Densen BEAT-130 Amplifier

The equipment of this brand once opened for me the door to the world of European High End. I still remember Densen amplifiers of the classic series - with a very thin black body, with a mirrored front panel and huge gold-plated knobs-cylinders. The sound was also engraved in my memory - naked, smooth, completely captivating. Modern Densen integrated amplifiers do not look so glamorous, but they became much more elegant. The aluminum enclosure is a delight. It is very sturdy, made of beautifully ground plates and assembled so precisely that it looks like a monolith. The front panel is a model of purity and minimalism. The control buttons (do not let the lack of signatures scare you - they are printed on the upper edge of the panel) and a narrow stripe of matrix LED display are lined up in one row. When switching inputs and adjusting the volume you can hear clearly audible clicks inside the amplifier, so we can conclude that the signal switching and attenuation is done in the most reliable and clean way - with electromagnetic relays.

But this is not the only thing worth paying attention to. Thomas Sillesen - the developer of all Densen equipment - for more than twenty years recognizes only one principle: the amplifier must have no feedback. Yes, it allows you to improve the characteristics of the path and its stability, make the unit less dependent on the load, etc. However, this solution has even more disadvantages. The cascade, covered by deep feedback, compresses the signal, worsens microdynamics, weakens harmonic and spatial intelligibility, blurs the attack. In general, a whole bunch of problems.

In the seventies, Thomas became interested in amplifiers with minimal feedback, designed by the Finnish scientist Matti Ottala. Having understood the essence of the problem, Thomas developed his - now famous - amplifiers with Zero-Feedback Technology.

The model presented in this review occupies a middle ground between the relatively inexpensive BEAT-110 and the top-of-the-line BEAT-150 integrated amplifier. The unit is equipped with inputs and outputs for the electronic crossover or surround processor, has a bus for external control and is ready for the installation of one of phono stage boards - either DP-03 for heads with moving magnet or DP-06 for MC type cartridges. The internal power system is based on an insulated toroidal transformer and endowed with an impressive bank of audiophile capacitors with a total capacity of 80000 uF. In an advanced audio system, it makes sense to supplement the amplifier with an external power supply unit. There is a separate connector on the rear panel for its connection.

The BEAT-130 has a signature only for Densen. Some will even find it surprising. At first glance, the disks sound a bit harsh, rough and not very beautiful, but this very manner of playing is the closest to the live sound - listen to this unit for 10 - 15 minutes and you will understand what I'm talking about. The trick is that the upper range of the Densen is exceptionally detailed and at the same time - absolutely natural.

The sibilants, sharp overtones of copper, soft whistling tones of woodwinds are delivered very accurately, freely, without any violence and metal. But at the same time, the metal of the ringing instruments cuts through, on the contrary, very clearly. Switching from the Densen to another amplifier, you will immediately feel how monotonous and slick (at best) the top has become.

Below the frequency range, the harmonic resolution decreases smoothly, but is still high. The middle is slightly warmer, the bass is only slightly obscured by humming loops (and they are concentrated not in the main working area, but a little higher, closer to the midrange). That's, perhaps, all the faults. Microdynamics and absolute dynamics are on par. The scene is very imaginative, I would even say palpable. The sound is moving, plastic, open. This unit makes you want to stop the tests to listen to music just for your own pleasure.

Densen BEAT-130 Amplifier photo