Symphonic Line RG 10 MK IV Reference HD Master in the Test

The integrated amplifier RG 10 MK IV of symphonic line claimed the honor long ago received his builders by name. The most recent evolution is the addition of “Master”.

Rolf is a phenomenon. Under all the attributes that are written to the grizzled in many honorary veteran of German high-end scene is most likely to hear “Old masters” and to read. Well, after 36 years in the industry and including 30 with his Symphonic Line company, he acquired the first part almost naturally. Close alone the fact that company and boss are still there, with considerable skill and stamina.

One can confidently understand the second part as honorary degrees. Not a fan and not a competitor is the “master” him. Perhaps because mean so little has in common with the slick Manager types in modern companies, perhaps, because he is an incorrigible idealist. Quite sure but, because he is responsible for superb sounding devices of many genera. And also this word is not a hollow phrase: actually, no speaker, no drive, no CD and no amplifiers leaves the company in Duisburg, before not the master – Yes, the master – has given his approval.

Level by level

For some of his creations evolution step evolution step must climb. It is said be ages ago as RG (RG as – Yes, the master) 10 launched large integrated amplifier now RG 10 MK IV reference HD Master. Count yourself the levels expressed in the name additions. The author tested – carried away – in AUDIO 1/2008 one of them, Bernhard Rietschel 6/2011 and Johannes Maier 1/2013 rose further. If AUDIO now continues to write the history of testing, then with good reason.

Sure, this includes continuity. The RG 10 is still a not especially large, pretty heavy for it integrated amplifier, whose strong cm front still dispenses with trappings of almost any kind. Readable by engraving labeled the black, barely recognizable in the 700 euros more expensive chrome version. On switch, input selection, tape monitor (what a wonderfully old-fashioned, pardon employed circuit in the digital age), volume: four non-slip solid metal buttons – that’s about it.

Almost. Not to forget: a little hole for connection a 6,3 mm headphone jack plug, because common emphasis also on the quality care in the intimate area of the hearing. So much first of all: Who 10 master – this acronym is the following facilities – the RG has, needs to consider the purchase of a headphone amplifier for dynamic models no longer.

Top right is still a hole behind the receiver for commands via infrared. Because also the somewhat rustic kunststoffliche universal remote control, which regulates only the volume on the amplifier has remained despite the basic price increased to 2100 euro. The inclined owner to the front to the source selection. The selection was: three high level plus recording device (for even the analog monitor circuit) and phono.

Step by step

And this input has it faustisch behind him. Two RCA pairs for moving magnet and moving coil cartridges are available. And although common resistors MC or switchable amplification factors waives fashionable jewelry such as customizable capabilities on MM, this richly structured pre-preamplifier opens what holds together the vinyl world to the core. As when any author known transistor amplifier with standard Phon East age this can redeem the promise of happiness Grand analog recordings. And thereby transfer the characteristics of drives supplying to, tonearm and pickup in the best sense.

How incredibly oversized power supply helps him know then only the gods of the modulated voltage. Because what drives Rolf common here now in the form of a separate case, could supply loose a power amplifier with its lifeblood. In this case, but only the preamp section of the RG 10 on the meticulously prepared energy sucks. Deliver an impressive transformer, the secondary 300 amperes (= watt) provides and is encapsulated in order to magnetic shielding in a MU-metal cylinder. A battery of memory and capacitors adds to the more than proud sum of 280000 micro Farad, what would make even moderate power amplifiers to outline bass reserves. Here, the very cleanest power are served “only” a sensibelst precursor tuned in many places. According to the philosophy: The RG 10 master is an amplifier for before end Combi gourmets. In addition, the “smaller” SL integrated amplifier such as RG 14, RG 9 and of course the RG 10 can be converted reference HD 2100 euros on “master” quality.

Small beautiful sound error: the call waiting from the top to the metal housing of the extra power supply this is a sustained Bell tone. With two simple thick foam rubber on the roof of the author provided for peace – by no means however despicable, unwanted resonances of the energy packs should affect the hearing result for an amplifier with listening effort “resonance pattern matched”.

The power amplifier itself uses a 450-Watt-MU metal transformer, the again a 104000? F reservoir to the available stands. As always with extremely stable SL see measurement diagram – four powerful transistors who toil in the push-pull generate output – per channel. Two are responsible for the positive and the negative half-wave. It’s circuitry as little revolutionary like the step for step further development, when the master now with a new, nierderohmigeren driver stage. But who even hears, such common from his ear-moderate range of Schottky rectifier diode in the power supply with regard to their speed gives a lecture, who believes how much effort is in the selection and optimisation also supposedly less important components.

It is also the new overall vote on optimum “power distribution in space and time” that the followers of Eastern life tuning models such as Feng Shui this applies also esoteric-looking measures such as precise placement of the legendary C37 paint, does not disturb the author. He appreciates the old master as a music lover with heart, soul and excellent hearing, who builds his equipment exactly for this target group.

Tone to sound

She should have some patience after receiving a SL gem. Also a RG 10 master needs 48 hours time, in which he must Gekas on before then serious indeed.

For example, with the “four last songs”, the elderly Richard Strauss composed shortly before his death for soprano and Orchestra. The unique Elisabeth Schwarzkopf has presented a reference recording in stereo in their late 1965 with the RSO Berlin under George Szell the also part of CD box set “the complete recitals” is. The “integrated amplifier” was thus repeatedly challenged.

As an analyst on the one hand: There is a sound difference between the remastering 2011 made Steven Gibson studios for the Edition in the Abbey Road and the same engineer in 1997 for the “100 years of great music” series made? And between the LP editions of Warner based on the current version, reson reissue of SAX 5258 and the German Electrola Edition commissioned by who?

But more importantly: Also as “Musician” or music-makers need the device to convince. What is mischief while per se, but a bridge builds to qualify properly reproduce not just a series of notes, but to provide a musical experience. Of course an electronic device can play not “musically”, therefore, the author sets this adjective in this context like to in quotes. The amp is only part of a playback chain. But as reproduzierendes he can make the listener impassively or – caution: risk of pathos! -It Pack, carried away, touch his soul.

The RG 10 master is capable of both: exemplary to analyze sound to sound and at the same time the musical event close to bring, if you so wish: to go under the skin. And he can do it as no other author known transistor amplifier. That was the big school, how he built the muted strings (con sordino) to nocturnal atmosphere “at bedtime”, as he turned into the rich soprano voice there and caricatured rest energetic flashing Oboes. And Yes, at the 1997 re mastering the depth, the subtle differentiation between the human voice and woodwind still not as good as in the current managed. And Yes, schluderte the Electrola vinyl edition since reson version greenways exemplary peace a little more than, minimal gave less depth during the new LP, with excellent tone distribution.

All of this can be found in the notes of the author. But not only in this sound sample in a welch “a music!” resulted. “Going to bed” was quite certainly not suitable.

Disc to disc

Previously emigrated there much especially on the platter. Because with his superb phono preamp, the RG 10 master made the reviewer duty to the look freestyle. And thus the normally used “pure” tube chain of the author was hardly. According to which the author formally thirsts, this Duisburg daredevil nearly this abruptly jumping, paint stallions dynamic, softly glowing, gripping plastic a good (and much more expensive) tube-before end suits – which conjured up as its transistors.

That even the night made the day, at least what was the unleashed levels. Far beyond good neighbourly relations he had in between to your hearts content then sometimes it RIP.

How little has to do volume with noise, as little bass violence with a devouring bass swamp, made it clear the SL it forcefully. The bass drum of a John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) or cozy Powell (Jeff Beck Group), the flashy Funk bass by Manne Praeker (SPLIFF) or the swinging singing acoustic bass of Paul Chambers (Miles Davis) – that everything was looking for peer to peer, what balancing and contour. And yet always remained: music.

Music by masters from the master with the master: the crowning glory. The classical CD of the month in AUDIO 12/2015, an incredibly beautiful and outstanding musical (here without quotes) recording of the concertos for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach, Harmonia Mundi as HiRes-download offers. On the outside, without any digital interface, he does not seem built, master Yes for this new world common master. But inside already. He transformed what was there delivered him by hires-compatible d / a converters to the aux socket, so “musical” as no comparable amp into a sounding experience. Quotes or no: more praise is not.


The integrated amplifier symphonic line RG 10 MK IV reference HD master may wear a long name. Its quality but can be summarized briefly: he makes music. And as good as no comparable transistor amplifier. Thus he bears his name right – it is a masterpiece. And at the AUDIO reader’s choice you can get specially engraved it.