The SP101 amplifier separate is designed to go with other Acoustic Solutions separates of the same range such as the SP111 DAB/Tuner and SP 122 CD/MP3 play that I've recently reviewed. Of course it can also be hooked up with other separates of different brands. Importantly for me it is possible to hook up this amp to a turntable as there is a phono input socket at the rear.
The SP101 is a basic hi-fi separate designed to provide a solid and reliable performance. The exterior of the unit has a simple finish with minimal design. When switched on the only thing that lights up is a green back lit LCD panel and a power indicator switch - not that exciting it has to be said. However, as I mentioned in my previous review, a simple hi-fi separate without all the add on features of a higher range device often means a more reliable and durable item in the long run. This is certainly the case with our unit - after 4 or more years it's still going strong performing the same as the day it was bought.
The front panel is simply designed with easy to press forward with buttons for Phono, Tuner, Tape/Aux, CD, DVD and DAB. Alongside these is a function button which basically enables you to access menu feature such as bass, treble, balance, loudness and speakers on/off. The large rotary control knob then allows you to adjust the above mentioned menu features. Also on the front panel is a headphone socket, an LED power indicator (green when on, red when in stand by) and the power button.
The SP101 offers 40 watts per channel and can be hooked up to 4 speakers, although we've managed fine over the years with just the two. As you might expect, all the output sockets that correspond to the buttons on the front panel are located at the rear. Here you will also find Line input sockets for connection to external amplification or recording equipment.
Although not straight forward at first, using the unit is simple once you've gotten use to it. Volume control is the default setting on the user interface control - displayed on a small green back-lit LCD display. To access the other controls (bass, treble, balance etc) you have to press the function button once or more times until the desired control function appears on the display. You can the alter settings by turning the rotary control knob as referred to earlier. The unit comes with its own remote control which is also simple to use.
I would recommend the SP101 integrated amplifier as a basic hi-fi separate. although a little plain looking it tends to blend in with the rest of the living room furniture. The sound amplification is good and there is no noticeable noise humming noise when switched on. Price wise it cost about £100 when I bought it from Argos. At present you can still buy these new online - Maplin are selling them for £80 including delivery.