I bought pair of Desktop Cherries with a 60v PSU and would like to share my observations. First off, I will share the components in my system.
MAC Book Pro laptop (2.5 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 gb ram, 500gb SSD) with a wire world USB cable, Exogal Comet with Outboard PSU, custom made tube preamp with custom outboard power supply, Spatial M3 Turbo S, SVS 4000SB sub, Audio Envy Cables.
The Cherries monos replaced my custom made 2a3 SET amp that I was very happy with.
So, why try Class D?
I posted on the spatial audio circle and was asking the groups what subs mate well with the M3 Turbo S speakers. I shared that I had a SET amp with the Spatials and out of nowhere "Wind Chaser" "butted in" and dared to tell me that my SET wasn't a good match with my Spatials and with the right amp I might not need a sub.
How dare he?
He went on to say that he had a SET that he loved and that these amps are a mismatch with the Spatial and that there is a hole in the bass freq that really impacts the low end. He was so adamant that he issued me a challenge. He said that he would send me a class D amp with no cost and no strings attached. I just pay the $30 for shipping. No brainer. I took him up on it. Note, I used to partner with Steve Fischer who owned a boutique audio store in Michigan in the middle 90's (Soundquest Audio) and we carried one of the first digital amps from Spectron. At the time, I thought it was very quick, tight bass great air, etc. I didn't find it as musical as I preferred though. So, it was the last time I listened to class D until I met Wind Chaser.
I received the ~$150 amp and used the ground loop wires he sent that needed to be placed in line with the negative speaker terminal and off I went to listen. I immediately noticed it was cleaner and quieter than my SET. I heard some notes in the music I had never heard before. Interesting...For so little money, it had me thinking. It was impressive and so good I called Wind Chaser and asked him if you gave this amp away, what are you using now? He indicated that he was using Digital Amplifier Company's Cherrie Desktop Mono Blocks. How much better could they be? Hmmm. They were obviously more money that this entry level amp, but still very reasonable. Within a day, I reached out to Tommy and started a dialog. Before long, I ordered a set on mono blocks and was still a little concerned that the musicality of the amp still might not be near what my SET might provide. I knew it would quick, detailed, dynamic, etc. But would it have the timbre of the SET that I fell so in love with. The entry level amp was close in timbre but still not there to my ears.
Knowing my order was on the way, I switched back to my SET until my new amps arrived. While I was expecting the sound to be not as quick, I was expecting the timbre to be magical. I immediately started noticing the sound to be a bit colored; I already knew the SET was a bit rolled off at the top, so no surprise there. Hmm, the shootout will start any day. What will I really like best?
The new Cherries came in and I hooked them up.
On the first two notes, my wife immediately said: OMG these are a lot cleaner than your other amps. They were so quiet it was a bit freaky. Understand that I have had and auditioned many many amps in my time. The Blacks are way Black with this amp! The image opened up so wide and deep that it sounded like a different system. The height of the image was noticeably different as well. I got my reference recording speaker set up disc and tweaked placement and i was ready to listen. I would say that I was somewhat conflicted. I don't think my brain and thousands of hours of listening processed what I was hearing as quickly as other changes I have made.
While I was thinking I was missing some midrange bloom I also noticed a bite on the horns section that I had never heard before. Listening to Holly Cole's Temptation album and in particular, Little Boy Blue, I was captured by the bite of the horns. I was transported in the studio when it was being recorded. I knew in the back of my mind that the SET was rolled off and I had been missing the upper frequencies. Tommy's amp is billed at reproducing up to 100K. The Cherries had so much air and space between the notes it was treat to appreciate it. I heard no evidence of any unnaturalness in the higher frequencies. Just cymbals and triangles that are clean and fully extended. No concern with any sibilance with Female voices. I recently downloaded Diana Krall's "Turn up the Quiet" at 24/192K. Want a treat? Listen to the tracks "Sway" and the next track "No Moon At All". The combination of acoustic guitars, bass, & strings coupled with Krall's sultry voice shows off what these amps do best. The space around the guitar, the plucking and tone of the double bass, the presence of Diana's breathing and singing highlights her phrasing and her magic. When the strings come in, the goose bumps appear and my attention was captured waiting for the next note. I shifted and began listening to a Male Voice. An older, simple but beautiful song from Neil Diamond- Stones. Guitars and percussion were right on and his baritone voice never better.
Janis Ian - "Breaking Silence" was next and this is one of the better recordings I have in my collection. Beautifullly crafted songs with outstanding musicians- this collection of songs are so well recorded. I can't say I have ever heard a pop/rock album with dynamics this impressive. If you haven't heard it, you haven't heard what your system is capable of. Supertramp: Crime of the Century, Pink Floyd ? Its right up there. I talked to Janis's office and ordered a couple CD's and had Janis sign one of the copies. Just 16/44 ripped files and the recording is so good, you would think its the master tapes. The Cherrie's with it dynamic capabilities are the perfect match. I have heard this CD with so many fantastic amps and speakers- I can't say that I heave heard it any better than last night.
After listening for four straight hours and throughly enjoying every minute of it, my appreciate goes out to Tommy and the Digital Amplifier Company for an amazing product especially at its price point. I have never heard an amp this good for anything close to this price. It has it all!
As important is that Tommy is about as nice as you can find as an owner and customer service is outstanding.
Special thanks to Wind Chaser for butting in!!
I just received the DAC DAC and should be hooking it up tonight to see what it has in store. The Exogal is a very strong DAC and is very musical.
I'll provide the comparison feedback later this week.