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moonriver 404 reference integrated amplifier

Moonriver 404 Reference integrated amplifier,

The modular Moonriver 404 Reference is far from a minimalist amplifier, bringing back many features cherished by audiophiles, but recently ignored or forgotten by many manufacturers, such as a tape loop, tape monitor circuitry, a mono/stereo switch, and even balance control.

The 404 Reference is a progression of the standard 404, offering double the capacitance, and reserving a fifth of that capacitance purely for the pre-amplifier section of the amplifier. This furthers the strengths of the standard 404, and offers an even more capable amplifier.

While there are plenty of European reviews of Moonriver, there will shortly be a number of UK reviews appearing.

Moonriver at the little audio company,
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Other than the usual power button, on the front left hand side of the Moonriver 404 Reference amplifier, you'll find its solid aluminium rotary source input selector - with four line level inputs. Input 1 can be converted to a phono input, and input 4 can be converted to a digital USB input. The second rotary control is for its fifth line level input - a tape loop.

A toggle switch allows the LED lights of the 404 Reference to glow normal, dimmed, or completely off.

On the right hand side of the 404 Reference, there's a rotary balance control, a rotary volume control, and a toggle switch for stereo/mono listening, allowing stereo or mono selection, the latter being ideal for listening to mono recordings from compact disc, or the increasing number of mono vinyl re-issues such as The Beatles back-catalogue, and the mono cartridges available that can be used to take full advantage of them.

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The four line level inputs show the options in brackets. Input 1 has two phono options - either an MM moving magnet stage, or a switchable MM/MC moving magnet and moving coil stage.


Input 4 can be replaced with the optional USB input as shown in the photo. This XMOS asynchronous USB input will accept PCM streams up to 384kHz, and uses separate high precision clocks for the 44.1K and 48K sampling rates. Individual power supplies are used for the digital and analogue section of this input, which uses the AKM4490 DAC chipset. This input is ideal for adding a music server such as an Innuos.

A full tape loop is provided for those with tape decks and reel to reel decks. The tape monitor control on the front panel can be selected and allows recordings to be monitored in real time which can be used with three-head cassette decks and reel to reel decks. This loop can also take advantage of noise reduction systems, room correction systems, or even a graphic equaliser.

Two pairs of pre-amplifier outputs allow the connection of one or two higher powered stereo power amplifiers, or single or dual subwoofer setups.

  • 50wpc stereo (into 8ohms)

  • dual mono power construction

  • improved output capacitance

  • 4x analogue inputs

  • 1x tape loop

  • 2x pairs pre-amplifier outputs

  • balance control

  • stereo / mono switch

  • tape monitor function

  • black finish with real wood walnut side panels

  • H135mm x W430mm x D390mm

  • 3 year warranty

  • £5020 including MM/MC phono stage

  •  £3295 including MM/MC phono stage - ex-demo 

hifi news review,
StereoNet review and Applause award,

"A veritable wolf in sheep's clothing, it offers a monstrous musical performance."

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