Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier test

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier test

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier Test

The German company continues to refine the signature recipe for high-quality Hi-Fi sound at a reasonable price, where a tube pre-amp unit is combined with a transistor circuit. The latest Magnat MA 900 works in class A/B and combines sufficient power with wide connectivity and works with a variety of acoustics.

When you first get acquainted with the Magnat MA 900, a slight deja vu arises - the device deliberately uses the same stylistic and constructive solutions as in the younger model MR 780, which we tested four years ago. And formally, the amplifier replaced the outwardly dissimilar MA 1000 model.

Even the front panel here differs by just a couple of buttons, and all the details seem familiar. First of all, a long plastic window, divided in the middle by a round volume knob: on the left is an LED display, and on the right is a pair of ECC 81 double triodes, which, by the way, were manually selected, tested and warmed up before installation.

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier test
Amplifier design suggests classic solidity combined with modern neutral lines

Under the window with the lamps, there is still a tone block (which can be turned off with the Direct button) with three low, medium and high frequency controls. To the left is the balance knob. From the rest of the controls, you should highlight the already familiar mono mode button and a separate 3.5 mm line input for quick connection of portable equipment.

However, noticeably widened dimensions will not confuse the MA 900 with the younger brother - with almost identical width and depth, the new amplifier turned out to be almost three centimeters higher, and now the neutral classic look has become emphatically more solid.

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Managing Director of Magnat Shandro Fischer sees devices in the hybrid line that allow, first of all, attentive and concentrated listening to music from a high-quality source, but also playing it in the background from a streaming service or a portable device. Therefore, in the MA 900, as well as in the younger model, special attention was paid to the wide connectivity options, which clearly demonstrates the abundance of connectors on the rear panel.

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier test
A variety of connectors indicates a wide range of options for working with analog and digital peripherals

You will find here two pairs of inputs of the built-in phono stage (by the way, quite a decent one) on Texas Instruments operational amplifiers: for MM and MC systems with a high output level and separately for ordinary MC pickups. Nearby are five pairs of analog RCA connectors to connect a variety of sources: from a CD player to a cassette deck. On the side is a special analog REC output for recording to a tape recorder. Speakers with an impedance of 4–8 ohms are connected via screw connectors in the center of the panel.

Enough attention is paid to digital sources that can be connected to the amplifier using two pairs of optical and coaxial connectors - then the signal goes to the DAC from Cirrus Logic (the "780th" model has a Wolfson WM8740). I would consider Qualcomm's built-in Bluetooth 5.0 chip with aptX HD support a bonus feature that, if necessary, will help to sound quality content from a tablet or smartphone, but it is hardly suitable for serious listening.

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier test
For convenient connection of portable sources, there is a separate input on the front panel, as well as Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD wireless connection

Personally, I could use the networking and streaming features that a number of amplifiers in this price category have, but the Magnat MA 900 does not have them.

In different environment

It is rightly considered that Magnat amplifiers are well combined with the acoustics of the brand of the same name. Therefore, we decided to take native speakers for the test - two pairs of models that are different in design and presentation. We recently listened to the neo- vintage Magnat Transpuls 1000 floorstanders with the MR 780 amplifier mentioned above, so they themselves beg for comparison.

At the other extreme, we have the exquisite and precise Magnat Signature 905 3.5-way floorstanding speakers, which feature a high-frequency section of two 30- and 20-mm tweeters, with the upper frequency bar declared at 55,000 Hz - of course, not in order to entertain bats, but for the sake of the notorious "high fidelity". Just as confidently, these acoustics reproduce basses starting from 23 Hz.

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier test
Magnat's Transpuls 1000 and Signature 905 speakers offer different pitches, but the amp brings out the full character of each pair.

And for greater objectivity, we decided to use the equipment "on the other side of the strait" - exquisite British two-way floor standing speakers Q Acoustics Concept 40. The source of the signal was the Danish player Lyngdorf CD-2, which repeatedly assisted us in test listening and proved itself positive. Today we used the player's own DAC, connecting the device via an analog input.

Helps, but does not dominate

Who in the early 80s was taught to rock music with foreign vinyl and Radio Engineering 35 AS-1 speakers, he subconsciously reaches out to large boxes with large paper "burdocks" and a phase inverter in front. So am I - we started the audition with Magnat Transpuls 1000.

This setup produces a very comfortable and natural analog sound, and the speakers in this case seem faster and more accurate than the older Transpuls 1500. For example, the French metallers Gojira have an angry distinct sound, and the amplifier forced the acoustics to conscientiously convey all the guitar riffs and the drum section.

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier test
Built-in phono stage on Texas Instruments operational amplifiers works with different types of cartridges

Alternate metal Limp Bizkit, although considered difficult for large inertial "paper", but the Magnat MA 900 has again shown that it can keep speakers under control. But the compositions "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC and "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" by Pink Floyd could have sounded more cheerful and harder.

Jazz compositions are served very advantageously. The speakers comfortably present the shrill brass section and at the same time play the lows deeply and voluminously - it seems that when the bow moves along the bass strings of the double bass, you can physically feel the vibrations of the lacquered surface of the instrument.

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Classical music lovers will enjoy the combination of Magnat Transpuls 1000 and Magnat MA 900 with the ability to present large-scale symphonic and operatic canvases, when the setup equally clearly conveys vocals, the quiet sound of a triangle somewhere on the edge of the orchestra pit and a large Turkish drum playing on the border with infrasound. Still, the size of the case and speakers matters.

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier test
A special place in the weighty design is occupied by a shielded toroidal transformer.

The organ fugues and piano works are presented with the same power and three-dimensionality. However, I still won’t overpraise this setup - even if the Magnat MA 900 squeezed the quality close to the maximum out of these speakers, it is felt that the amplifier, having a decent margin of sharpness and detail, is capable of more.

Modern reading

One had only to connect the Q Acoustics Concept 40 speakers, as the presentation changed and became noticeably more transparent - with an emphasis on high and mid frequencies. Vocalists, regardless of the genre, seemed to move closer to the audience, acoustic and electric guitars sounded sharper and more distinct, and the losses at low frequencies are now compensated by the drive - the same AC / DC play as if they are hammering in nails.

In general, the presentation has become, if you like, more modern. For example, with the previous speakers, the ABBA group sounded very soft and authentic, but now the recording has been changed to a digital remastering - the sound has become sharper and, as it were, compressed. Jazz and classical also added "numbers" and at the same time, there was less depth and volume.

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier test

Acoustics Magnat Signature 905 in this situation offers a golden mean. It is transparent and detailed at medium frequencies, not to mention high frequencies, and at the same time works out the bottoms very well.

While listening, I deliberately did not touch the tone block knobs, but with the “905s” I always wanted to turn down the tops and conjure over the balance of mids and lows. But I emphasize that this is for my taste, appreciating softness, and many people may like the emphasized detailed and rich sound.

Perhaps a vinyl player or a CD player with a different feed would have been in place here. Again, this is a subjective question. The main thing is that the amplifier itself does not introduce gag. I got the impression that Magnat MA 900 does not impose its will on the acoustics and the source, but gives them the opportunity to open up in accordance with the ideas and constructiveness embedded in them. This is exactly what distinguishes it from devices that stubbornly push through their character, regardless of the surrounding components.

Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier test
Two ECC81 double triodes pre-selected, tested and warmed up - why not put them on display

Let the manufacturer himself declare that the tube preamp unit was specially installed to create those very “warm harmonics”, but, fortunately, I did not manage to feel the ostentatious vintage and emphasized “tube” sound. The presentation turned out to be quite transparent, neutral and at the same time comfortable for hearing - perhaps this is what the developers had in mind.


Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier test

Magnat MA 900 turned out to be a truly versatile device - and not only because of the wide connectivity options, but mainly due to the ability to work harmoniously with different sources and acoustics. This is just the case when you don’t have to rack your brains in search of a suitable amplifier since it is able to reveal components that are different in spirit and design.


Universal, neutral, and non-dominant character. 

Sufficient power, 

good detail, 

comfortable sound without deliberate "tube".


Hybrid amplifiers can be bulkier and heavier compared to simple solid-state designs, which could be a concern if you have limited space or require portability.


The Magnat MA 900 hybrid amplifier comes in two colors: black and silver.


Magnat MA 900

Magnat MA 900 hybrid Specification

Rated power: 20-20,000 Hz, THD <1.0%, 4 ohms, 2 x 200W; 20-20,000 Hz, THD <1.0%, 8 ohms, 2 x 130W

Pulse power: 1,000 Hz, 4 ohms, 2 x 320 W

Frequency Response: CD / Streamer / Aux / Line / Tape / Tuner - 6-100,000Hz (-3dB), 20-20,000Hz (±0.2dB); phono stage - 20–20,000 Hz (±0.3 dB); subsonic filter - 16 Hz, 18 dB / oct.

Signal-to-noise ratio: CD / Streamer / Aux / Line / Tape / Tuner / Digital inputs - 105 dB (A); Phono MM - 85dB(A); Phono MC - 74 dB(A)

Digital inputs: 2 x optical Toslink; 2 x coaxial RCA; 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192 kHz; 16/24 bit

Wireless technologies: Bluetooth 5.0 / Qualcomm aptX HD, 2402-2480 MHz

Power consumption: 700W maximum, standby <0.5W

Preamp tubes: 2x ECC 81 / 12AT7

Dimensions (WxHxD): 433x162x316 mm

Weight: 11.7 kg

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