So, here it is!!
Cherry Maraschino class D mono blocs user review:
As class D amplification was in it's early days to be used in hifi for dedicated listening it had potential. It was efficient,small (to save space) and didn't generate much heat.
Still, there was missing a dose of musicality for the critical listener. Me personally was becoming more and more warm to the idea of class D amplification.
ICE power did a lot well, the sound had focus and imaged well but still the soundstage was rather small in my case and i missed a certain flow to the music.
It was a great listen but it didn't make me move as much as the best class A/B amplifiers.
Still, as i was attracted to the things that class D amplifiers do well i wished they combined the best of both worlds.
Well, this is where Digital Amplifier Company comes in! let me tell you why. But first things first.
I haven't had a change to listen to the previous amps of digital amplifier company but read a few reviews wherein they did very well compared to other class D amplifiers.
That's when i decided to give the Cherry Maraschinos a try. Also because they fit my budget compared to the $$$$$ highend designs.
I guess i'm being one of the few European owners of the Cherry Maraschino amps as the previous models were 110V only if i'm correct.
The power supply for the Maraschinos can take up to 240V. I can't see no reason why European countries wouldn't get these up and running.
What strikes me first about Digital Amplifier Company is that they listen to what the community wants. They community does have a say in what the design should look like and keep you updated.
Being a company that does put it's financial resources into the design and not in advertising, they are dependent on the user's satisfactory and mouth to mouth of their products.
The money goes in creating a better product as a result.
The Maraschinos did arrive in a box bigger then i was expecting for their size. After opening the box i was pleasantly surprised on how well the amps and power supply's were packed.
It really is a work in itself to get everything wrapped around in foam that way.
Once the mono blocs were out of the box they looked cute but also substantial thanks to the granite base their sitting on. The power supply is about double the size as that of a laptop PC.
And it's the nice little touches that does make these mono blocs stand out.
Like the sorbathane feet underneath the granite base, the red led light at the top middle of the amp, and the cherry logo at the front. Connectors at the back aren't exactly cheap to.
They can be hooked up as xlr as standard and RCA (with a weighty adapter that comes with the package).
These were done between 1 hour playing and 2 weeks running on a daily base before i started writing this.
At first it strikes me how clear these mono blocs were sounding! The speakers really opened up more and did let me hear the instruments with more clarity and better placement.
Imaging is as good as it gets from what i heard so far. And the soundstage was big enough. Bigger as what i was used from my 125 watt class D ice power. That is what i was missing before.
And while attack is fast thanks to it's fast switching design it also let me hear the microdetails better and adds to the flow of music. Music is therefore easier to follow.
So far it is better then the 125 Watt ice power i used before. The Maraschinos sounded instantly more open and alive and does all what i liked about class d and in a lot areas much better.
Time to bring on the Elephant, the 40kg Dussun V8i. Directly it sounded very big and organic for the first seconds. Listen some more and guitar strings were less defined and to heavy sounding.
As a result of trying to impress you and hit all the time you get a sound that is more 2D, instead of 3D, what i was getting with the Maraschinos.
The Dussun may fair better in a bigger room with bigger speakers when giving them some breathing, but...
The Maraschinos in my case were way better overall, they were the more neutral and stress free sounding. It gives you the silent moments and then hits you when it needs to.
At that time a tear came to my eye and i agreed that this is what dedicated listening is all about! To move you and draw you into the music.
That aside, with the bigger power supply that will be released somewhere in 2014 for the Maraschinos it will give you more watts. Then these Maraschinos should certainly work in bigger rooms/setups to.
Not saying they now won't without that bigger power supply, but only the most demanding speakers in a big room would benefit greatly from the bigger Cherry's i presume.
As for pre amps, be cautious with passives. The Maraschinos did get loud enough with the EVA II LDR i was using but the volume had to be way up compared to my other amps.
Although i had a tad more resolution with the EVA, the active Pre amp made my foot tap along the music more and i did get the volume up a lot more then i'm used to.
I recommend a good pre amp for the Maraschinos. They still sound very good with any i tried but they deserve one you like as i could hear the difference it makes.
Although i personally like passive pre amps, i'm looking for something to upgrade my fairly cheap EVA II pre.
All listening impressions were done to this point with the Carnegie Acoustic speakers. They are very revealing thanks to their planar tweeter.
When i switched to the Hyperionsound speaker with their traditional tweeter but oh so revealing spiderless midrange driver it was the same story here.
Although it has to be said on these speakers i was a little more forgiving when i listened to them on the Dussun amp.
Still, the Maraschinos did sounded simply better on those to! The Maraschinos really are an upgrade and makes you listen to your music all over again!
Thank you Tommy!!
Gear i was using for this review:
Pre amp: Dussun active pre amp stage, EVA II LDR passive.
Source: A Metrum Acoustics quad dac with a Teac AX250 streamer.
Speaker cable: Chord Odyssey
Speakers: upgraded Carnegie Acoustics speakers and Hyperionsound speakers.
I compared the Maraschinos to other amps...
Amplification: 125 Watt Class D Ice power (built in Teac streamer), 250 Watt Class A/B from a Dussun V8i.
Music used: Almost any genre, although at the end i limited myself to about 5 songs to compare with my other amps.