Latest Cherry PLUS Review

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Latest Cherry PLUS Review
« on: 12 May 2010, 03:23 am »
We just received this...

I received the amp and it is great! I had the privilege of taking it to a local high-end store and the salesman had not yet heard these amps but he was immediately impressed by the detail. In-store we used the PS Audio perfect wave dac and transport directly connected to the power amp. The speakers were Audio Physic (model unknown). The sounds were very defined. I eventually got it home and this is my initial review. Feel free to put int on your website.


Cherry Plus Review:
In a world where there are literally hundreds of high-end manufacturers one often takes a big chance by buying a product that is relatively unknown and one that you have not heard before. Yes there are reviews to read, opinions, blogs etc, but ultimately you can only judge it when you've heard it in your own room with your own associated equipment.
So I took a chance. Kind of. I've been very happy with the power and control from my two Bel Canto Ref1000 monoblocks. However I felt that it fell short of the flowing musicality of my Simaudio W5LE. To most this will probably not be a surprise. Still I was converted to Class D amps. This happened mainly because of the following; first is the the efficiency and secondly but most importantly is the fact that you are reaching the theoretical limits in terms of direct current and control of the speakers. I'm still an audiophile but I definitely appreciate technology and more importantly the proper application thereof.
Enter the Cherry Plus.
I happened to stumble onto a HiFi news blog from a popular magazine that mentioned that the Cherry Plus was recently released by the Digital Amplifier Co. Never heard of them but then again I never heard of a bunch of other manufacturers either. Anyway I browsed over to their site. I liked what I read. These guys are not simply plopping in B&O modules with a power supply and selling it for a overinflated profit. No these guys are doing things their way. And it shows...or it least plays.
I emailed them and Tommy got back to me real quick. I had a bunch of questions and they were answered with detail in a timely fashion. There was no "voodoo" involved, so often seen in many other manufacturers' online literature.
I decided to take the plunge and buy their top-of-the-line Cherry Plus amp. I received it a few days later, undamaged via UPS ground. Packaging was obviously sufficient to withstand the trip to Canada (and the customs officials).
The amp was surprisingly heavy and well constructed. Most of the weight as expected is from the 1500W transformer. Also this unit, which off course is a stereo amp, weighed considerably more than the two Bel Canto mono's combined. And it's not from the amplifier box/housing. All the goodies are on the inside. The faceplate is done in a appropriately beautiful cherry red hue with angular gaps on the side that makes it easy to lift the amp.
The unit was installed with my Simaudio P5LE as a pre and a Benchmark DAC1 as a dac feeding from my PS3 (used as a transport). All the analog connections were made with balanced cables. The Cherry Plus by the way only accepts XLR Balanced inputs but it does however come with RCA to XLR adapters.
The amp powered up without a fuss and there are three LED's on the inside of the chassis. They are faintly visible as a dim hue through the air vent holes on the top surface of the amp. After about 5 seconds the red LED turned off and the blue and green LED were still on.
As the amp was still cold I was a little hesitant of making any assessments of the music it was producing. But right from the get go the sound was just defined. You could absolutely hear the music in a very detailed, precise and dynamic fashion. This to me is musical nirvana - ample power to drive my Gershman Avant Garde's. Solid but tight bass, fantastically defined mid-range sounds and crystal clear high's that were neither harsh nor rolled-off. As the amp warmed up it was evident that this purchase was indeed justified sight unseen or unheard. I scrambled to get through all my favourite tracks. I don't have any reference recordings per se just music that I like to listen to. And this is what this amp does - it just plays the music. You don't get tired of it. You can happily sit back and read a book with the music in the background and even at low levels the sound remains detailed and refined. I'm sure that his is probably due to the fact that these amps are all termed "ultra linear power amps", meaning that you don't have to get the volume at some optimal level to enjoy the best from you system. No any volume level seems to maintain the ultra defined but still musical sounds flowing from my speakers.
This in retrospect was not a gamble. It is simply a great amp. Some may find it a tad expensive - currently listed at $4999 US. But try and find that kind of power and finesse anywhere else and you will pay more, probably a lot more. They also offer 3 other models that will likely fit the budgets of most budding audiophiles. And the service is personal, the warranty good. Give it a try you will not be disappointed.
This was only day 1 with my new "Cherry" and if this is the first date then I'm in line for passionate relationship for a very long time!

Jacques T