The new integrated amp from Pioneer certainly looks to tick all the right boxes. Its comprehensive range of features and incredibly competitive pricing could see the A-40AE become a future class classic.
The amp uses the highly efficient Pioneer Direct Energy output stages. This enables high performance (2 x 76W into 4 ohms) while remaining environmentally-friendly, thanks to its reduced power consumption. Since cool-running components last longer than hot ones, Direct Energy amplifiers also prove very stable and reliable in use, due to the lower and more uniform operating temperatures.
We are promised very low distortion, along with fine resolution and clarity. Those who are familiar with the lively, communicative sound of previous Pioneer amplifiers will experience a pleasing sense of déjà vu with this new model.
Ins and outs
In addition to the five line-level analogue inputs, there’s also a turntable input (phono – suitable for moving magnet cartridges). Also there is a line output. This can be used to feed an external headphone amplifier, for example. Although, the A-40AE is equipped with a fine-sounding headphone output of its own.
The two digital inputs (optical and coaxial) allows you to hook up streaming audio players or TVs with digital outputs. Since the internal digital-to-analogue converter can process sampling rates up to 192kHz, listening to High Resolution Audio via the digital inputs is fully-supported.
I am surprised to see that the A-40AE has connections for two independent pairs of speakers. These can be operated either individually or in parallel. Both pairs are connected via solid, insulated screw-type terminals, capable of taking 4mm banana plugs.
Finally, the Pioneer A-40AE is equipped with tone and balance controls. However, there have been carefully designed so they can be completely eliminated from the signal path for better sound quality. A ‘Power Amp Direct’ facility, which also bypasses the volume control, also allows owners to connect an external pre-amplifier.
All of that is wrapped up in a strong steel chassis. The front panel and volume control knob, meanwhile, are made of aluminum alloy.
Internally, the A-40AE features a generously over-specified power supply and selected ELNA capacitors, specially designed for Pioneer.
Price and availability
The Pioneer A-40AE (in black or silver finishes) will be available at a retail price of £399.99 from August 2018.