FOCUS AUDIO LISZT PRELUDE INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER
The amplifier is beautifully finished, with a case and chassis of silver-anodized aluminum. The front panel is spartan, with two knobs that seems undersized considering the mass of the amplifier, Focus Audio Liszt Prelude ULTRA HIGH FIDELITY Magazine 37 Feedback Listening Room flanking the green LED readout. The knobs carry no calibration marks, and need none. The knob on the left controls volume, not with the usual variable potentiometer, but by sending digital commands to an array of fixed resistors (they’re on the blue panel on the right of the amplifier, as seen from the rear). The knob on the right selects among the four inputs. The readout shows input selected (C1, C2, etc.) when it’s appropriate, and volume level the rest of the time. The vibration feet are from E.A.R. There is of course a remote control, but unexpectedly it does not bear the Focus Audio logo. It is in fact the same remote that you get with an Apple TV. The buttons around the central circle control input and volume. The play button mutes the sound, while the menu button turns the LED panel off. The functions have not been labelled, but there are so few buttons that it takes less than a minute to figure them out. There is a serious down side, however. If you own an Apple TV, and if it’s in the same system as the Liszt Prelude, expect the unexpected when you push a button. Three of the inputs are unbalanced, accessible through the usual coaxial jacks. The fourth is balanced, and is connected via XLR connectors. Although t h e Liszt Prelude is an integrated amplifier, you can bypass the built-in preamplifier and use it as a power amplifier. There are both balanced and unbalanced direct inputs.