The AVM Ovation 6.2 Master Edition integrated amplifier just kind of snuck in here, made its impression, and left in just a few weeks. My time with it was so short, so fleeting.
I didn’t know a lot about AVM before the Ovation arrived. This German company has been making quality hi-fi since 1986, and they currently have an extensive line that includes turntables, amplifiers, digital products and all-in-one boxes. Except for cables, loudspeaker and cartridges—AVM recommends Ortofon Cadenzas for their ‘tables on their website—you can easily assemble an all-AVM system.
Let me tell you something that reviewers, as well as fickle audiophiles, will immediately understand—if you’re constantly making changes to your audio system, there are time when you’ll get lost. It’s like turning around a corner on a city block and realizing you wandered into a bad neighborhood full of room nodes and channel imbalances and the mysterious disappearance of all sorts of frequency responses. What happened? Where did I go wrong?
The AVM Ovation arrived at my home, in its uber-cool flight case covered in shipping labels, during one of those times. Too many swaps, too many things coming in and out, and before I knew it I had a system that wasn’t quite doing it for me. The Ovation 6.2 seemed to fix everything instantly. I don’t know why—I still don’t know what the issue was, but I turned the AVM on and I never looked back, at least until the US distributor needed it back and this romance was cut short.
It wasn’t that brief of a period, now that I think about it, but it was a period filled with extraordinarily satisfying listening sessions. That’s why the time passed so quickly. Was this a direct result of the quality and performance of the AVM Ovation 6.2? Now that it’s gone, I think it may be so.
Inside the AVM Ovation
The AVM Ovation 6.2 Master Edition integrated amplifier is, according to the website, a “refined, puristic version of the classic OVATION A 6.2 Integrated Class A/AB high-current MOS-FET flagship amplifier.” It offers 180 wpc at 8 ohms, 300 at 4, so it qualifies as yet another powerful, featured-filled integrated amplifier that’s become more and more appealing to me.
On the surface, it’s very similar to the outstanding Jeff Rowland Design Group Continuum S2 and the Rotel MICHI X5 I’ve had in over the last few months. Lots of tech, lots of power, and yet the sound quality was just as compelling as those purist amps I favored when I was younger. (The LFD NCSE Mk. 3 I had in here suggests I still favor the pure and the simple, but I’m coming around.)
There are two things about the AVM Ovation that caught my attention right off the bat. First, you’ll notice the mention of its Class A/AB circuit design. I’ve championed these types of amplifiers before, and my reference Pureaudio Duo2 stereo power amplifier is a testament to that fondness.
Second, the AVM Ovation has a headphone jack. It’s attached to a headphone amplifier inside the unit. That’s notable since said amplifier is pure Class A. Many of these full-featured integrateds and preamplifiers have a nice little headphone amps that usually sound better than competent. The existence of this Class A headphone amplifier shows that AVM cares about such things. Therefore, I spent plenty of time listening through several headphones from AudioQuest, Furutech and more.
Here’s a quick list of the features new to the Ovation 6.2 Master Edition:
- Class A/B integrated amplifier with over 180/300 W/channel (into 8/4 ohms)
- MOS-FET high current amplifier: 12 MOS-FET transistors per channel deliver max. 180 Ampere
- 4 separate power supplies: main power supply, processor unit power supply, silent power supply for input circuit left & right
- Analog fully balanced input stages, completely DC coupled
- Fully balanced volume control with 256 control stages
- Double mono construction eliminates mutual interference between both channels
- Input stages are supplied via separate power supply unit
- High level inputs: 2 XLR + 5 RCA
- Home Theatre Pass Through selectable on high level inputs
- 2 preamplifier outputs (XLR and RCA), fixed level output (RCA)
- Class-A headphone amplifier with 6.3 mm jack plug
- Connection for external IR receiver
- Mains phase indicator
- Sound control with bypass function
- Parametric, scalable loudness control
- Large, blue illuminated graphic display
- Extensive menu functions (adjustable input sensitivity, individual input designation and much more)
- Packaging: Sturdy OVATION flight case
- Full metal RC 3 remote control included
About that Master Edition (ME) designation—it sounds like this new 6.2 is a simplification of the classic Ovation 6.2. The ME, strangely enough, is offered at a lower price, $8,295 USD. AVM explains it like this:
“With the re-release of the OVATION A 6.2 in a new Master Edition, we at AVM have fulfilled a wish of our own with this special model, offering you the A 6.2 ME in a refined edition at a friendship price. This reduced price compared to the original A 6.2 model was made possible by creating an integrated amplifier version of the A 6.2 as a Master Edition, which borrows heavily from the larger A 6.3 and A 8.3 models in the form of identical parts. We pass on the achieved price advantage and offer you a sonic heavyweight with 22kg in the finest aluminum dress at a sensational price – even including the RC 3 all-aluminum remote control. Like all OVATION Line models, the A 6.2 ME also arrives in the standard AVM flight case.”
This section might seem brief, mostly because I installed the AVM Ovation 6.2 ME into my system, took a quick couple of glances at the manual, and suddenly I was listening to beautiful music. Everything is easy to set up, connect, and it doesn’t take long to master the remote and all of the features accessible through the graphic display on the front panel.
I came across only one real criticism of the AVM Ovation during this time—there’s no mute button on the remote. I found a work-around by simply switching to another input and then switching back. No big deal.
The AVM Ovation 6.2 was matched to an interesting assortment of loudspeakers during its visit: Sonus faber Maxima Amators, my reference Brigadier Audio BA-2 and Trenner & Friedl ART monitors (for testing out the massive Acora Acoustics SRS stands with other types of two-way monitors) and the Marten Oscar Duos.
The rest of the system was dominated by the Technics SL-1210GAE and SL-1200G turntables, fitted with either the Allnic Audio Amber or ZYX Ultimate Airy X moving coil cartridges and run through the Allnic Audio H5500 or Pass Labs XP-27 phono pres. Digital was supplied through a Merason Frerot DAC, Innuos Zen Mini Mk. 3 with LPSU and my trusty Unison Research CDE CD player. Cabling was primarily Furutech this time around.
My first impression of the sound of the AVM Ovation 6.2 ME was that it was instantly supplying me with information that had gone missing with that so-called “lost” feeling I had with my reference system. I felt that I was hearing more of the good—lots of detail, a smooth yet detailed presentation, a tight and controlled low bass. Suddenly my loudspeakers were coupling to the room in all the right ways.
The AVM Ovation 6.2 ME was the amplifier in place for the comparison between the Technics SL-1200G and the Technics SL-1210GAE turntables. At first I was trying to ascertain if the two units sounded different from one another. (You’ll have to wait for the 1210 review to hear the answer.) Once that was established, I used the two turntables to compare a series of phono preamplifiers, cartridges, power cords, head shells, platter mats and whatever else I had sitting around, waiting to be evaluated. The AVM Ovation was ideal because I felt it was very close to neutral, while at the same time giving me plenty of detail so that I could use tiny little moments of music as comparison markers throughout all the A/B process.
It was difficult to fault the AVM Ovation 6.2 on any level. The bass was smooth and deep and refined, and the highs were extended and delicate. While my system has become a virtual monastery with all of the noise suppression and grounding devices I employ from Furutech, AudioQuest and Atlas Cables, the AVM still managed to drop that noise floor just a little more. I’ve become quite enamored with the pure silence my system can now reproduce, and the AVM held up its hand and said, “What is this, my first day? Stand back.”
I’ll start off with the new Deutsche Gramophon LP release of Hilary Hahn’s Paris because it became central to my Technics comparisons with the AVM Ovation 6.2 ME. If you read my review, you’ll know I fell in love with this album because it sounds great, the performance is stunning and memorable, and it includes my favorite violin concerto of all time, Prokofiev’s No. 1.
The AVM Ovation 6.2 was neutral enough to stand out of the way when I wanted to compare the Allnic Audio H5500 tube phono preamp with solid state ones such as the Pass Labs XP-27 and the Pureaudio Vinyl. The Allnic brings so much of that tube magic I’ve missed over the last couple of years, and the AVM knew where to aim the spotlight—realistic yet lush midrange, overall warmth, tiny details that underline the feeling of human interaction in a musical performance. With the other two phono pres, the AVM Ovation conspired to reveal a depth of detail that’s rare—especially in an integrated that sells at such a reasonable price.
In other words, Hilary Hahn was there, about twenty of thirty feet away from me, totally in the moment while delivering a performance that will be talked about for decades.
The line stage of the AVM Ovation was almost equally compelling—I say almost because I still don’t hold digital in the same high regard as analog even though the gap continues to narrow. Every Vinyl Anachronist column I’ve delivered over the last few weeks was written with the AVM in command, CDs, LPs and digital downloads. I’ve been streaming Qobuz through the Merason Frerot DAC and the Innuos Mini Zen Mk. 3 with LPSU, and the AVM was truthful when the source was so-so, and when it was sublime. The AVM was clearly an expert at delivering the goods without fingerprints.
Finally, that headphone amp is good. So good, in fact, that if I owned the AVM Ovation 6.2 ME I probably wouldn’t need an outboard headphone amp. The headphone amp, as I mentioned, is Class A, and that’s what you get—a sound that dives deep into an ocean of musical information and brings it all to the surface, with that Class A sound providing enough smoothness to reduce the listening fatigue that never, quite frankly, arrived.
AVM Ovation 6.2 ME Conclusion
Remember when I said that these high-powered and feature-filled integrated amplifiers were becoming more and more appealing to me? The AVM Ovation 6.2 Master Edition helped me to understand at least one of the reasons why.
I’ve always made plenty of criticisms about packing too much into one box, about the sonic compromises of shared power supplies and a chassis that doesn’t go far enough in reducing noise from one section to another. This is yet another example of an integrated amplifier that does a lot and does it all well. There are no sonic compromises, at least in the context of this price point.
When the AVM Ovation 6.2 ME was in my system, it solved all the issues in my system because it handled so much of the burden of an ever-expanding system that gets more complicated every week. During its stay, I had no issues. Everything worked as it was supposed to, and it all sounded beautiful.
That’s why I’m giving the AVM Ovation my Reviewer’s Choice award. I want to know and hear more from them.