Review: Digital Amplifier Company - Cherry Amplifier Amplifier
Distortion in music reproduction bothers me. It takes away from my enjoyment. A clean precise reproduction of a note or word from whence it came excites me. The "Cherry Amp" from Digital Amplifier Company excites me. This is a piece of equiptment that when added to my system it made me want to listen to my entire music collection all over again. It is like switching from a cone to an electrostat or a first generation cd player to a high end Sacd player.
Power in my system had been coming from a pair of Cary slam 100 monoblocks and a DAC 4800a ($3600 from digital amp). After listening to a pair of Apogee Caliper Signatures I felt I needed more to open them up. In comes the "Cherry" amp. While waiting I listened to my tube amps exclusively to give myself a solid reference point.
Right out of the box it is impressive. The front panel is Cherry red and minimalist in its design. It is heavy for its size, very solid, no wasted air inside this chassis. Set up is easy.
I love a female voice. First up "Spanish Harlem" sung by Rebecca Pigeon. The disc is "The worlds Greatest Audiophile Vocal Recordings" prodused by Chesky records. A solo bass starts out, each note is defined and clear. Rebeccas voice chimes in, she is there full bodied with plenty of depth. Percussion followed by strings and then piano. Every note is distinct with good placement on the stage. A wonderful recording and this amp laid it out beautifully.
Piano is very difficult to reproduce. The keys, the way they are touched and the after sound can be captured. This is where some ss amps have accuracy but lose the felling. Each note feels hollow. I start with Red Rose recordings of "In a sentimental mood" and " Misty". Then on to George Winstons "Autumn" and finally The Grande Piano Concert by Rick Wakeman. Each artist uses a different piano. The clarity and warmth of each can be distinguished. When a finger slowly touches and releases a key it is there. This I have missed in my tube amps. Even though they sound warm and full they sometimes do not bring out a soft hidden sound. The Cherry did. Tract 4 on Red Rose "Recitative in Scherzo for solo Violin" sounds so different. The violin has fullness and not a hint of screech.
So far the recordings are not complicated. They point to the accuracy of reproduction that an amp needs to perform. I have been playing the volume at low to moderate. Now on to some more complicated pasages.
Tract 2 from Ottmar Liebert + Luna Negra's disc "Viva" is entitled Buddhas Flower. It has a very deep soundstage. In the background are "peepers". My solid states and tubes have all faired well with this passage. But with the Cherry the peepers are very clear. They do not overwhelm any part of the music but they are distinct in each peep and stand out more. Very nice. Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite", Tchaikovsky's "1812 overture" and "Fanfare for the Common Man" are demanding pieces. The first two have passages that requirre an amp to put out power immediately and go back to quiet then more power. Different instruments jump in and out. Quite a workout for the Conductor as well. Fanfare has some very low rolling percussions that if not delivered with clean power will buckle a speaker. I had experienced this with both sets of speakers. But not when they were being powered by the Cherry. Even Dagda "Druids in the Glen" is phenominal.
Throughout the listening I have been using the Apogee Caliper Signatures. The room is 22 x 24. They are 3 ft from the back wall and 2 ft from the side wall. At high volumes I detected no stain on the amp or deterioration in the sound. This cannot be said for the other amps. They either heated up and could not power the Calipers for long periods or they introduced distotion and did not open up the speakers.
Next I switched the speakers to my Quad 22L2's. These are a two and a half box speaker. They have a rear port and are therefor placed 18 inches away from the back wall. The one problem I have had is in the low end. It has been boomy. Low notes are muddled. I attributed it to the room acoustics. I just have not been able to get their placement right. I ran the previous selections through and was amazed at what I heard. The Cherry amp opened up the quads. Obviously the amp has more power than they can handle but the speakers blossomed. The low end was deep and clear. I even threw in some Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon". The high was not tinny but crisp. Prior to the Cherry I thought of these Quads as a good box speaker but still a box. Now they have an airy quality up high and a firmness down low. There sound stage is wider. I enjoy listening to them. Something I could not say when they were hooked up to my other amps.
This is my first amp costing over $5000. It is worth it. I am delighted with the improvement in my system. My Apogees and Quads have been opened up. The clarity of the Apogees at high volumes is impressive with the Cherry amp. At low volumes depth and fullness is present. The sound stage is wide and deep and each instrument has its place. The Cherry Amp from Digital Amp Company has increased my enjoyment of music and my other equipment. I highly reccommend this amp.http://www.digitalamp.com/
Source-Shanling T200a Sacd
Preamp- Bel Canto pre3
Speakers- Apogee Caliper Signature
Conrad Johnson cav50
Cary Slam 100s