From The Editor....
It's super green and super clean. A massively powerful amplifier that you can lift with one hand, consumes little power, does not run hot and represents cutting edge audio technology. The SA-01 reviewed on p22 is difficult to believe, it is so far away from the norm and so apparently the future of audio amplification. At a cost of just £588 in the form we reviewed. If the UK was part of the EU and they got serious about trying to curb inefficient audio then valve amplifiers would be legislated against and we would all be left using amplifiers like the SA-01.
This is a nightmare. The nightmare is that choice will be denied us, rather than the SA-01 is somehow inadequate. Quite the reverse: the SA-01 was disarmingly smooth and intriguing in its own way: why should we not all be using such amplifiers? KJF Audio do a great job in presenting advanced Class D technology in user friendly form. Our measurements show clearly just how refined Class D amplifiers are becoming. Possibly the future then, whether we like it or not!
Whilst Hypex modules and B&O's Icepower might define future amplifier space, the past still has pull. Nothing seems able to stop the re-adoption of LP and I guess you could put it down to sentimentality – that lovely warm sound of yesteryear. Evocative of smoky bars and romantic scenes free of edgy overtones – "play it again Sam". I mean sonic edgy overtones here of course, not the historical ones behind Casablanca.
Truth is, LP today is far from warm and at times not romantic either. It lacks the gritty edge of poor digital and is more dynamically engaging that's for sure, but as LP replay equipment advances the gap between analogue and digital closes. Ortofon's latest 2M Black LVB 250 moving magnet cartridge you can read about on p66, is as sonically accurate as CD and technologically advanced too. Warm and cuddly? No. Add in the advantage of balanced connection to the phono stage, explained on p73, and the result is a sound that is more than a challenge for the best digital.
I hope you enjoy reading about these cutting edge technologies in our April 2021 issue. It only gets better.