Onto big male vocals, I added “House of the Rising Sun” played by The White Buffalo with The Forest Rangers, from the Son’s of Anarchy – Season 4 Finale album. Large and in-charge is what I heard. Just like the K3 mountain that this amplifier takes its name from, the singer towered like a mountain over me… grand and ominous, much like my big rig. Some might think an integrated amplifier might be a compromise in terms of its ability to cast life-sized images… but that’s not the case when it comes to the K3. Substantial and masterful, the K3 delivered all I could expect from this track.
The Roksan K3 eschews full-digital connections in favour of APTX BlueTooth (BT). I used my iPad Mini, running Tidal HiFi to try out the Roksan K3’s BT connection. Following the directions in the manual, it was easy as pie to connect. How did it sound? When it comes to wireless connections, the Roksan K3’s BT performance is just fabulous. Comparing the MOON 280D DAC/streamer’s wired Ethernet connection to the K3’s BT wireless connection, with the volume levels matched, the BT performance was shockingly good. Yes, there was some loss of presence, atmosphere and transparency using BT but for most listeners this would be nit-picking. If you’re into wireless music streaming, the Roksan K3 will surely impress.
During my tests, I also put the K3’s headphone amplifier to the test using my Grado SR325e headphones. The 3.5mm headphone jack was convenient, yet I’d have preferred to see the more common 1/4-inch type. Hooking up my headphones, I took note of the substantial gain. The presentation was up front and favoured density and dynamics over subtlety and expansiveness. Voices possessed a euphonic character and overall I found the headphone amplifier in the K3 quite satisfying.
Next, I gave the MM phono stage a whirl using my VPI Scout turntable. I found the Roksan phonostage to be full-bodied, rich and melodious. With Art Pepper meets the Rhythm Section, the bop and drive of this platter was well preserved. Comparing it to my standalone Pro-Ject Phonobox II SE stage, I found the Roksan MM stage came short only a tad on fine detail retrieval, transparency and tonal complexity. The performance of the K3’s built-in MM phonostage was overall very good and I’m quite sure that vinyl enthusiasts will take pleasure in using it with turntables up to the two thousand dollar range.
I took some time to compare the Roksan K3 with my own Rega Elex-R, as I’m sure many might wonder how these two British integrated amps compare. The Rega portrayed a noticeably warmer and smoother character, while the Roksan K3 clearly demonstrated superior grip, sense of speed and transparency, most noticeable in the lower bass. The K3 was more dynamic and incisive in its presentation while the Elex-R portrayed a more relaxed demeanor. Which you prefer would be a matter of taste.
The Roksan K3 is a fabulous integrated amplifier that is feature packed, wonderfully built and high performing. The K3 delivers big sound with an energetic style. Bass, through the K3 integrated, is punchy and agile, making for thrilling listening sessions. However, this integrated also provides charming delicacy and lifelike soundstaging that will surely captivate. Pairing the Roksan K3 integrated with the Monitor Audio Silver 300 loudspeakers achieves a level of performance rarely encountered at this price point. The Roksan K3 integrated amplifier, true to its name, is a veritable mountain of fun!
Distributed in Canada by Kevro International
Roksan Audio K3 Integrated Amplifier
Price: $2,000 US