Gainclone, where has it gone?

During the previous seven years, Audial released six DACs, which established it as a “DAC specialist”. The reason why things developed this way however wasn’t the actual intention, nor did I ever make an actual decision to dedicate Audial or myself to digital more than to other audio devices. It however happened that, one decade ago the digital source was generally misunderstood and the most missing part of the audio chain. And it was the most demanding part at that, regarding the knowledge and work required to make it sound nice. So it took the most of my attention and time, both for a couple of years before I registered Audial, and many years later. And in many ways, Audial DACs moved the boundaries and limits of digital sources, and showed how digital audio can sound not only highly detailed, dynamic and three dimensional, but also listenable and tonally correct, or in a word, how it can sound “right”.

As a result, many Audial DACs owners found their source not to be a bottleneck anymore, and asked for future improvements elsewhere in the system instead. This brought many questions about possible Audial amplifier, and about what’s happened to my old designs based on National power opamps.

So, they definitely went their way, and evolved, bringing new insights and solutions, and the time for the Audial amp has come. In fact, you will see two Audial amps soon.

The first amplifier will be a 25 W/ 8 Ohm stereo amp, primarily intended to Audial DAC users. “Oh well, what a feature of Audial DACs makes an amp intended for them?”

Firstly, the idea with this stereo amp is to offer not only a power amp, but a complete (integrated) amplifier solution if possible, with preamp / volume control included. And the best “preamp” I have ever made or listened to (tubes, transistors, step attenuators, and TVCs are included) is a low impedance shunt potentiometer, and it actually gets best when its impedance is that low so tube sources just can not drive it, and not all transistor devices are capable of it either. On the other hand, the good thing is that all Audial DACs can drive it with no issues – in fact, this solution was discovered as the best preamp just due to this ability of Audial DACs. So, that’s how this amp would give its best, and that is why such an orientation towards Audial DAC users. Yet, it could be optionally supplied with more conventional input impedance (25-50 kOhm), or even as a power amp only, in which case it will normally work with a wide variety of different gear. (Easy retrofitting of this input part is currently considered as well.)

And second amplifier will be eight channel power amp, with 50 W / 8 Ohm per channel, each being able to deliver up to 10 Amperes. Again, its main purpose will be to complement the upcoming eight channel Audial DAC (Audial newsletter subscribers are already aware of which). This amp will keep a clean eight channels architecture, with no volume control, which will actually provide immense versatility. So it can work as a 7.1 multichannel amp, but you can also think of it as a multi-amping device, or combine these possibilities – for instance, in the 5.1 system, it will still offer bi-amping for main speakers.

Of course, considering stereo systems only, there are no problems or compromises in using its two channels only. Yet if you bridge or parallel the channels it will get more powerful and, while in normal mode it will still drive most conventional speakers, with all channels employed in the stereo mode it could accommodate the more difficult ones, and provide four times higher power or current. Of course, if you simply prefer a balanced concept, with a balanced signal source it could act as a part of a balanced system anyway. And sure, you can again combine a bit – it can work as a bi-amping balanced device, or as a tri-amping device with two amps in parallel driving bass part with possibly higher current demands – and your needs and your creativity in using this amplifier will be the real limit of its versatility.

Target prices: 800 € and 1.300 €, respectively (ex-works)

ETA: These things will now develop fastly, so stay tuned.

Related topic:
Introducing the Model A

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