Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review

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RCduck7

Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« on: 15 Jan 2014, 08:21 pm »
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).


Listening impressions:

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.


« Last Edit: 20 Jan 2014, 04:49 pm by RCduck7 »

brj

Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #1 on: 16 Jan 2014, 07:33 pm »
Very nice review, RCduck7 - thank you!

RCduck7

Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #2 on: 17 Jan 2014, 11:56 am »
Very nice review, RCduck7 - thank you!

Thanks! :D
As i live in Europe and my main language is dutch i had to do some spell checking on this.
It is honest and that how it performed in my room/setup, glad you like the review.
As for acoustic treatment there was nothing special, a rug on the floor and my plasma screen that is in the center between the speakers, i covered that with a blanket.
Still, it is a vast improvement over nothing at all.

AmpDesigner333

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Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #3 on: 18 Jan 2014, 11:12 pm »
Very nice :)

Thanks!

-Tommy O

brj

Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #4 on: 4 Feb 2014, 04:59 pm »
Thread trimmed to remove solicitations for reviews.  Please read the Critic's Circle guidelines prior to posting.  Thanks.

AmpDesigner333

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Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #5 on: 5 Feb 2014, 01:26 am »
Thread trimmed to remove solicitations for reviews.  Please read the Critic's Circle guidelines prior to posting.  Thanks.

Please send trimmed post in a private message and remove your post above. Thanks.

brj

Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #6 on: 5 Feb 2014, 06:14 am »
Posts on AC are not deleted.  They are either moved to a more appropriate circle, or, if a more appropriate circle is not easily identifiable, the Quarantine circle.  The individual post from this thread that did not comply with the Critic's Circle guidelines was split from the thread and moved to Quarantine.

AmpDesigner333

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Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #7 on: 5 Feb 2014, 09:15 am »
Posts on AC are not deleted.  They are either moved to a more appropriate circle, or, if a more appropriate circle is not easily identifiable, the Quarantine circle.  The individual post from this thread that did not comply with the Critic's Circle guidelines was split from the thread and moved to Quarantine.
Understood.  I found the post that was removed.  Please delete this and the three previous posts to clean the thread. RCduck7 wrote a nice review which would look much nicer without our exchange at the end.  Thanks!

RCduck7

Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #8 on: 19 Mar 2014, 05:06 pm »
Small update.
I have these mono blocs for almost 3 months now and I'm still very happy to have these in my setup. The control these little monos have over the speakers is the best i heard yet.
I played some older recordings this week that i have listened to many times before, so i know how they sound very well. Mostly music from the 70's and 80's.
The Maraschinos really do dig deep into the recording and let you hear more detail compared to my Class D ice power Teac amp. The music also sounds more realistic and fleshed out then before.
As a result poor recordings with noise on the background will let you hear this to. But then again what would anyone choose? To hear all the details and nuances and the noise on some of the poorer recordings? Or a muffled sound from a less detailed sounding amp?? Some say it's a fine line between an analytic sounding amp and a musical one. Then the Maraschinos do this balancing act very well.

From what i read on the forums it seems that the 60V power supply upgrade for these mono's is nearing completion. It gives more power and I'm considering these depending on pricing and the return program of the 48V supply that came with the Maraschinos.
« Last Edit: 30 Apr 2014, 07:22 pm by RCduck7 »

RCduck7

Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #9 on: 7 Jun 2014, 11:25 pm »
For the last weeks i have been comparing my Cherry Maraschino mono's with the owner of the Q-Audio M300 class D mono's...





Here are they pictured side by side. The M300 is bigger and looks a bit like Rotel/Emotiva gear. I think it's nice looking except for the big Q logo on top of the amp. Overall it looks a bit less classy and exclusive compared to the Marschino amps. The M300 is bigger because it houses the power supply. So you can't upgrade the power supply for more power as with the Maraschinos. Okay, the M300 are a fair bit cheaper but it also looks more standard but not only that...

The Comparison was done by me and the owner of the M300's
Soundwise when first firing up the m300 (not new out of the box, they have more then a few hours playtime) they do sound good and in control just as with the Maraschinos.
They are certainly very good amps but before we switched to the Maraschinos i had a sense that the sound was a bit more darker and dare i say it less detailed. Everything else i heard was fine though. Switching over to the Maraschinos i instantly heard a more clearer sound without sitting in the sweetspot. When i comfortably sat down in the sweetspot i heard Mark Knopflers voice from the Dire Straits albums a lot more clear and lifelike. And man we both agreed we could here more details in the recording. My modified Carnegie Acoustics speakers with the detailed but silk bandtweeter lend themself very good to that. The owner of the M300 still defended his amps darker tone to some of the jazz tracks he listens to often. It suits the amps good and the saxophone stood that bit more out compared to the instruments on the background that sounded a bit muffled when comparing the same track on the Maraschino amps. But other then that he agreed they are certainly better and would replace his M300's to the Maraschinos in a heartbeat if he wouldn't have to pay the extra for the Maraschinos. But then again the Maraschinos are certainly worth the extra dollar over the M300's. They do provide a clear window over the music and delivers a sound that is cohesive and draws you in. And with the 60V upgrade they should give the Maraschinos a bigger soundstage and more authority as Tommy described. And i think it's fair to believe it will turn out that way with more power on board.
One final word...Since i bought the Maraschinos i didn't had the sense i want to upgrade components in my setup (except maybe for a bigger power supply out of curiosity), i just enjoy the music more without listening to the sound to check it's okay, it is more then okay and that puts me in ease to forget anything and just to enjoy the music.

AmpDesigner333

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Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #10 on: 9 Jun 2014, 04:12 am »
Thanks for the post, Dany !

RCduck7

Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #11 on: 28 Oct 2014, 11:53 pm »
The new 60V power suplies arrived a few weeks ago. I'm happy with the quality and finish on these and they do have the 5-way braid snake DC cables.
I didn't find the time yet to compare them to the 48V supplies but first impressions are very good!
Same detail in the highs and they are even more refined in the lower mid and lower regions now to. And the flow in the music seem to be improved to.

I will post my findings when i do a comparison with 60V to the 48V suplies.

RCduck7

Re: Cherry Maraschinos Mono Blocs review
« Reply #12 on: 2 Nov 2014, 12:30 am »
Well, i guessed my first positive observations about the 60V power supplies wouldn't be that easy to pinpoint in a comparison when i compared those to the 48V power supplies. To my suprise it was actually easy! I didn't have to change from the 60V supply to the 48V supply again and again (as with some other upgrades from other brands) to know what a difference it makes. Making this review easy to me.
I first played with the 60V supply and then switched to the laptop style 48V supply. I wasn't prepared for the difference it makes. While the 48V supply on the Maraschinos was very good, it seemed i missed a little bit of weight to the music when i switched to those again. The 60V supply gave me that. I could live with that alone but there was more!! first thing that strikes is that there was way more depth in the music. Especially bass notes and mids were so natural and with even more fluidity then before. Switching back to the 48V supply again and the same recordings (at the same volume of course) seemed a bit flatter and less organic. With some adjusting on the ears i loved the 48V supply again, i actually could live with it. The Maraschinos with the 48V supplies are still very good. When i switched once more to the 60V supply it was obvious that paying that bit more for the 60V supplies is a good  upgrade soundwise. A few more jazzy songs were played before i called it a day and it was obvious that the mood in the music gave a bit more warmth. And low notes were nicely controlled leaving voices in the middle of the soundstage. The layers in music were even more organised and lifting that veil that makes every nuance come through. Gosh, i never took for granted these 60V power supplies could do that, but they just did.
Not only soundwise it is an upgrade, they also look nice and have a quality finish to.
Since i listened in the evening i didn't bother taking pictures between the different power supplies. I will  take a few during daylight and post these.
Conclusion: The 60V power supply adds to the benefits of class D amplification on the Maraschinos. Mixed with the organic nature of tube amps makes it really worthwhile. Not only hard to drive speakers benefit from these supplies.