In this review, we take a close look at Flux Lab Acoustics’ new FA-22 amplifier, which is selling for $749 USD.
Disclaimer: Flux Lab Acoustics provided the FA-22 amplifier free of charge. The review reflects my honest opinion.
About Flux Lab Acoustics
Flux Lab Acoustics is an audio company from Ukraine. They started in 2009, and in 2017 they went global. Today they produce DACs, Amplifiers, Streamers and Tube Amps. So far we have reviewed two of their products and both entered our best recommendations for DAC/Amp combos and amplifiers. Especially Lieven has been in love with the Atlas model, as you can check his review below:
Apart from the Atlas, Linus reviewed the FA-10 amplifier. That is also a recommendation.
Flux Lab products provide a unique blend of ultimate audio performance, timeless design and build quality.
The new FA-22 is a Class-A desktop amplifier with;
- High-power MOSFET output stage
- Bipolar input stage
- 64-step relay volume control attenuator
- Premium components: Nichicon, TAKMAN, NIPPON, FUJITSU-TAKAMISAWA etc.
- Toroidal transformer
The FA-22 combines the high transparency, dynamics, warmth and fullness sounding, the engaging character of the sound which will not leave indifferent even the most sophisticated listeners.
The FA-22 is a huge and heavy unit. So if you’re considering it, make sure you have enough space in your room. It is a fully analogue amplifier so you need to have a DAC to use it. The weight of the unit is 5,1kg, and it measures 32 × 34 × 8 cm. The output power is; 16Ohm: 5W RMS per channel, and 32Ohm: 2.5W RMS per channel.
Input-wise we have balanced XLR and single-ended RCA. Output-wise there’s a TRS 6,3mm headphone out, and a 4-pin balanced XLR. The unit has <0.001% THD, and 0.1Ohm output impedance. Power consumption is 45W.
The FA-22 arrives with a huge cardboard box (as expected). It’s not fancy packaging whatsoever. It instead is purpose-oriented with a simple approach. You get the amplifier, the power cord and nothing else. You need to have your XLR/RCA cables to get it to work.
That’s no surprise though. Most amplifiers don’t have additional accessories either. However, the box is very secure so you can depend on it regarding protection on shipping.
Design & Build Quality
Flux Lab Acoustics’ amplifiers don’t have many options to choose from in terms of looks. When ordering, you can choose the front panel colour and that’s the sole preference that you can have. Still, there are seven different options there and you can select depending on the style of your desk/room. Out of those seven colours, mine has arrived with copper. I think it looks very cool. A full-black scheme may look very sharp and nice as well.
The build quality of the amplifier is excellent. It’s built like a rock and there hasn’t been any area that worried me about longevity. The volume knob in particular feels very well with a sturdy feel. It doesn’t move around whatsoever and sits there tightly. The front panel of the unit and the rest of the chassis are reassuring. That includes the inputs and outputs on the front and the back.
The FA-22 is a very straightforward unit. There are three switches on the left side of the panel; the on/off switch, the input selector (BAL/SE), and the gain switch that has three levels. On the right side of the unit, you have your outputs as SE and BAL (XLR).
On the far left, next to the power switch, there is a little white LED that lights up once the amp is turned on. Volume is adjusted with the black knob in the middle of the front plate. A small dot on it tells you where you’re at.
So controlling and using the FA-22 is a breeze. It’s a very simple layout. However, when you rotate the volume knob you’ll hear clicking sounds. The same happens when you switch on/off the unit. Don’t worry though because that’s only normal. This is a 64-step relay volume control attenuator. Relay attenuators make that noise so nothing is wrong there.
The unit gets a bit warm under normal operation but it never reaches hot levels. Apart from that, the FA-22 has an optional remote control, if you pay $25 more in addition. That would provide a better user experience, especially in a home environment I assume. My unit doesn’t have that option though. So overall, the user experience is very nice and the build quality feels great.