Truth in Audio. I think that’s Tommy O’Brien’s (Digital Amplifier Company) Facebook group name. I haven’t yet spent much time there, but this phrase speaks to me as of late. Using speakers as a signpost, I’ve owned about 6 different hifi systems with varying stereo separates over the last 20 years. I’ve always been interested in vacuum tube technology, mainly because of my high-school crush on Lowrey organs that we used to “help” centenarians with. Our “help” consisted of removing these monstrosities from polite ladies living rooms, and promptly rocking out with them in a garage band. Occasionally we would sell an RCA 12AX7 to eat. I digress. So many of my hifi amps have been tube-based designs, all quite well designed, quiet and solid performers. Mainly, I felt they were fun, my buddies all love thier tube guitar amps, and the sound was rocking, so I retired my Sansui 9090 in a donation to a friend.
Other amps I've owned since then...Quicksilver monos, Cyber 211s, Sophia Electric, Decware Mini-Torii, Carver Sunfire preamp, to name a few that come to mind, and recently a fully tricked out Decware EL34 SET amp. I have not played with some esoteric and truly high end stuff, but I’ve been to some of the big audio shows and luckily live near a few audiophiles with tricked out rigs. So I've slept around a bit. The SET amp with the Zu Audio full rangers was a great SET sound. This was the longest system I owned and for good reason, is five years a longer term audiophile relationship?! I will not soon forget, lots of late night sessions with good friends, folks digging deep into the stacks. Recently, we had a mate’s KEF LS50 (Job 225 powered) here and really, they are quite stunning, that edge they bring, laser-like detail but really warm and listenable overall.
So, loved the SET amp, but I did have some small issues with DC current ghosting on the AC power at times. I mention the audio gremlins because these Golden Cherry monos are rock solid. Coming from the SET amp’s sonic signature I can find nothing to gripe about. I have new speakers, the PAP Horn, and while they aren’t overall over 100db/w I am guessing the horn is the most sensitive, and the black background remains even as your spouse watches you pop your head into it thinking “WTF here he goes again”. “Everything ok hon?” Obviously such performance is to be expected from this caliber of equipment, but as a lifelong tubehead, I always welcome the extreme SNR.
Have I finally arrived in the Class D future. Yes, as far as I’m concerned. What I am hearing is jaw dropping so far: lots of detail, SET richness, and no fatigue. Get Better Sound copy? Don’t need it anymore. Power cords? Don’t care. I am running direct XLR from a Vega G2 DAC whose signal is fully coupled to DC which works very well with the Tommy’s design; getting just amazing bass response out of these 15”. Truth in Audio indeed. These aren't going anywhere any time soon. Thanks Tommy.