Review: Channel Islands D100 mono blocks Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

The following review may seen simplistic to most and that's because it is! I thought about putting together a review about the Channel Islands D100's that titilated and evoked some kind of emotion but I can't, so I will not try ( I would hate to bore my fellow Audiogoners). So here goes.
What gives? Its just another amp. Why bother reviewing it? Well, at least that's what I have said about all of the other pieces of gear that I have owned in the past. However, I truely do feel that these little music makers are just cause for me to add my two cents.
My musical tastes are fairly broad (Blues, Jazz (all kinds), Classic Rock, Classical (Baroque mostly), getting into Country to). Thats right Cowboy, Country! God forgive me.
Anyway, when I first hooked up these very unassuming monos I was swept off my feet. I couldn't belive that these bad boys possessed the tone of a great tube amp and the control and perceived speed of a competent solid state amp. Holy crap Dusty. You did it! My wife thought I was talking to someone on the phone. I may have even got excited enough to stand up and salute but you get the point.
It was John Hammond off the Wicked Grin CD that started the festivities. The room ambiance was captured as well as I have heard it on on any tube amp. Bass was clean, articulate and deep. Mid bass attack was spot on. Vocals were superb. The mids are actually what caught my attention most. John Hammonds voice was powerful, deep and precise. I say precise because I have seen him twice at the Turning Point. I was just ten feet away. The D100's got the vocals right. End of story.
Come on, say it isnt so. Well smarty, how about the highs? Can they be that good also? Yep! Clear, smooth and extended. Listening to some triangles and xylophone confirmed this. Gary Burton and Chic Corea on the New Duos are great test bed for any systems highs. Ouch!!
Resolution and transparency, what about us? We were there also, werent we? Yup! There in spades. Amazing! The D100's are very transparent. Dave Weckel's Live and Very Plugged In demonstrated just how transparent and resolute these amps were. I could actually tell what type of skins and cymbals Dave Weckle was using. Track 4 on the second CD has a drum solo by Dave Weckle that puts you in the drivers seat. I felt like I was at the show. I guess I was in a way. Resolution without edge are what these amps really excell at.
Well, I am going to cut it short because I am tired and not good at this. I think my message will get across. Anyway, I am not claiming that these amps are the best in the world. I have actually heard better. However, the average Audiogoner (like me) will not be able to afford $5,000 for an amp alone. Not to mention I know of a few $5,000 amps that arent as good as the D100's. The true beauty of Dusty's D100's is that they are near state of the art at an affordable price. They open the door to the future of audio. If these amps get any better, I think we will see Dusty from Channel Island Audio on a High End Audio Wanted Poster. Thanks Dusty. Keep up the great work. I can't wait till his new filterless DAC comes out. Delicious!

Associated gear
Consonance CD 120 (modified as transport)
North Star DAC 192
Channel Island Passive
Channel Island D100 monos
Audio Physic Tempo IIIi's
Silver Audio Cabling throughout (Silver Symphony speaker cables, Appassionata interconnects x 2, Power Burst AC cords)

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Thanks for taking the time to write your review. Short, simple, sweet and to the point. I agree, Dusty has some great values that many people over look because of the simplicity of design and cost. To bad they don't know what they are missing.
Best regards…
Great review. I too am a happy D-100 owner after making the following journey:

ASL Hurricane tube monos >> ASL 845 tube monos >> JJAZ ICE >>Audio Zone AMP-2 monos >> NuForce Ref 8 >> CIA D-100s.

Both the NuForces and the CIAs represent remarkable performance for the price. Being a long-time tube guy, I found the CIAs came closest to mimicing that sonic signature, while improving on frequency extension at both extremes. Midrange performance and soundstaging were the key differentiators for me in my system.

BTW, Dan Wright of Modwright is a BIG fan of the D-200s.