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Review Moonriver Audio 404 integrated amplifier

Pros

  • High-quality playback
  • Beautifully made
  • Fine features
  • Modular

Cons

  • No XLR input
  • No headphone output
  • Large
  • Price: € 3000

    Build quality
    Usability
    Sound
    Price
    Moonriver Audio 404

    Sound

    The Moonriver Audio 404 integrated amplifier sounds fantastic. It’s the kind of amplifier you’ve always been looking for. For it possesses the perfect balance of insight and commitment. It is full of temperament and has no intention of playing second fiddle. it plays big with balls and is not at all ashamed of it. In addition, there is transparency and refinement to the point where we get a very complete reproduction. It brings every piece of music regardless of genre with conviction and gusto.

    The soundstage is 3D and wide and deep. Not the ultimate soundstage that more expensive components achieve but very good indeed. Engaging, organic, impactful, colorful (not colored), transparent, dynamic, textured, delicate, timbre and vibrant. These are just a few of the adjectives we’ve penned down during our countless listening sessions over the past few weeks. Words are almost insufficient to describe this wonderful amplifier. As far as we are concerned the Moonriver really plays above his class and we do not say that often. It is precisely for this reason that it is, in this form, a downright bargain. It’s not a giant-killer but it really does play above its category.

    Listen

    Julie Byrne made one of the finest albums of 2017 with “Not Even Happiness” but the album never quite sounded like it should. The Moonriver Audio 404 changes that. Where Byrne’s voice can sometimes sound a bit shrill and sharp on some systems, it’s just the opposite with the Moonriver Audio 404. Voices get chest and you don’t hear that until you have a full-blooded amplifier like the Moonriver Audio 404 inside. Female vocals, by the way, sound outstanding through this amplifier.

    We can say the same about instruments and more specifically guitars which for example on the new record “The last exit” by Still Corners resonate beautifully and where you can hear the guitarist touching the strings with a slight sense of exaggeration. On the song ‘Till we meet again’ you immediately hear this and we are enchanted by the deceptively simple melody. On ‘Bad Town’ it’s there again. We listen mesmerized to the guitar intro and believe we have never heard guitars this beautiful before

    Sevdaliza made perhaps one of the most exciting electronic albums of 2020 with “Shabrang” and through the Moonriver Audio 404 all the details come through effortlessly. The soundstage is deep and spacious and the music sounds loose. Speakers disappear. The bass is suitably tight with especially a lot of impact. There are amplifiers in this price range that offer even more control but with all our speakers the Moonriver Audio 404 brought the most ‘slam’, very special. However, the reproduction remains balanced due to the above average transparency this amplifier possesses.

    1 Comment

    1. Thank you for your positive review of this Moonriver amp. I notice you confirm you used ATC SCM19 speakers (among other speakers) as part of the review. Could you specify how did the Moonriver generally drive the speakers considering its only 50watts for 8ohms. Was it a good synergy between the amp and speakers? Thank you

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