lua 4040C
Loudspeakers: Thiel CS 2.4, Sehring 703 SE, Quadral Rondo, Spendor S 3/5
Cables: Low-level - Straight Wire Virtuoso; high-level - HMS Fortissimo, Reson LSC 350, Ortofon SPK 500
Component retail prices: €1.350 for preamp; €2.250 for power amp as configured for review

Shining stars?
It's gotten relatively quiet around brand Myryad. Granted, outcries of wallflower existence in our domestic scene would be overdrawing things but just a few years back, I do recall that they enjoyed more market presence and higher consumer awareness. I'm particularly thinking of the Mi 120 integrated which, at the time and prior to the euro conversion, weighed in around 2.400DM. It enjoyed international popularity and even minor legend status. To be sure, popularity and quality don't often correlate exactly as they should. That's no backhanded dump on the good ol' 120. Far from it. I simply never got around to hearing it. Instead, I got nicely acquainted with Myryad's smaller, more demure T-Series which never achieved the same fame as their M range. Which returns us full circle to wallflowers. Yet precisely those bygone wallflowers (the T-40 and T-10 to be exact) have remained in my good graces ever since. That the same might hold true for today's testers could be a foregone conclusion to those who've taken note how the power amp has performed yeoman duty in various reviews here at Dames. High time then to formally introduce the MXA 2150 and its preamplifying colleague, the MXP 2000.

Founded in 1995 between Chris and Dave Evans, Myryad clearly doesn't subscribe to blinged-out hifi gigantomania. To wit, the MXA 2150 and MXP 2000 represent their respective top offerings whereby the stereo power amp MXA 2150 is available in various 'sizes', i.e. modular cards which greet you in plain view under the open bonnet. Those cards aren't plug 'n' play though. Swaps are reserved for the maker or dealer. Choices include 2 x 80 stereo or 150-watt mono configurations, the latter discrete channels with dedicated low-loss toroids, optionally fitted with XLR inputs. Pricing, in sequence as mentioned, is 750, 650 and 850 euros respectively. Our €2.250 tester sported 2 x 150 watts into 8 ohms in a single chassis but the addition of two further cards would serve bi-amp users while home theater fans could trick out the MXA 2150 to run up to seven modules.

The MXA 2150 is a Type B personality: Four bipolar transistors for 150 watts and 30 ampere peak current per side perform in class B exclusively. Despite the output power, power draw is an admirably low 35 watts at idle, hammering home the relevance of reduced energy consumption in these days of drastically rising energy costs. Our Brit is less conservative in matters of bandwidth however. Its 1.6Hz to >120kHz (-3dB) window promises good speed and reduced phase shift. Good control over even challenging loads is indicated by the sub 20 milli-ohm output impedance adding up, on 8-ohm speakers, to a stout damping factor above 400. What populates the circuit boards isn't spectacular but in keeping with this price class. There's a single high-quality polypropylene coupling capacitor in the signal path while tightly matched, low-distortion Vishays perform resistive duties.

Myryad does act a mite arch conservative externally: Neither the hard mains switch (which will see little action with the machine's frontal stand-by switch) nor the RCA inputs are poster children for extreme solidity. By now, the latter are quite loose on my work horse amp in fact. Granted, the average listener won't permanently swap out components. Reviewers are harder on hifi kit. In matters of switching and connector quality, the MXP 2000 preamp follows suit. On the plus side of the ledger, there's an ultra precise, sonically invisible digital volume control to avoid the common potentiometer in the signal path. The display and related processing benefit from a dedicated power supply
to minimize sonically degrading interactions with the main board. The use of operational FET amps allowed the elimination of all additional capacitors in the signal path, the latter as short and simple as possible. This will be transparent even to novices when staring at the machine's mostly bare innards. Naturally, I had to cast a more than cursory glance at both Myryads under the sonic loup since, as mentioned, both have been in residence for a significant duration already. The preamp's 220-ohm output impedance promises no undue cable issues by the way.

I'll kick off with the amp and a fat compliment. The MXA 2150 is a fundamentally flawless all-rounder. Though at first blush, one might hope for more exciting praise, I'm adamant in my thinking that this characterization of all-around suitability grants our machine a very special place indeed.
Some kit excels with small string ensembles or teleports elfin female vocals with impossible sweetness into the listening room. Other machines assault the head with upfront e-guitars and bass drums or hold other aces in reserve to become go-to stuff for certain listeners. I get more excited when a component treats my entire music collection with equal aplomb and -- especially when one reviews a lot -- gets along in a wide variety of systems. And that describes the Myryad amp to a 't'.

For example, this machine embraces ruder fare. Be it well-recorded Doom Rock à la Killing Joke [eponymous 2003 album] with its leaden but whipped electric guitars, intense vocals and opulent sonic clouds; or proven industrial heroes Skinny Puppy on Last Rights who combine rhythmic aggression with nervous progressions; Myryad's MXA 2150 is an even-keeled and fast tracker, surely fast enough to render such songs clean and impressive particularly when all the hectic density conspires to complex multi tracking. Nothing trips up. Even on tougher speaker loads, the Myryad remains transparent and in control, with dry well contrasted bass. Not exactly full-bodied and weighty down low, neither could you call it lean. I find what the MXA 2150 delivers not only in the bass well balanced and tautly damped.

Transcendental female vocals aren't mandatory to report on the midrange but the Myryad handles them with suitable warmth and subtlety. Even over the in this regard somewhat dangerous Thiel CS 2.4, nothing turns glassy or hyped when on Pure Reason Revolutions' The Dark Third, front gal Chloe Alper pays her sonic dues. Ditto for acoustic instruments like Current 93s' Western guitar on "Then kill Caesar" [Black Ships ate the Sky] or the piano on Peter Gabriel's "The Drop" [Up]. They don't pose challenges. The steel strings remain dynamic, tight and with realistic warmth while the keyboard is cleanly lit, rich in contrast and suitably fleshed out.

Even-handed cohesion is clearly a trait which one can readily grant Myryad's biggest power amp. This includes the well-integrated treble which is no purring kitten charmer on fuzzy paws but, like the rest, well articulated and agile without defaulting into undue hardness. This makes the MXA 2150 -- when mated to equivalently balanced ancillaries -- long-term suitable (unless one subscribes to extreme warmth or softness).

To pick any nits means insisting on a mite more micro resolution in the upper ranges and a tad more calm or background blackness even though such criticisms approach the pedantic, never mind that I've not come across other kit in this price range that's superior in these aspects. Even then, room for improvement would simply shift, not disappear. To throw in a controversial tweak, let's mention that swapping in upscale fuses from Hifi-Tuning (two 5-ampere slow-blows per card) produced nice results here in these aspects.

Soundstage admirers too are served. True, more hi-mass, powerful and rather dearer amplifiers can render the stage a tick mightier or with heightened definition (the far costlier Bryston 4B SST comes to mind) but overall, the MXA 2150 grips even choosy speakers to nicely disconnect the sonic images from the boxes. Things are well sorted and cleanly localized. Considering the sticker, everything is more than in order. This simply restates that considering its full bandwidth of sonic virtues, the Myryad MXA 2150 performs in a very high league.

It's when you add Myryad's MXP 2000 preamp that a very specific sonic finger print comes to the fore. The entire aural picture slips into the fields of gold. Cymbals are a bit de-energized, steel strings less direct and wiry, pianos less illuminated and deliberate e-guitar distortion as for example on Radiohead's "Bodysnatchers" opening [In Rainbows] less crisp than I'm used to. Conversely, the MXP 2000 charms voices in particular since the midrange gets a goodly infusion of warmth to be of the clearly sonorous sort. That's charming of course and relaxed yet also departs from the 'honest' i.e. uncompromisingly neutral behavior of the MXA 2150. Overall, this preamp puts less emphasis on definition and transparency than roundness and flow. It also operates somewhat more compacted and not quite as dynamic and multi-layered as possible.

Agile, dynamic, even-keeled, well resolved, grippy, sorted, transparent, controlled, neutral. If those attributes describe your priorities, you'll be in danger to turn an encounter with Myryad's MXA 2150 power amp into a long-term affair. This amp is a true all-rounder which is less impressive or outstanding in individual categories but highly satisfying in the sum total of its performance. To this writer, it makes this machine highly commendable. It also means that the search for either a suitable preamp -- should you fall not for the charm of the affordable MXP 2000 -- or a copasetic loudspeaker should cause no grief. The MXA 2150 will harmonize well with most components.

Myryad's preamp MXP 2000 has a distinct character which begins in its sonorous midrange. This renders it ideal for those who fundamentally crave greater warmth and roundness. Positioned 900 euros below the power amp, the competition in the market seems quite slim, particularly if you mean to give frostily cool systems the stiff middle finger.

Myryad's amplification duo is characterized by a power amp which...
  • plays on an elevated field across the board and belongs to the well-damped, 'fast' class. Soundstaging is well controlled, sorted, open and nicely dimensional.
  • is well detailed and articulated top to bottom and clearly well balanced and neutral. Despite its analytical and dynamic prowess, there's sufficient warmth and flesh.
  • is overall less focused on mass than outlines and precision. This is true also in the bass.

... and a preamp which...

  • is quite endowed in the midrange
  • favors a more rounded and warm presentation over high-def analysis.


Preamp MXP 2000:

  • Weight: 7kg
  • Dimensions: 436 x 95 x 343mm (W x H x D)
  • Trim: silver or black alu fascia
  • Output impedance: 220 Ohm
  • Power consumption: < 10 watt at idle
  • Inputs: 6 x low-level RCA plus CD-R and tape loops
  • Other: digital volume control

Power amp MXA 2150:

  • Weight: 21kg
  • Dimensions: 436 x 190 x 479mm (W x H x D)
  • Trim: silver or black alu fascia
  • Output impedance: <20 milliohm
  • Output power: 2 x 150/230 watts into 8/4 ohms
  • Power consumption: ca. 35 watts at idle
  • Operational class: class B
  • Connections: RCA line in/line out, XLRs optional
  • Other: dual mono construction, modular cards with expansion options
  • Website
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