Unison Research Unico Series of Hybrid Integrated Amps

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Dream On, Oct 13, 2021.

  1. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I thought I’d create a thread on Unison Research’s Unico line of hybrid integrated amps. I’m specifically interested in whether people out there have tried rolling tubes and how much of a change have they heard. This is something I will do down the road after I’ve put some good mileage on my amp.

    I’m currently running a Unico Nuovo. Picked it up recently; a nicely discounted demo model. To say that I am enamored with this Italian beauty would be an understatement. I think it’s bar none the most impressive amp that I’ve had in my room thus far.

    The imaging is just stunning. Instruments and voices have body and texture, and are precisely placed within a wide soundstage. There is a real sense of being there - hearing a lot more spatial cues than I have heard before, coupled with that body and texture, really drives this feeling home. But most impressive to me is the depth. My speakers are diagonally placed in my room. I’ve heard depth before, but it was always sort of vague and extended back only so far. This is the first time I can clearly hear depth that goes beyond the corner wall of my room, and there is no vagueness as to where the sound is coming from. Wow!

    The amp is also very quick sounding, with plenty of authority (near 100 watts) and a nice amount of detail that isn’t fatiguing at all. And while the bass doesn’t stop on a dime or go incredibly deep, it is nicely controlled and punchy. Music has a real sense of flow to it and a lack of grain that allows me to just enjoy the tune.

    So the stock tubes (whatever they are) sound excellent. The thought that I might be able to improve on or tweak the sound by changing them is exciting. The amp takes 2 12AX7 tubes in the preamp stage. I have a bunch of options already as my phono preamp also uses this tube. At some point this winter I will probably experiment with some tube rolling. Looking forward to reading some impressions from folks who may have already tried this with their Unico.
  2. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    I had the Unico Primo. Changed to Gold Lion 12AX7. Can’t hear much difference if any. It’s a nice amp, just that the bass is slightly loose.
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  3. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident Thread Starter

    It is, but it has nice weight, authority, and decay, so I'm not finding a lot to complain about.

    Thanks for the info about the tube change. I understand 12AT7 tubes would work as well, just with lower gain.
    tIANcI likes this.
  4. Art K

    Art K I bite you!

    Corvallis, Oregon
    I had a Unico driving a pair DeVore speakers. I liked it a lot. I eventually replaced it with a Sonneteer Alabaster.
    timind likes this.
  5. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I remember you were (still are I imagine) a big fan of the Alabaster, and kept it for a good chunk of time.

    I am surprised that I am enjoying the Unico this much more than my old Sugden. I am sure it's a synergy thing. My ProAc speakers likely enjoy the extra power, though they don't really require it. The Sugden did just fine, but there is more magic now. Much different presentation than my Nait XS2 as well.

    Been considering grabbing a pair of P3ESR's or Classic 4/5's, but now I'm not so sure. Might just stick with this, though I definitely want to spend some time with one of the above at some point. Think there'd be a lot of synergy there too.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021 at 3:49 PM
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  6. Aereoplain

    Aereoplain Forum Resident

    charlotte nc usa
    I own a Unico and use with Harbeth P3ESR’s. Great synergy.
    Telefunkens work nicely in the Unico , some prefer Mullard and Cifte.
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  7. iluzun

    iluzun Forum Resident

    I’ve a SR-1 which was the original Unison hybrid. It’s set to go in for repair as it developed a rattle in the right channel a while back. My understanding is that it may need a new pair of mosfets. Anyhow, i thought it worked particularly well with a pr. of Kef LS50’s as presenting a beautifully refined treble. I rolled both Mullards and Amprex Bugle Boys so it was probably with the BB’s that the treble synastry was displayed. Mullards are a more mid focused tube, smoother, without the sparkle. I also liked mine quite a lot, refined and musical…
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  8. Tawaun A Williams

    Tawaun A Williams Forum Resident

    I had a Unico with Mullard tubes that drove some Totem Arros....spectacular setup, still was 1 of my best setups if not my best setup and this was 17 years ago....and i've had many since then....
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  9. Steve Lawrence

    Steve Lawrence Well-Known Member

    Did you find the Mullards a big stepup over the stock tubes?
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  10. Vinylleroy

    Vinylleroy Active Member

    I've had the Unison Research Unico Nuovo and loved it, powering my Elipson 1303 FT speakers. I sold my Unico to a friend of mine, when I bought the Unison Research S6 MKII.

    He (the friend I sold the Unico to) has the same speakers as I do and we compared the to amplifiers last weekend. We first played a couple of LPs with the Unico and then repeated the albums with the S6. The speakers enjoyed the extra watts of the Unico to control the bass, and it made the presentation of the music incredibly fast and quiet. The S6 made the music much more open in the mid's and highs, altough it wasn't out of breath, it did lack some power to control the bass as good as the Unico does.

    The Unico still had the origional tubes in it. But I did some tube rolling with the amp when it was mine, and replacing the origional tubes for Phillips tubes did make a good and quiet big difference.

    Greetings, Leroy
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  11. Tawaun A Williams

    Tawaun A Williams Forum Resident

    Yes it was pretty big...the clarity and soundstage got deeper with more midbass snap....
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