SOA+ DAC= WOW!

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witchdoctor

SOA+ DAC= WOW!
« on: 22 May 2020, 05:44 pm »
The thread on the shows made me nostalgic. Tommy, can you please give us an update on the SOA you demoed last year with the 5 Cherry's? Show feedback, future plans for that type of system, how DAC are best implemented in a HT immersive setup, etc? If I can't "go to the show" maybe you can bring "the show" back that you did previously in this thread? It would definitely make my day and all references to illness can be posted in a separate thread.

AmpDesigner333

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Re: SOA+ DAC= WOW!
« Reply #1 on: 22 May 2020, 08:38 pm »
The thread on the shows made me nostalgic. Tommy, can you please give us an update on the SOA you demoed last year with the 5 Cherry's? Show feedback, future plans for that type of system, how DAC are best implemented in a HT immersive setup, etc? If I can't "go to the show" maybe you can bring "the show" back that you did previously in this thread? It would definitely make my day and all references to illness can be posted in a separate thread.
Well, we have a bit of a story regarding the development of the 5-Cherry, and it's relatives: 2-CHerry, 3-CHerry, and 4-CHerry....

Originally, we were going to make a mini-MEGA Cherry (2-channel) in the same chassis as the MEGAschino.  It was our 6th Kickstarter project.  This was supposed to use the new module we built with the Maraschino circuit minus some power supplies to save space.  The module design was prototyped successfully, was 2.0" x 1.9" x 0.5", and capable of 120dB SNR with 1000W output!  We felt obligated to use the module design we invested so much time perfecting....

We were given some motivation in the form of a purchase -- two all-options MEGA MONOs with the promise to have the 5-CHerry ready by AXPONA.  That's ready as in production-ready, not just a prototype.  This was in December, and AXPONA was only 4 months away!  First thought was to use Maraschino Modules and a new multi-channel motherboard, linear power supply, new wire harnesses, and a new enclosure design.  However, that was a very risky path due to the timing.

Then....  An idea.  How about using the same board we already use in Maraschino Monoblocks?  How can we mount them to a motherboard?  Wait, do we really need a motherboard?  We decided to find a way to mount the Maraschino Monoblock boards directly to a chassis.  They also needed to be electrically isolated, adding another challenge to the design.

This wound up being a substitution of hand assembly effort for PCB design/assembly effort, which meant working prototypes as soon as we work out the mounting issues and make some enclosures.  We figured on eventually changing the Maraschino Monoblock board design to allow mounting to a motherboard, but after building a few of these new "x-CHerry" amplifiers, we realized that there are several advantages to the current design....

For one, with a motherboard, the traces would need to be super thick for the power supply connections and speaker connections.  The speaker connections would wind up going more distance to the binding posts.  The connectors needed to carry the rather large currents involved would be bulky and may require a removable board section if these new boards were to also be used in Maraschino Monoblocks.  Keeping the boards common among several products came with a longer-than-expected list of compromises.

Then the idea of Power Pipes (power supply connections made to the amp boards through 1/4" copper pipes) made doing the same thing on a PCB (motherboard) impractical.  What we wound up with is a very high performance design the sounds amazing without breaking the bank, so why change it?

The 2-CHerry replaced the mini-MEGA.  The Kickstarter project happened DURING the multi-channel amp development, so we changed gears during the project.  We designed the 5-CHerry to hold 2-5 channels.  The end result is a better amplifier that weighs less, fits triple rail caps, and drives medium to large systems with precision and authority.

The Maraschino Module design faded into the past.

All that said, 5-CHerry amps, MEGAschino MONOs, and Desktop Maraschinos were used for our AXPONA 2019 25,000 Watt reference ATMOS HT system!

Details on that system:
https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=163293.0

witchdoctor

Re: SOA+ DAC= WOW!
« Reply #2 on: 22 May 2020, 10:36 pm »
That is a great story. I like how the deadline pushed your creative limits to another level. You knew you couldn't go to the show without delivering the goods. Sometimes a consumer feels that the designer has to cut corners to hit a price point and they do it with lower cost parts. If i understand it correctly you did it by taking your best amp and then  reducing what the new design simply didn't "need". Are you familiar with the term "kaizen" or "lean"? It reminds me of a company that sells consumer cars that goes into racing, has to innovate, learn, repeat in order to compete. Then that tech trickles down to the consumers. Immersive music and movies is a paradigm shift from two channel. I feel like everyone who tries it would have no reason to go back to only two channel. If I want to listen in stereo I push a button on the remote, immersive another button. I will revisit the thread you posted too, thanks!


witchdoctor

Re: SOA+ DAC= WOW!
« Reply #3 on: 22 May 2020, 10:39 pm »
Do you use the Storm processor like the one in the show in your showroom or at home? The interesting thing about that processor to me is that it is card based. When you need to upgrade you just upgrade the card instead of buying a new processor.

gmmiddle

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Re: SOA+ DAC= WOW!
« Reply #4 on: 22 May 2020, 11:18 pm »
Great to read this.  I have had a 3-cherry for a month now and could not be happier.  1000W/2 for L/R, 1000W/3 for L/C/R (or thereabouts).  Quiet.  Cool.

Great work Tommy.

witchdoctor

Re: SOA+ DAC= WOW!
« Reply #5 on: 23 May 2020, 03:30 am »
I reviewed the thread from last year, I wasn't even at the show but hopefully the next one.
Anyone looking into immersive audio is focused on the height channels. If you have a movie mixed in Atmos its a crap shoot, some of them are mixed kind lame, the don't use the height channels except for maybe 20 minutes in a 2 hour movie for things like thunder, planes, explosion. If you use the upmixer like DSU or Auro 3D it is more consistent and often sounds better. I think wide channels are just as important as height channels and wouldn't set up an immersive HT without them. Atnos and DSU doesn't really use them but you can assign them for the DTs-X upmixer.

As a general rule DAC's in a pre/pro are competent but far from a stand alone DAC for music.
Tommy, how would you compare the differences between the sound of the DAC DAC vs the Storm processor for music?

AmpDesigner333

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Re: SOA+ DAC= WOW!
« Reply #6 on: 29 May 2020, 02:55 am »
Do you use the Storm processor like the one in the show in your showroom or at home? The interesting thing about that processor to me is that it is card based. When you need to upgrade you just upgrade the card instead of buying a new processor.
Great product, but I don’t have a Storm processor (yet) due to cost.

AmpDesigner333

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Re: SOA+ DAC= WOW!
« Reply #7 on: 29 May 2020, 03:00 am »
I reviewed the thread from last year, I wasn't even at the show but hopefully the next one.
Anyone looking into immersive audio is focused on the height channels. If you have a movie mixed in Atmos its a crap shoot, some of them are mixed kind lame, the don't use the height channels except for maybe 20 minutes in a 2 hour movie for things like thunder, planes, explosion. If you use the upmixer like DSU or Auro 3D it is more consistent and often sounds better. I think wide channels are just as important as height channels and wouldn't set up an immersive HT without them. Atnos and DSU doesn't really use them but you can assign them for the DTs-X upmixer.

As a general rule DAC's in a pre/pro are competent but far from a stand alone DAC for music.
Tommy, how would you compare the differences between the sound of the DAC DAC vs the Storm processor for music?
We had no issues with the sound of the Storm processor, but beating the performance of a 130dB+ DAC DAC 2 HS/V is a pretty tall order!!  Not sure if their DACs are DC coupled.  Here are the specs they list:
https://www.stormaudio.com/produit/isp-mk2/

No mention of DC coupling, SNR, THD, etc.