The Unison Research Unico Primo amplifier combines valve and solid state technologies, offering ‘The Valve Sound’, with the advantages of Mosfet circuitry.
You may have read our previous blog on The Magic of Valve Amlifiers; if so, your interest may have been piqued by the specific sonic delights offered by Valve technology and the stylish and arresting equipment manufactured by Italian Hi-Fi manufacturer, Unison Research.
The Unison Research Unico Primo represents the entry level amplifier in Unison Research’s range of hybrid, integrated amplifiers. With a promise to offer the sweetness and musicality of fine Valve electronics, with the practical benefits of Solid State technology.
Hybrid Technology – The Best of Both Worlds?
Valve electronics are prized for their warmth, sweetness, and musicality; qualities which are synonymous with ‘The Valve Sound’. Unfortunately, by their very nature, Valves generate heat and consume considerably greater power than Solid State Electronics.
Valve Amplifiers also require numerous, large and expensive transformers in the design, as well as needing higher maintenance intervals than solid state electronics. That said, however, it’s a price many are willing to pay for ‘The Valve Sound’.
What if there was a way to harness the sound of Valves with the reliability and cost effective design of solid state electronics? Well, thankfully there is, and it’s known as a ‘Hybrid Design’. Typically utilising valves in the low level, pre-amplifier stages, whilst using efficient, solid state electronics in the power amplification section.
Unison Research Unico Primo – Design Topology
The Unison Research Unico Primo utilises a single ECC83, dual triode Valve along with a pure ‘Class A’ based preamplifier design. Class A designs are prized by Audiophiles for their lack of crossover distortion and sonic qualities.
The power amplifier is based around a complementary pair of power Mosfet output devices, utilising an approach, unique to Unison Research, referred to as ‘Dynamic Class A’.
‘Dynamic Class A’ – keeps the output stage, effectively, in a pseudo Class A bias; another example of the Unico Primo design making sensible compromises whilst still retaining the key design elements and sonic qualities, so beloved of critical audiophiles.
Connections and Functionality
In operation, The Unico Primo will feel immediately familiar to users of Solid State Integrated amplifiers; again, making the ‘Valve Sound’ more approachable and less intimidating to acquire.
Upon powering the amplifier up, the user will see two, green, flashing LED indicators. These turn to solid green once the ECC83 Valve has warmed up to operating temperature; nice and easy.
Two, large and stylish rotary controls allow the user source selection and volume adjustment, the latter of which can be remotely controlled with the included controller.
Connections are via line-level phono plugs on the rear of the unit, offering CD, Tuner and AV connections, a Tape Loop, post volume Subwoofer outputs, plus a dedicated Phono stage; the latter of which offers selectable MM/MC functionality.
Two pairs of speaker outputs, on the rear of the unit, allow the user to tap into the 85w (8ohms) power output and allows for bi-wiring for those so inclined.
Unico Secundo – For those who want MORE!
If the specification of the Unico Primo has whetted your appetite, but you want, well….MORE; the Unico Secundo could be just the ticket. Offering an additional pre-amp Valve, more output power, balanced inputs and a beefier power supply, the Unico Secundo takes the Primo formula and revs it up that bit more!
If you’d like to know more about either of these great amplifiers, drop us a line at Audio Affair. We’re here to help!