The DAC4800A was our first high-end stereo amplifier and was discontinued in 2012. The Stereo Cherry (non ULTRA version), is the same amplifier except for the face, which does not have LEDs and a standby pushbutton instead, the Cherry has a beautiful, thick, brushed aluminum faceplate (your choice of red, silver or black). There is a blue glow from inside the amp that shines through the vent holes.
Yes. The Cherry has balanced inputs, and we include adaptors for RCA (unbalanced) inputs with a removable ground lift adaptor. This adaptor is used to accommodate preamps that do not connect the shield side of their output to ground.
Some customers have said that the Cherry Amplifier has the smoothness of tubes with the power of large solid state amplifiers. Many say that the Cherry sounds better. Yes, tubes sound great at low levels, but so does the Cherry. In fact, it is exceptional at low levels due to low noise, low distortion, and high accuracy for that critical “first watt”. Tubes have a few problems right from the start such as high output impedance, distortion, difficulty achieving large power output, and reliability. If you're into tubes, you know that replacing them can be a pain. They are hard to find, fragile, and expensive. They are also inefficient. See our reviews section for customer feedback regarding this question.
The Cherry Amplifier uses a large toroidal transformer. The ULTRA versions have an 1800W transformer and standard versions of the Cherry Amplifier have a 750W transformer. These transformers are very heavy because they are physically huge and almost completely solid metal. Also, the enclosure of the Cherry Amplifier is made of 16 gauge steel. Although this is a very heavy material, it provides a stable frame for the amplifier as well as excellent shielding from interference sources.
The Cherry Amplifier drives most medium to large size cone based speakers with ease, especially the ULTRA version for larger speaker systems. ESL’s (electrostatic) and magnetic planar speakers (such as Magnepan) can be difficult for smaller amplifiers to drive, but the Cherry has a large reserve of power, providing the headroom you need to get the most out of these special speakers. Some customers prefer the sound of a tube based preamp driving the Cherry, but solid state preamps, especially those with high SNRs, do well with the Cherry. We also recommend driving the Cherry directly with digital-to-analog (D/A) converters that have balanced outputs and level controls. This set-up skips over the preamp, and although it is typically a less flexible solution, it can offer the most accurate reproduction.
The Cherry has a "purist" sound due to tremendous output accuracy. By keeping distortion and noise below the threshold of hearing, the details in music emerge as bright as day. Distortion and noise are kept low by a proprietary control scheme that regulates current to the load (speaker) during every transition cycle --- nearly a million times per second. On top of that, the output topology is not even capable of "crossover distortion" since the output voltage is a function of a continuous time transition ratio. This can be thought of as a digital computer state, high or low, similarly one and zero. However, the time that the power signal changes states is not "discrete time", as in run by a clock. The timing is continuously variable, meaning that there is inherently limitless resolution to the output signal. Crossover distortion is what plagues the typical solid state amplifier. This is when current goes from "pushing" to "pulling" the speaker, or vice-versa.
No. Wrapping feedback around the output filter doesn't provide significant improvement in output impedance. We keep the output filter outside the loop, which lowers distortion and provides a superior listening experience. We also use super heavy duty components to insure the lowest natural filter impedance (practically zero).
We were started as a research and development company, selling amplifier technology to other manufacturers. We developed digital amplifiers of all types, including fixed/variable frequency, digital/analog input, digital/analog modulation, open/closed loop, feedback before/after output filters. We developed board level, chip level, and system level solutions for milliwatts to kilowatts. One of our early customers wanted a reference design for a module we developed, and this eventually became a platform for our DAC4800A amplifier (see above). We entered the high-end scene with a “utilitarian” looking or “pro-sumer” product that quickly gained recognition for its sound quality, not its looks. Since those days, we have still concentrated much more on technology development than marketing, relying initially on word of mouth to spread the news about our company. We also gave the Cherry a great look, making it a happy addition to your best equipment.
While the “big guys” spend tons of cash on trade shows, marketing campaigns, advertising, and other expenses that add NOTHING to the value of the product itself, we have played it “low key” and relied on the quality of our products. We have low overhead and thus low margins. We sell direct to allow lower prices for our customers. We believe you want an amplifier, not a 4-page color ad in an audio magazine. We also use local resources for material supply and services associated with the manufacture of our products. We are not hindered by the bureaucracy and red tape that burdens large companies. The “big guys” are worried only about their bottom line.
OUR BOTTOM LINE is that we are passionate about our CUSTOMERS, our reason for existence.