High End 2022: Engström ARNE

Swedish Engström makes their first integrated amplifier.

Ten years ago we got to know LARS. Which is a Swedish-built power amplifier with two 300B vacuum valves delivering a moderate 36 watts of power. Two LARS will set you back a little over €100,000, and then of course you’ll need MONICA too. MONICA is a two-piece preamp, just so there’s no misunderstanding.

Engström LARS. (Photo: Lasse Svendsen)

This quaint naming convention applies to all amplifiers from Lars and Timo Engström. Therefore it is no wonder that the integrated Engström amplifier is called ARNE. What else would it be called?

The integrated ARNE also has 300B valves, two per channel, and delivers 30 watts per channel. The design – as you can see in the above picture – differs a lot from what you normally see on amplifiers, but Engström is no ordinary company either.

Engineer Lars Engström (Timo is the designer) is concerned that his amps play as openly and freely as possible. Without the “grey fog” that many amps can have, and none of his amps therefore use negative feedback. No distortion should be sent back into the linear circuit.

Engström ERIC. (Photo: Lasse Svendsen)

So is ERIC, Engström’s most powerful amplifier to date. A mono power amp with 70 watts of power (1% THD+N, 1 kHz) and two 845 valves per channel. It also has two 6L6GC, two EC8010, four 6CJ3 and one GZ34 valve.

Together with the MONICA preamplifier, ARNE created an exceptionally open and easy-flowing soundstage at the High End trade show. Even in mono, with a jazz recording from the 1950s on vinyl.

Beautiful it is, but it also comes at a price. An ARNE goes for just over 30,000 euros, and a MONICA for 50,000 euros. And a set of ERIC? Just over 130,000 euros!

Lasse Svendsen