Vincent SV-737 integrated amplifier Page 2

Well, not so fast: First, some fine-tuning of the setup was necessary. Out of the box, the Vincent wowed with crisp transients, detailed treble, neutral upper mids, rich, lush lower midrange, and powerful bass.

At first, in fact, the bass was too much of a good thing; with the Vincent in the system, room modes in my smallish room were excited more than usual. I sorted that, mostly, with a bit of repositioning and some well-placed absorption. Three A/V RoomService 2"-square Equipment Vibration Protectors (EVPs) under amp and speakers helped further focus the low end; four more under the Thorens seemed to lower the noise floor, benefitting clarity. With the EVPs in line, everything sounded clearer.

I enjoyed the Vincent's fine transparency, which laid bare the contrasting personalities of the two analog front-ends: the Thorens/Jelco/Denon system's speed and rhythmic, forward-moving elan; the more expansive, weightier sound of my Kuzma/Koetsu rig. With the Klipsch speakers, the amp's precise treble was occasionally a mite forward, too direct and piercing. This I tamed by repositioned the Klipsches, which had been toed in, to instead fire straight ahead.

With the setup finally optimized, the Vincent/Klipsch pairing produced scale, power, energy, and excitement. I wondered, though, how the Vincent would fare with a warmer speaker, like my 1978 Spendor BC-1. The Spendor proved an easier match. The Vincent's clear-headed ways freed up the warm tone of the BC-1's 8" Bextrene-cone woofer and didn't arouse that speaker's sometimes-grainy treble. The Vincent's articulate, open sound found an ideal partner in the BC-1's rich, luxuriant midrange.


The bass, though, was the standout here. Never overwhelming, but focused and refined, it seemed to enjoy framing and projecting bass from electronic music, acoustic instrumental jazz, even vocal jazz LPs. The Vincent, while largely transparent from the mids up, added a pleasing extra dollop of energy, warmth, and color down low.

Spinning vinyl
Pat Metheny's 2011 solo acoustic guitar disc, What's It All About (LP, Nonesuch 528173-1), is a lush production of solo guitar recorded in a large ambient space; not churchlike, but intimate and warm with long sustain. Metheny's cover of "And I Love Her" is a must-hear for Beatles' fans. The Vincent played this disc as well as I've heard it, with clear, sustained notes, excellent texture, a deep low end, and, most importantly, the right atmosphere, which when well-presented bathes the listener in thoughtfulness and beauty.

The Vincent isn't obsessed with casting hypercarved images in space, but it did a good job placing the singer in front of the band. I played Frank Sinatra's 1954 romp, Swing Easy! And Songs For Young Lovers (LP, Capitol W-587). The Vincent reproduced this mono record with a fairly deep soundstage and excellent midrange clarity, Frank's voice front and center, horns and rhythm section right behind, strings floating at the back of the stage. The Vincent amp's innate warmth brought out the best from this classic disc, including Sinatra's rich vocals and the thump of the band's drums-and-acoustic-bass–driven rhythm section. It also made the most of the large ensemble's wide dynamic swings, from soft and demure to full-on, hard-blowing, and boisterous. The Vincent produced that pleasing sense of snap that is the rhythmic essence of mid-to-late 1950s swing music.

Sticking with the Spendors, I put on a different style of disc, percussionist Warren Smith and soprano saxophonist Hidefumi Toki's 45rpm Duologue/Heritage (RCA RVL-8501), a joyous duo outing of splashy, deep-throated, energetic drums and spiraling soprano sax. The Vincent's chunky low end helped drive the record's tom-and–bass drum solos, while its transparent top presented the soprano sax as almost chewy in texture. Open on top, pumping from the mids and lower-end frequencies, the Vincent seemed to revel in reproducing the energy and exhilarating improvisations of this avant-garde party disc.


Spinning digital
My Tascam 200iL CD player and the Vincent SC-737 use the same DAC chip—a 24-bit/192kHz Burr-Brown 1791ADBR—but the two sources sound very different. The Tascam depicts music as big, warm, and a little soggy, like a wet golden retriever plopped down in your lap. The same CD through the 737's own DAC produced gobs of air, refined, corporeal images, and a deeper soundstage.

Continuing with the SV-737's DAC, I played Jimmy Rogers's "Blue Bird" from Stereophile's Test CD 3 (CD, Stereophile STPH 006-2): a thick bed of electric bass, electric guitar, and honkytonk piano on the right, shouting harmonica on left, and Rogers's joyous voice wailing above. Through the energetic Spendors, the Vincent pushed power and dynamics to burn. On the seventh track from Test CD 3, blues firebreather Doug MacLeod's "Rollin' & Tumblin'," MacLeod's insistent, punchy bottleneck guitar was dead center, his vocal slightly above with brisk, brushed drums and what sounded like a washtub bass immediately behind him scrunched together in a tight but natural-sounding stage. It was almost mono, but that's how it's recorded. The Vincent showed me everything on this disc.

Thirty-one-year-old Atlanta soul singer Leon Bridges is a smart songwriter with deep soul bearings and a nuanced style. On his 2018 album Good Thing (16/44.1 Tidal Stream/Columbia) (via a Wyred4Sound µLink to the 737's onboard DAC) (Tidal 16/44.1 FLAC), all the 737 traits were evident: tight low end, clear mids, crisp highs. This hip-hop–influenced production was layered and spacious but also somewhat synthetic and constricted.

When I exchanged the 737's internal DAC for the Denafrips Ares II DAC, "Bad Bad News" became fuller-bodied and more dynamic, the various instrumental and vocal lines more distinct. Now the music seemed to fill the room with an expanded soundstage, side to side and front to rear. That synthetic quality was still there—very likely that's on the recording—and now the vocals took on some sibilance that was absent with the Vincent's onboard DAC. Detail, depth, and directness were gained, but the silkiness I heard with the 737's own DAC was lost. Pluses and minuses. Considered on its own, sans comparisons, the 737's DAC sounded great.


Returning to vinyl, the Vincent now driving the Golden Ear BRX bookshelf loudspeakers, the music—Elvin Jones's The Ultimate (LP, Blue Note BST 84305)—was fleshy, well layered, and punchy. The BRX was Sandy Gross's last GoldenEar design; it was the most natural-sounding of the speakers I used for this review—although its ribbon tweeter could sound a little hot. The Vincent sounded good with Forte, better with Spendor, and fantastic with GoldenEar. Via the Vincent/BRX combo, Grant Green's Green Is Beautiful (LP, Blue Note BST 84342) was upfront and gutsy, and Donald Byrd's Slow Drag (LP, Blue Note BST 84292) was fast but warm with a deep, wide stage.

A Comparison
I decided a quick comparison was in order. The closest contender to the Vincent in my corral was the Parasound Halo Hint 6 integrated amplifier, which is specified at 160Wpc into 8 ohms and 270Wpc into 4 ohms and priced at $2995 including a phono stage and more inputs and outputs. On Grant Green's funk'n'blues–streaked guitar, the Parasound presented a slightly larger, slightly more diffuse soundstage than the Vincent's. Treble had similar sparkle but was less forward-sounding. The Vincent had more warmth, weight, and power than the Parasound, but the Parasound was perhaps a little sweeter.

Summing up
After some careful setup, the Vincent Audio SV-737 was great fun with all the music I played. It's a powerful beast of an integrated that can probably drive just about any loudspeaker. Its best traits were its see-through, near-rich midrange and generous, tight low end that added a little warmth to most music—plus, it comes with a more-than-solid, detailed, musical DAC. The SV-737 pushed my happy buttons whether I was listening to black discs or digital sources.

Vincent Audio
US distributor: Pangea Audio Distributing
5500 Executive Pkwy SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
(866) 984-0677

georgehifi's picture

"It is possible that one of the small-signal tubes in the review sample was not performing to specification"

This happens all too much for my liking with reviews. You would think a manufacturer would make sure that the sample given for review, was even better than stock, before giving it for the review??

Cheers George

mememe's picture

After reading many reviews of tubed gear I've come to the conclusion that review samples are likely, but not guaranteed, to suffer from some form of
tube related problem. But hey, after paying for the product you should swap out the OEM tubes and get the sound the reviewer preferred.

tonykaz's picture

It's pricy enough to be designed & made in California with a 5 year warrantee, isn't it?

The rear panel is supposed to clearly show Country of Origin , we all know why it's not. Why are we allowing ?

Tony in Venice Florida

John Atkinson's picture
tonykaz wrote:
The rear panel is supposed to clearly show Country of Origin . . .

I take a photograph of a product's serial number when I receive it for testing. This was the Vincent's serial number label:

It doesn't include the country of manufacture but Ken Micallef does say in the review text that the SV-737 is manufactured in China.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

tonykaz's picture

The last time we discussed this, you mentioned that You included the Country of manufacture in the Spec. list along with the Serial Number. Perhaps you changed the Editorial Policy. Still no specification inclusion this time. hmm.

The funny part is that no Photo of this product includes the Country of Origin, nowhere on a Google Search, nowhere on anyone's mentions.

Yes, the High Integrity Mr.KM does dutifully say China but he's not anyone, he's Somebody !

Thanks for writing, nice hearing from y'all.

Tony in Venice Florida

ps. hiding China seems Shame Based

Jack L's picture


Agreed. 'Cunning' business !!

An audio manufacturer already established 26 years in Germany apparently does not want to be criticized for productionn cost saving by OEM offshore in China or other so called 'undeveloped' countries at the expense of production quality compromise.

IMO, what can be a smarter business tactic: Killing 3 birds with one stone. Saving big production cost to mark down the selling price to sell more products & making good profit.

Simply NOT stating the country of production origin on the amp case, in the operation manual & on the packing carton box in order to steal the gooodwill of the consumers in the German brandname !!!!

Thnaks goodness. Stereophile reviewers are always so honest to their readers & tell nothing but true.

Jack L

PS: likewise, I always without exception acquire my cars built in its country of origin.

tonykaz's picture

China has been a Quality leader for most of the last 5 Centuries.
Why hide it ?

The product in the photos is probably for European distribution because it doesn't comply with USA labelling Laws. ( no one mentions that ).

Additionally, no-one mentions who actually manufacturers these devices.
There are Chinese outfits specialising in manufacturing all this Audio gear. Why not mention those outfits Company's Names?

There is the problem of Service: Is a Circuit Diagram provided for someone to service the darn things ? ( no- never ) Not accommodating service needs makes these pricy devices "throw-away" when it fails or has any sort of issue the Importer can't cope with. ( I've Imported Audio Gear )

I expect a High-Integrity Journalistic Standard when it comes to reviewing gear from a mostly hidden group of gear manufacturers. All that has to be done is to ask the Designers and importers who is manufacturing the piece. ( the embarrassing thing might be that they don't actually know ).

The 1,000 lb Gorilla is that "Made in California" will outsell "Made in China" by a considerable amount.

Tony in Venice Florida

ps. White House is asking Federal Trade Commission to rule in favour of "Right to Repair" which will open up Serviceability for all this unserviceable Chinese stuff.

ps. 2 ) Apple still does not provide Schematic Diagrams for any of it's products ( it did at one time ). & Apple is about to achieve a Dominant Position in most of High End Audio with it's highrez iTunes changes.

Long-time listener's picture

And well-implemented too, unlike the very strange tone control response curve seen in the recent Marantz Model 30.

Lars Bo's picture

Thanks, Ken - always great to read your reviews.

Maybe I misunderstand the quote, but the 85a2/OG3 tube is not new at all to audio. Several brands have used/uses this in voltage regulation, and for decades e..g. Croft have used this quite inexpensive tube.

Thanks again