It seems that people buying integrated amplifiers in 2015 no longer expect or indeed want the stripped-down minimalism that first came into vogue in the eighties. Nowadays, the breed needs to have digital functionality available to its customers, should they desire it. Exposure is the latest company to recognise this, in its update of its excellent 3010S2.
Will the fourth incarnation of Exposure’s top integrated amp sacrifice sound atthe altar of added convenience? The challenge for its designer is to manage any extra functionality without letting it interfere with all that was good about its predecessor.
..... the optional new plug-in DAC board. This costs £375 and offers PCM at up to 24/192 resolution, plus DSD64, and comes with USB and BNC inputs between which it auto-switches. All this is possible thanks to the Wolfson WM8742 DAC chip, which is at its Heart. Vinyl fans aren’t forgotten either; there’s also an optional £240 onboard phono stage, in moving magnet or moving coil flavours.
..... the digital board sounds good with CD-quality digital audio, but really raises its game on a well recorded high-resolution digital music file. Everything about the song is natural and believable; of course a high-end, and highly expensive off-board DAC gives more detail, dynamics and drive, but the Exposure’s plug-in module works way better than it has any right to given the cost – and so should be considered a valuable optional extra.
..... it crystallises everything that’s good about the Exposure sound down into one simple, versatile package. From a single, modestly sized box you get a fast, powerful sound that’s highly involving to listen to, yet it is tonally smooth and neutral enough to let you listen for long periods on end.