Pointe Platinum (2016)

Pointe Platinum
Pointe Platinum

Early Pointe amplifiers in the nineties were seen as gate keepers of the audiophile category. We like to see the new generation Pointe products as the gate keepers of high-end audio at its best – this is Pointe’s mission in the 2010’s. The Pointe Platinum is an implicit successor of the Pointe Sima 20: a simple yet brilliant circuit; a bare minimum of parts, but those of the finest quality; custom made transformers free of any compromise; and distinctive styling that matches the most renowned in class.

The Pointe Platinum is a 2×35 Watt integrated tube amplifier with four line-level inputs and remote control facility. The size and the design traits of the Platinum come from the earlier Pointe Amplifica model. The Platinum sports a sleek, mid-size chassis, and the tubes shine on display. The front panel is a thick, brushed and 3D engraved aluminum plate. The cover plate around the tube sockets is similar. The knobs are sculptured from solid metal, just like the body of the remote control unit.

As for the tubes, the power tubes are the acclaimed Russian made Tung-Sol EL34B’s. They operate in Class A up to a relatively high output level. An optimized warm up period extends the lifetime of the tubes. The tubes work with automatic bias, so no manual adjustment or re-adjustment is ever needed, not even in the case of tube replacement. The automated mechanism works with a wide range of tubes, including KT77’s. (A clean upgrade path with moderate costs.)

ointe PlatinumFor the preamp stage the unique ECF80 triode/pentode combos were selected, just like in the earlier Pointe Sima 20 model. They manage a double function: their pentode part is responsible for voltage gain, while their triode part manages phase invertion, all under a shared glass housing – no shorter signal path is available. The ECF80’s we use are NOS (New-Old Stock) Made in Yugoslavia tubes by EI.

If tubes are the soul of any tube amplifier, then its output transformers are the heart. The hand crafted, custom designed transformers of the Pointe Platinum are engineered by Tibor Sindric himself. The output transformers are wound around the premium EI cores of Germany’s Waasner company, a specialized supplier of high-end audio transformer cores. Winding utilizes a unique technology based on both vintage, craftsmanship techniques (like layer-by-layer insulation), and the most up-to-date technological processes (like vacuum impregnation). A distinctive feature of our transformers is that we only use natural raw materials, and even the insulation materials are non-synthetic. Because of the extended Class A mode, the transformers are generously oversized.

The power supply unit is based on a low-inductance, extremely low-noise toroid transformer. Its construction features a unique, fully fledged third shielding coil between the primary and secondary coils which is connected to earth, barring the primary and secondary coils and acting as a mains filter. The transformer is wound around a superior quality, noble gas heat treated (annealed) core by Fastron. During the winding process, the thread is being coated with insulation material in a continuous manner – a technique seen rather too slow and demanding today in comparison with modern winding and insulating technologies, but yielding results in sound quality.

Another distinctive feature of the power supply unit is a choking transformer, which is rarely utilized in amplifiers in this price category. A special challenge was to design a component that matches the smaller than average physical room available.

In the signal path inside the Pointe Platinum the components are connected with point-to-point soldering, there are no PCB’s (except for the power supply unit). The passive components are selected as a result of meticulous listening sessions aiming at finding the best possible sonic synergy between the various parts. The power supply utilizes filtering capacitors by NIC, while resistors in the signal path are Takman and Kiwame high-end carbon film resistors – premium components that we already used in earlier Pointe models. Remote controlled volume is realized by a motorized Alps Blue potentiometer – as mechanical as it can be, with a cogwheel at the end of the potentiometer shaft, mechanically adjusted by a separate stepper motor, having zero effect on overall sound quality.

From the list of passive components the unique paper-oil coupling capacitors must be highlighted. They are specifically made for the Pointe Platinum integrated (and also the Pointe Record ST Signature phono preamp) by a Germany-based manufacturer that exclusively supplies high-end audio firms with custom-made products. (The photo shows a Pointe Platinum as a “guest artist” at Heed Audio‘s launch event of their new ra nge of speakers in Budpaet, in 2016.)

Internal wiring is also remarkable, with wires that were ready to conduct electricity at least forty years ago – they come from a contingent manufactured specifically for the Yugoslav air force, but left intact until the Yugoslav army was dissolved.

With its high nominal power output and vast power headroom the Pointe Platinum can be paired with virtually any loudspeaker system. Because of the specific design of its output transformers it can drive any 4-8 ohm speakers, even the ones with relatively low sensitivity and/or complicated crossover networks.

Nominal Output: 2 x 35 W, Frequency Range:  10 Hz – 80 kHz, Input Impedance:  50 kOhm, Output impedance: 4 – 8 Ohm, Input Senitivity:  600 mV, Sign-to-Noise Ratio: min.  87 dB, Tube Set: 4 x EL34, 2 x ECF80, Dimensions:  370 (W) x 320 (D)  x 200 (H) mm, Weight:  20 kg.

Price: EUR 2,490

Pointe Platinum