In Barn for Flashback-Fi: Ensemble Solo B-50 “Tiger” Hybrid Integrated Amplifier

The Ensemble Solo B-50 Tiger Hybrid Integrated Amplifier comes to us from 1991, care of John DeVore of DeVore Fidelity.

Old-time readers of my Road Tour Series for 6moons may remember a trip I took in 2009 to one of DeVore’s Monkeyhaus events.

Monkeyhaus was built as John DeVore’s office but also with listening and parties in mind. Parties for listening. I’d imagine there can be any number of reasons to have a Monkeyhaus listening party — it’s Thursday gets my vote — but so far, the first two have been inspired by the short-term availability of some gear and the third to hear the new DeVore 3XL speakers.

It was during a Monkeyhaus party that I first saw and heard John’s Ensemble Solo B-50 Tiger Hybrid Integrated Amplifier, made by the Swiss company Ensemble. And what a sight it is.

That smallish trapezoidal chassis (14.75″ w x 8″ d x 4.25″ h) houses a hybrid integrated amplifier where a pair of ECC81s in the preamplification stage hand off the signal to a solid state amplifier offering 50 watts per channel of output power into 8 ohms.

CD, tape, tuner, video, and aux/phono inputs adorn the narrow back panel along with the speaker connectors and captive AC cord. L’horreur!

Those lovely fins sitting atop the anodized aluminum chassis act as heatsinks.

The front panel is nicely sparse with a volume control knob, four back-lit push-button input selectors, and the power toggle switch.

John’s Ensemble care package also included their Phonomaster Phono Preamplifier which can handle MM and MC cartridges.

The Ensemble Phonomaster offers 6 pre-set load configurations for MC cartridges (22, 47, 100, 220, 470, 1000 ohms) and you can also roll your own by replacing the two internal 22 ohm resistors with whatever value you need. The Phonomaster gets its power directly from the Tiger’s tiny rear-mounted power socket.

Seeing as I just spent time with a current-production hybrid integrated amplifier, the Kora TB140, I thought it would be a fun and relevant stroll down hifi memory lane to spend some listening time with “Tiger”. Stay tuned!


Tube complement: two matched ECC 81s in preamplification stage
Inputs: CD, tape, tuner, video, aux/phono.
Power Output: 50Wpc (17dBW) into 8 ohms.
Frequency Range: 5Hz–39kHz.
Rise Time: 7.5µs at 10kHz.
S/N Ratio: 92dB.
IMD: 0.03% ref 1W.
THD: 0.05% ref 1W/1kHz/8 ohms.
Output Impedance: 0.17 ohms.
Input sensitivity/impedance: 300mV/22k ohms (line), 300mV/47k ohms (tape).
Weight: 16.5 lbs (7.5kg).
Price: $1980 (1991)