Although the price may seem high, in terms of performance the Roksan Blak amp is an absolute bargain.
The Roksan Blak Amp sits at the top of the Roksan range as their most powerful, best sounding and prominent looking amplifier. It’s not just the incredible sound this amp produces that makes it such good value, it’s the quality of it’s features. But let’s start with the sound. “Muscular” is the first word that springs to mind when you hear the power of the Blak at work.
The dynamics are beautifully spatial in their provision of three dimensional sound, a quality that’s just not heard in amplifiers beneath it. If paired with the right speakers and source material, such as the Dali Rubicons, it has the accuracy to let you hear the room the recordings were made in. No review would be complete without mentioning the bass this thing is capable of. It can articulate low end you didn’t even know existed with an unprecedented amount of precision, power and definition. For a good example give Janet Jackson’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” a spin.
It’s not a neutral sounding amp though. The signature sound has the ability to breathe warmth into even the coldest of your digital recordings as though they’re throwing a log on the fire during a cold winter’s night. Impressively it manages this without the feeling that the sound is being enhanced in any way. It’s more like you’re there at the gig and the sound engineer is a genius. The onboard DAC is pleasantly musical, and handles a range of formats such as DSD and sample rates up to 24/192kHz with a great deal of musical fidelity and detail. Connect it via USB to your computer to bring your music library to life. The DAC can compete with market equivalents in the £700 price range, which alone makes it an easily justifiable upgrade from the Caspian, the next model down in Roksan’s stable.
Then there’s the high quality phono stage that will bring out the soul in your vinyl. Roksan is a company that made their foundations building turntables, and the phono stage included here is proof that they’re on top of their game when it comes to analogue audio. If paired with the right player, you can easily achieve the sensation that the musicians are performing in front of you. It’s just as good with jazz as it is with rock and pop. Listen to something like Norah Jone’s “Come Away With Me” and you’ll hear every sibilance from the vocal microphone. Switch to Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” to hear Mike Campbell’s slide guitar scream. A favourite of mine for electronic music would be Spektrum’s “Kinda New [Tiefscharz Vocal Mix], or Joni Mitchell’s “Little Green” for acoustic. The Blak can handle anything you throw at it.
You can’t overlook the appearance either, and statement of design it is. The oversized dimmable LED display and brushed metal wouldn’t look out of place in a 70s sci-fi film. Universal connections are where the Blak is a bit light. USB is the only way to access the DAC, which means it excludes the more widely available digital connections like optical or coaxial. You’d be encouraged to connect the Blak CD Player via XLR for the full experience. But like everything with this amp, that in itself is also a statement that it is primarily designed for one thing; music.
The bottom line is that if sound quality is your top priority, you can’t go wrong with the Roksan Blak. Why not pop into your local Richer Sounds store and experience this incredible amp for yourself today?
Author: Daniel, Kingston store