Canor Audio AI 1.10 Tube Integrated Amplifier Review
Tubes Triodes and Class A Glory
My first experience of Canor Audio HiFi electronics was at the Munich High End show 2018 and I extremely impressed with them as part of a superb sounding system. I was impressed by the drive and verve to the sound of this system but it was hard to know how much of this was due to the Canor amplifiers, it turns out quite a bit.
When I was offered the opportunity to review the AI 1.10 amplifier I jumped at chance, it was a fantastic opportunity to find out more about Canor and spend some time with a valve amplifier from a tube specialist company
The AI 1.10 was delivered on a pallet this I was not expecting, the main packaging box was huge and it was a struggle to get it through my front door. Removing the amplifier from the packaging its size hit me, its a big amplifier and a heavy amplifier and the feel of its construction is very much “they don’t make them like this anymore” impressive.
Impressive on the inside too
A big part of the initial ownership joy is taking the lid off the AI 1.10 and appreciating the lovely internals as you install the 4 KT88 tubes. using gloves as I should have done as to not touch the tubes with greasy fingers. Looking deeper reveals some of Canor Audio key technologies the circuit boards have CMT ™ technology (CANOR ® PCB Milling Technology) which is a way of having the benefits of both point to point wiring and he consistency of circuit boards, very much a cake and eat it situation.
There are some other key technologies within the AI 1.10 such as a clever volume control system that improves the sound quality but more interesting allows the use of two AI 1.10 amplifiers in a master and slave setup to have 2 mono-block amplifiers without the need for an additional pre-amplifier.
Good amount of Power too
Its possible to use the AI 1.10 in either Ultra Linear or Triode mode and you select the mode via a button on the front panel.
The AI 1.10 has 20 watts per channel at 4 and 8 ohms in Triode mode and 40 watts per channel in Ultra Linear mode again at both 8 and 4 ohms all Class A To some this might not seem like a lot but in practice the AI 1.10 drove my KEF Reference speakers which are 87db efficient fantastically well
A genuine Black Beauty
I think a review of the AI 1.10 would not be complete without talking about the lovely front fascia design, the orange glow around the volume control co boned with the dotted LED display is stunning, simply stunning
Expensive Enough but not crazy
The AI 1.10 costs 6400 euros and is available from select dealers or direct from Canor Audio. While this is a serious amount of money for a HiFi component, that price is justified by the whole package.
Best Sound Achieved so far
The review of the Canor Audio AI 1.10 coincided with the review of several other fantastic components such as the JCAT M12 Gold Switch and the rebuilding of main music server. I was very lucky to have a fantastic system for the review of the AI 1.10 but it was also very instrumental in delivering the best sound I had achieved to this point from my review system
An easy conclusion - Best Amplifier of 2019
I really enjoyed my time with the Canor AI 1.10, in fact I really loved it as an amplifier. I Ioved that the AI 1.10 breaks with the modern tradition that an amplifier has to do at least 4 other things as well as amplify sound. Its an amplifier first and last and I phenomenal one to enjoy listening to music through.
I spent about 80% of the time listening to the AI 1.10 in triode mode, there was something about the fluidity of the music presentation that really gripped me, music being the operative word. That music didn't come at the expense of other important elements such as bass power, presence and control.
The AI 1.10 is a very lovely thing to touch, interact and spend time with and of course listen to. If I have two main gripes with the AI 1.10 they would be the rear of the remote control gets a little sticky for some reason and there is no home cinema bypass input. There are also no balanced inputs if that is also important to you but this is true of a lot of tube amplifiers.
I have reviewed a lot of amplifiers in my time and a lot of amplifiers in 2019. I dont think it would be right to have an amplifier in your system that produced the best sound you have ever achieved and not award that amplifier the best of 2019 status. So that is it the Canor Audio AI 1.10 is my best amplifier of 2019.