AVM Ovation A 6.2 ME integrated amplifier Page 2

In an instantly recognizable way, the A 6.2 ME imparted a sense of polish, or "wetness," to the Falcon's almost-dry-but-not-dry sound. By wetness I don't mean more reverb in the room tone or recording studio sense but more like the humidity of heavy, warm summer air. With the AVM, the sound from the Falcons had a slight gloss that was not there with either the Rogue Sphinx V3 or Pass Labs INT-25 integrateds. It also wasn't there with the Rogue RP-7/Parasound A 21+ preamp/amp combination.


The main effect of this slight sonic glow was to direct my listening toward music I always want to listen to but often refrain from playing because the recordings can be tiring and difficult to stay focused on. The AVM A 6.2 ME presented these challenging recordings in a detailed, well-structured, nonfatiguing manner. As a result, my AVM month was filled with fantastic albums by Björk, Alice Coltrane, and mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson. I find these diverse artists to be similar in how their art reaches my psyche by exposing a kind of beauty grounded not in technique or ego, but in a universal human spirit. I cherish what these artists make me feel, but some components I've reviewed did not allow me to access those feelings. The Ovation A 6.2 ME did.


When I played Björk's compilation of live-performance tracks from her 2015 album tour, Vulnicura Live (16/44.1 FLAC, One Little Indian/Tidal), the AVM integrated gave me a wide-angle, member-of-the-audience view, providing information about the size and nature of the diverse venues Björk performed in. In my scribbled notes, I characterized the AVM's Vulnicura presentation as "ease with lush detail." It was smooth and engaging.

Rogue Sphinx V3 comparison
Alice Coltrane's Transfiguration (24/44.1 FLAC MQA Warner Music/Tidal) is another of my favorite albums. I love Alice for how she rejected bebop's orthodoxy and turned free jazz into something more personal, inward looking, and mysterious. What I admire most about Alice's art is how she plays each composition as if it has an important message to convey. When my hi-fi is singing just right, the urgency of her transcendental messages comes through. When it's not, I hear only exotic musicianship.


The AVM A 6.2 integrated (powering the Falcon LS3/5a) showed me the most inspired and enlightened Alice Coltrane I've ever heard.

The A 6.2 displayed Alice's unique expressiveness with a sparkling sonic radiance that disappeared almost completely when I swapped in Rogue Audio's much less expensive ($1595) Sphinx V3 integrated amplifier.

As always in audio, sequence is everything. Switching from the AVM to the Rogue integrated made it clear what five times more money can buy. Alice Coltrane's Transfiguration sounded dynamic, engaging, and pleasurably tactile with the humble Rogue. Alice's electric organ was exceptionally exciting with the Sphinx V3. Playing this album, and others by organ masters Jimmy Smith and Dr. Lonnie Smith, the Sphinx-Falcon combo reproduced Hammond, Wurlitzer, and Farfisa organs in a supertactile way that, maybe, no amp could better. But compared to the A 6.2 ME, the Sphinx V3 sounded shadowy, slightly soft, and physically and emotionally distant. The $7999 AVM lit up the music, making it brighter, more vivacious, more right there in front of me, more pacey, and—I think—more meaningful.


Pass Labs INT-25 comparison
Overtly precise, uber-clean audio sound has one problem: It doesn't strike my musical memory chords as real. It is so clean and distinctly outlined that my brain shouts, "Whoa! That's hi-fi!" The $7250 Pass Labs INT-25 is almost that clean. When it drives my LS3/5a's or Harbeth 30.2's, my brain will sometimes interrupt my music focus to admire the well-formed, pristine beauty of the reproduction I am experiencing. This happens most frequently with modern digital recordings like Mynstrelles with Straunge Sounds (16/44.1 FLAC Delphian/Tidal), with mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson and the Rose Consort of Viols, because recordings like this one have been mastered to deliver this type of pristine clarity.

Driving the Falcons, the AVM A 6.2 gave Clare Wilkinson's voice a lifelike physicality, a tangible, moist, throat-and-mouth presence. With the Pass Labs INT-25, her voice was beautiful but purer and drier. Less touchable. With the Pass, I perceived more space around each instrument. Players seemed more separated from each other and better outlined. This comparison was not subtle or complicated: The INT-25 delivered more bone and less flesh than the Ovation A 6.2.

With Magnepan .7s
Magnepan's .7 quasi-ribbon panel speakers need an amplifier that snoozes while pushing amperes into 4 ohm loads. Björk's Vulnicura Live is a good Magnepan-compatibility test because "getting it all sorted" is a trick only a few amplifiers have excelled at. At the end of each Vulnicura track, the audience cheers and applauds. This happens in a variety of venues. The more focused and distinct and separated each audience member sounds, the better the amp is at driving the .7's load. The AVM A 6.2 not only did focused and distinct, it let each concert venue speak in its own voice. I could sense differences in microphone placement and air volume in each auditorium. The A 6.2 ME had no difficulty sinking current into the Maggies.


I used the AVM with the Magnepan .7s for about five days, playing blues, avant-garde jazz, and diverse opera and choral programs. The sound was not as clean and pristine as with the pure class-A Pass Labs INT-25, nor was it as bold and romantic as Rogue Audio's class-D Sphinx V3 integrated. What the AVM integrated did well was deliver music in a well-shaped, delightfully detailed, slightly lush manner.

Headphone output
I read the complete Ovation A 6.2 ME owner's manual, but I only found two sentences about the headphone output. "Plug a 6.35mm headphone connector to the headphone jack. The loudspeaker and preamp outputs will mute automatically while a headphone is plugged in." There were no specifications in the manual nor on the AVM website. I pressed Udo for more info. "It is a completely separate amplifying stage mounted inside on the chassis front panel. It is a discrete bipolar balanced amp with matched transistors. It makes seven watts class-A and does not draw any power from the main amp." Even when I pressed him via email, Udo would not specify any other headphone amp power ratings (into 32 or 300 ohms for example) or say into what impedance those "seven watts" could be achieved.

The most expensive headphones I have in-house are the planar-magnetic T+A Solitaire P openbacks ($6400) I reviewed in Gramophone Dreams #45. They are finely crafted, taut-sounding, low-distortion transducers with an 80 ohm impedance and a moderate sensitivity of 92dB/mW. Like the AVM, they are made in Germany and so jumped out of the deck as an interesting first headphone to try.


I started by listening with an album that sometimes sounds a little vague and fuzzy through floorspeakers but really sharpens up (focus and structure-wise) with top-shelf headphones like the Solitaire P's: Bill Frisell with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones (24/44.1 FLAC MQA ECM/Tidal) is my everyday test album for assessing "focused and well-sorted." Happily, the resolving powers of the Solitaire P's and AVM headphone amplifier banished all vagueness.

The A 6.2 ME's headphone amp sounds like a completely different amp than the AVM amp that was driving my speakers. Compared to the A 6.2's lightly polished, slightly wet-sounding speaker amp, the headphone amp sounded dry and straitlaced.

My curiosity piqued, I tried HiFiMan's 60 ohm low-sensitivity (83dB/mW) Susvara open-back planar-magnetic headphones. I played the Bill Frisell, the Alice Coltrane, and a bunch of Charles Mingus. The AVM headphone amplifier struggled to deliver undistorted power into the Susvara's difficult load.

Next, I tried the lower impedance (35 ohms) but higher sensitivity (106dB/mW) Focal Stellia, currently my main closed-back reference and daily driver. The beautifully fashioned, superbly finished, $2990 Stellia seemed like a natural (and I thought logical) pairing with the equally stylish Ovation integrated.


I started laughing, tears streamed down my face, while listening to another of my most favorite albums, Jimmy Martin: The King of Bluegrass (16/44.1 FLAC Decca/Tidal). I couldn't stop repeat-playing "Milwaukee, Here I Come," the high-spirited Lee Fykes song popularized by George Jones and Tammy Wynette. With the dCS Bartók DAC sourcing the AVM headphone amp, all the lyrics' stretched words, bent words, and mountain music inflections came pouring out in living color. The AVM headphone amplifier proved it could boogie if it had the right load. The supersensitive Stellias seemed to wake up the A 6.2's headphone amp, which had struggled with the Susvara's more difficult load.

Call it bad memory or confirmation bias, but after a month of daily listening, I concluded that the AVM A 6.2 ME sounded a lot like those classic class-A amplifiers of yesteryore, which sounded like they had full control and weren't leaving any information behind. They sounded musically right and complete. The AVM A 6.2 ME integrated sounded that kind of right, with a little fairy dust sprinkled on top.

AVM Audio Video Manufaktur GmbH
US Distributor: Bluebird Music Ltd.
1100 Military Rd.
Kenmore, New York 14217
(416) 638-8207

tonykaz's picture

I don't need the Phono although Re-Sale residuals will kinda demand Phono MC/MM.


Power Switch on the Rear?, at this price?? Noooooooooo way. ( sure Schiit still gets away with giving everyone the finger on this issue and yet still sells 10X more Gear than they can build )

These AVM folks started-up around the time ( 1986 ) Vinyl died it's painful death so they are solidly digital, they even make a CD player, god bless em. My kind of people and Germany is my kind of Manufacturing Paradise that discourages the importing of Chinesium Land filler for the local retail outlet bargain shelves.

Well, AVM seems to at least compromise with a little shinny on-off button on the front that is actually stand-by or some other 'silencing' device.

Robust beauty seems hard and purposeful, I wonder if women can live with this type of simplicity: turn it on & adjust the Vol. ? ( even Car Radios are more complex nowadays )

Tony in Venice

MZKM's picture

Why does that matter? You put it into Standby using the front controls. So unless you really want to save like $5/yr on electricity, it’s fine.

tonykaz's picture

Hello Mr.MZKM,

Well, they have to put the Switch somewhere, don't they?

Why choose quirkiness ?

Why on the rear where you can't see it, where fearful people won't reach around the Wires & etc...?

Way back in the past decades we needed to preserve Tube life and we needed convenience so the Power Switch was on the Front and clearly labelled.

Nowadays, SS devices have a near infinite useful life ( we are told by authorities like Nelson Pass who puts all his power switches on the customary front panel )

Designers allege that noise is the justification for power switch location on the back panel, why not have no power switch. ( just get rid of the Power Switch )

Overall, I suppose that you are right, it doesn't matter all that much. Certainly the integrity of the AVM Company is far more important that an unimportant design feature.

You're Right!

Tony in Venice Florida

Charles E Flynn's picture

Years ago, a magazine titled "ID: Industrial Design" (later "ID: International Design") had a rare feature about especially egregious examples of design that were not just incompetent, but downright malignant. The title of the feature: "From the Devil's Workshop". The only example that I can recall today is the CD jewel box.

If the magazine were still in business, it might consider the case of a series of stacking components, each of them a good design, and good value for money, all from the same manufacturer, having rear panel power switches that are not in a single vertical line. The manual makes no reference to the possible installation of a mirror behind the components to aid in turning on the components.

tonykaz's picture

Quite some time ago ( mid 1980s ), I represented JVC ( Japanese Victor Company ) who designed their Audio Gear to have the switches do multiple functions. A person could turn the wrong switch and disable the device. Dealer Call-backs were a nightmare for Sales Staff because they too couldn't recall all the functions. JVC gear did work well and had plenty of gizmo appeal.

Today, Car Radios can be over-the-top as can navigating the unlimited functionality of iPhones.

We can't go back to simpler times, even the Amish in Florida are driving Cars and have given up farming 40 Acres using work Horses.

Tony in Venice Florida

ps. White House has discontinued Trump 2017 Chinese plywood tariffs , expect wood building product supplies to start dropping in price. ( fingers crossed ) phew!!

Anton's picture

I guess there were no clouds for you to yell at today?

For a guy who has such disdain for vinyl, you sure can't stop talking about it.

The vinyl segment of the hobby is living rent free in your head, Tony.

tonykaz's picture

It's just sooooo overpriced now. A nice AcousticSounds costs $100! A proper Vinyl front end is well over $20,000!

Vinyl was everything for 35 years of my early life, 3-1/2 Decades.

I don't have disdain, I'm disappointed in vinyl promotion, it was never all that good.

Someone has to call-out all the Gaslighting going on here!

Thanks for writing,

Tony in Venice

ps. the Audiophiliac just presented a 3 Part Series with a Recording Studio Owner, it is well worth watching

liguorid42's picture

" A nice AcousticSounds costs $100! A proper Vinyl front end is well over $20,000!"

Depends on your definitions of "nice" and "proper", I guess.

hb72's picture

Consumption of <0.5W in standby says the manual. So, why not?

tonykaz's picture


less than .5w Standby ! Sure!

I'm complaining about putting the Power Switch on the Rear, that's all! Seems the worst place to put an important function , it shows Bad Design from folks trying to say that they are Superb Designers.

Since Print Reviewers won't say anything about it, I will !

Tony in Venice

liguorid42's picture

...the main power switch is *not* an important function, because you simply put it in "standby" when you're not using it. But you're right about reviewers often missing egregious ergonomic designs. For example I'm using a well reviewed universal disc player with an otherwise useful disc resume feature, but in order to use it and be able to cancel the resume in order to play part of a CD then put it away you have to go through a well-timed sequence, available on the remote only. Much more significant than having to reach in back in order to save half a watt, in my opinion (I give off far more than half a watt of CO2 by virtue of being alive).

By your logic, you would want all the inputs and outputs in front too, to save the trouble of disconnecting and reconnecting things in the back. Connectivity is, after all, a pretty important function.

tonykaz's picture

Ergonometric Complaints are legitimatte especially coming from customers.

Some Outfits intentionally snub their Customers, so figure!

Tony in Venice

liguorid42's picture

I agree with your first statement. Regarding your second, they may disregard some customers' complaints about ergonomics, but I doubt it's just to piss them off. Complaints many users agree are legitimate are often addressed by good companies.

tonykaz's picture

I suppose that I agree with you.

Still, Audio Gear Outfits will present Black Gear that has printing that can't be read easily as well as a range of other things that make the item difficult to use and/or understand.

Tony in Venice Florida

ps. my most serious gripe is sourcing from impossible to locate 'unknown' little manufacturing contractors in Asia instead of using Local Loyal Employees who build quality for a fair price.

liguorid42's picture

One of my pet peeves too. Blue print on black boxes. Not so much on mid to high end audio components in my experience. Yes, the little Asian companies are the worst offenders. Along with little instruction sheets that lose nearly everything in translation--and with pictures that, however many words they were originally worth, look like fourth generation photocopies. Good luck with writing to any of them and asking them to mend their ways.

hb72's picture

..the option to delete duplicate posts of mine...

AaronGarrett's picture

Jimmy Martin in an audio review! Art Dudley would be very happy.

johnnythunder1's picture

I wish I could actually audition it. Luxmans are too large for my space. The Sugden doesn't have enough muscle for my speakers. Herb's review is very enticing. It checks every box that is important to me. And he likes it more than the Pass (also too large.) And German engineering? I'm going to start saving.

Long-time listener's picture

But can anyone explain the logic behind the weird curve on the bass tone control? It used to be that the bass mirrored the treble response curve; now we get this weird stuff, here and on Marantz's Model 30 too.

What the heck is going on? How does that give you good bass?

DougM's picture

There's one thing that Herb said in this review that made him my new hero, because I believe there are two types of audio equipment, which I find even more obvious among speakers than among other components. There's the kind that is all bright and shiny, and is trying too hard to call attention to itself and is screaming at you "listen to me, I'm SO hi-fi", and then there's the kind which is very smooth, relaxed, natural, and realistic sounding, which just disappears, as if to say "I'm not even here, listen to the music". In my experience, far too many audio lovers fall into the former category, and too few fall into the latter category. Too many are listening to the "the sound" instead of the music. And, I confess that I fall prey to this too many times myself, but, as of late, I find the more natural sound, while maybe less impressive on first listen, is ultimately the most satisfying. Perhaps the best gear is that which successfully straddles the fence between the two, and if it errs in any way, hopefully errs on the side of the natural over the bright and shiny hyper detailed kind of sound.

liguorid42's picture

Well, I think there are a lot of shades of grey in between the poles you describe. I happen to be a detail freak. I like to hear every note in a musical performance, and listen very intently. Too bright is one thing, but I don't consider revealing of detail to be "too hi fi". Of course if it creates its own detail ("etched") that's another thing.

One of my favorite tee shirts that's getting too ragged to wear says "There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary and those who don't".

liguorid42's picture

Either Herb is a very young looking 100 or he is once again demonstrating his penchant for hyperbole.