Audio Review: Digital Amplifier Company , Maraschino Cherry 48v desktop Mono blocks.
The equipment used in review:
Pre Amp - Audio Mirror T - 61 tube
Oppo BDP-83 special edition Blue ray
Denon DP 62L turntable with an audio Technica cartridge.
Bauer & Wilkins CDM - 1 Special Edition bookshelf speakers
Ohm 2000 full range speakers.
Morrow interconnects & Raymond Cable Speaker cables
I have a pair of Quad 57 ESL's that are being rebuilt. I will add them in once I get them back. Past amplifiers I have enjoyed, Cary Slam 100 tube mono blocks, Manley Stingray integrated, Digital Amp Cherry, Conrad Johnson , Blue Circle and Jolida .
I have been critiquing music, recordings and audio equipment for over 40 years. That being said I sometimes wonder how my ears have held up. When I comment on sounds in the recording, how a note sounds or some foreign noise my family often never hears it until I point it out. This is my first pair of mono blocks in 8 years. Needless to say I was very excited when they arrived.
They were well packed. My Immediate impression is these are well constructed. Flat black on black marble. Minimal but classy trademark design. Solid posts for speakers and Neutrik gold plated xlr with RCA adapterS if needed. The ICC Nexergy power sources is supplied. Set up very easy. The heavy marble base keeps the mono's stable even with my heavy cables. I turned the system on and let it sit for a short while. I have always had a little line noise do to my home wiring with an inverter and solar panels. There is no noise. This is the first time in twenty-three years that I have had no noise coming through the system. Very exciting. Tommie O said The amps can be powered all the time because they will sense no input and go into sleep mode. This is great. I just need to shut off my tube pre amp and turn it back on.
After playing some music for a few days while at work I figured it was time for some critical listening. First with my B&W bookshelves.
Listening to Damien Rice "O" is a pleasure. The sound of each instrument and his voice is crisp and clear. The acoustic notes clearly defined and at times you can hear his fingers. Lisa Hannigan has such great timing. Her voice silky smooth. The separation in speakers is total. The clarity of each voice as they harmonize is accentuated ,beautiful. I am using the Oppo as my source with a standard cd. I have listened to and critiqued "Cold Water" on a few different amps and speakers. With Tommy's Maraschinos' I have heard it no better. The stereo separation total, the feeling in Damien's voice so clear I can hear every nuance. The snare drum is not muffled and you can actually pick out the snares as they hit. Very nice not to have any background noise or distortion. The specs are 117 dB s/n and 0.002 THD. The sound phenomenal !!
Bala Bala is an African-Cuban funky jazz dance grooves group. They use Congas, traps,Sax,imbales,djembe,balafon,calves and more. I am surprised at the soundstage on the B&W bookshelves. The Congas and other instruments have a definite place to the side or back of the speaker. The Saxophone weather tenor, alto or soprano is never harsh. Again the stereo separation, range of sound and soundstage are all improved by the Maraschino's.
Now for Jazz. The bass (Isoo Fukui) on Midnight sugar by Yamamoto,Tuyoshi trio is a slow beat. Each defined and carried through to the end. No bottom to these notes. Piano is very difficult for a standard speaker. The notes can hang or switch between the tweeter and the woofer. These speakers have not had an issue with past amps and there is none now. The clarity and smoothness of each note is exceptional. There is no fatigue from highs, no harshness and no distortion.
Time to rock with the Ohm 2000. These speakers have a total different delivery than the B&W's. They are single driver 360 degree delivery with the base coming out the bottom. First A little Santana "Soul Kitchen" live and some "Marbles" With Buddy Miles. Treat is just that. All live Santana. Very good recording. This is pure pleasure. No fatigue. All sounds, band instruments, voices, audience are so clear it is fun to hear. Congas are so defined I'd swear I can tell where the hand is hitting the drum. The soundstage is what it should be. The music fills the room and the speakers actually disappear . Another favorite of mine is the Belfast Harp Orchestra , Earth, Wind and Fire. It starts out quiet and strings ad in until the entire orchestra is playing. The clarity of individual harp notes and there tone is beautiful. When the entire orchestra is playing I can still pick out individual harps.
Conclusion : These are high end mono blocks. They are very nice looking ,well constructed ,easy to hookup and operate. As a consumer and "audiophile" (as my friends have labelled me ) I really enjoy the sound being produced. The speakers I used were not as good as the amps. The Maraschino's brought the B&W's and Ohm's to an entirely new level. This review will be added to when I get my rebuilt Quads back. My feeling is they will compliment the Maraschino's well. The Marachinos brought the speakers used to an all new level but these mono blocks had so much more to offer. The quads should compliment the Maraschino's clarity well. I have no reservations highly recommending the Maraschino Mono Blocks from Digital Amplifier Company. From a person that enjoys all kinds of music these are very enjoyable to listen to for hours and hours. Gerry Mittica