We are asked by importer Simply Audio to test a set of the British Graham Slee and are immediately enthusiastic because we have often heard and read good things about this brand. A second reason to answer their question is that we have not tested this brand at Alpha-Audio before. On the one hand we keep it interesting and varied for our readers and on the other hand it gives us the opportunity to take a closer look at a new brand. Double winnings. We test the Graham Slee Majestic and Propius.
Because the focus at Alpha-Audio is on digital, today we’re looking at the Graham Slee Majestic Dac with volume control in combination with the Proprius Mono Amplifier, a few small but fine output stages. In total this makes three small boxes with all kinds of special features. You will notice that Graham Slee, with their BBC background, does things just a bit differently than we are used to.
Graham Slee, now 20 years young, for example, doesn’t have the means to launch gigantic media campaigns but has to have their “mouth to mouth” approach where satisfied customers convince new potential customers. And this company does not innovate to innovate either. Both components have been in the catalogue for several years and will only be trimmed if improvement is possible.
At the latest
The Majestic Dac has a volume knob at the front with a convenient indication of the output level. In addition, there are three switches to enable the USB input and analog input respectively and to disable the digital domain. At the back we find three coaxial, three optical and 1 usb connections. More than enough to connect all your digital sources. There is also an analog input to connect one of their excellent phono stages. A single-ended and a balanced (TRS) output finish the sequence.
The Proprius power amplifiers each also have a volume control at the front so we can connect them directly and balanced to the Metrum Acoustic Onyx Dac! Nice and compact! At the back we find a balanced input and output and a set of speaker connections. There is no remote control, we don’t have one with the Bryston either, but we don’t find that a disadvantage, because that way we leave the volume at the same position for a longer time. And getting out of the lazy seat once in a while is vital for blood circulation.
Inside the Graham Slee Majestic is a solid Wolfson dac which can be obtained via coax 192khz. Usb input is a special case because it is limited to 24bit/48khz (a usb 1.1 standard. Advantage is that no drivers are needed). We don’t see that very often anymore. And it’s got some eyebrows frowning.
Graham Slee consciously chooses to make the dac sound as good as possible instead of just delivering high sampling rates. Still, it can be a stumbling block if you have a lot of music files with a higher resolution.
The Proprius mono amplifiers are fully dual mono built with discrete components and therefore play fully balanced. Each amplifier has a separate power supply and although you may think it is class D, it is good old class A / B with the full 25 watts in 8ohm and 45 watts in 4 ohms. Figures we see earlier with tube amps, but which were more than enough to play very loud without distortion.
The included Librian cables provide a balanced connection via the XLR of the Proprius to the less common TRS connection on the Majestic. It is striking that all Graham Sledge devices cannot be put on standby or switched off.