XM… that’s the designation of new Exposure components that bring the company up to date with current market trends. The XM series – currently just two-model strong – keeps the size down to a half-width box but caters to both digital and vinyl needs.
The XM5 integrated amplifier comes with both a phono stage and DAC, the former being a nod at the resurgent demand for vinyl these days.
“Back when vinyl records were the standard, all integrated amps and most preamplifiers had an on-board phono stage, since the majority of people were using a turntable,” says Tony Brady, Exposure’s chief designer.
“But with the arrival of CDs in the 1990s, phono stages were largely dropped from amplifier design,” he added. Of course, there was the matter of cost, too – if you didn’t need it, why have it? But now that vinyl is getting a second wind…
“Which means that vinyl-lovers now have to invest in, and make room for, a whole lot of kit.” So, back to the on-board phono stage.
The XM5 brings back “the good old days of vinyl”… it’s all the amplifier many will need in one box. And as for the compact dimensions… “Not every music lover or audio enthusiast wants, or has the space or budget for, a massive hi-fi system with multiple bulky components.”
“But at the same time, quality of sound is once again becoming important to an increasing number of people. Many music lovers want to enjoy better performance but they still want convenience and value for money.”
Thus, Exposure ensures it’s not only about the size and market needs. Most small and larger hi-fi components use switch-mode power supplies but Exposure eschews this route – the XM5 features a linear power supply with a large 200VA custom-made toroidal power transformer.
Only high quality resistors and capacitors are used in the signal path, while Toshiba bipolar output transistors are carefully chosen for their superior dynamic performance.
Now, if you’re fussier about vinyl, there’s also the XM3 phono stage that features separate MM and MC inputs as well as adjustable loading and gain switches. Also in a compact box, yes. Check the Exposure site for more details.