ICT

The Vista Spark amp sounds better than it looks – CNET

The Vista Spark is exactly what the audiophile world needs: a small, no-frills, no-nonsense, high quality and affordable integrated amplifier. Spark is super basic in functionality, you get two stereo analog inputs, but no digital inputs or even a remote control. Spark’s prime directive is all about maximizing sound quality, and it does that very well.

The Vista Spark amplifier.

Vista

Build quality is decent enough for a $349, £251 or AU$437 component, but you’ll get no bragging rights when your audiophile pals drop by and spot the Spark parked in your audio system. Ah, but when they listen their ears will perk up as the Spark proves once again you should never judge a component with your eyes. The most amazing thing about the Spark’s design is that it uses Class AB, not Class D circuitry, and most of my favorite amps are Class AB designs. Catch is, AB amps usually sell for a lot more than the Spark, it’s something of a bargain.

I just happened to have my Magnepan .7 speakers set up when I unboxed the Spark, and frankly I didn’t expect the amp to sound all that great with the .7s. They’re rather power hungry beasts, and the Spark squeezes out just 20 watts per channel for 4-ohm and 8-ohm speakers, but the sound was “relaxed,” there was no hardness or edge, and that’s a good thing. Spark’s chassis runs cool to the touch, even when I cranked the volume over the .7s. Before I forget to mention it, the Spark is made in Serbia, and it comes with a two-year warranty.

Getting down to business I mostly used a set of Emotiva Airmotiv B1 speakers for my listening sessions. That pairing made more sense than the .7s, the B1’s sound was agreeably transparent, with clear nicely defined bass, and dynamics were lively.