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April 2020
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

Digital Amplifier Company 2-CHerry Power Amplifier
The light amp that packs a heavy punch!
Review By Frank Garofalo

 

Digital Amplifier Company 2-CHerry Power Amplifier Review

 

  My time as an audiophile to date, I've always had the impression that Class D amplification is just simply inferior to Class A or Class A/B amplification. That impression was influenced by educating myself in the various topics of audio, and through lurking on many online forums. Reading through these forums about topics, including the different amplifier topologies, it became very clear that some audiophiles see Class D in a bad light. Many claim that Class D amplifiers cannot sound musical or lifelike, and that "decent" Class D amplifiers pale in comparison to any Class A or A/B amplifier. The consensus from most seemed to be that Class D has no place in delivering quality sonics to audiophile ears. While this may be true for common off-the-shelf modules that may be found in A/V receivers and the like, this is certainly not the case for the 2-CHerry Power Amplifier.

 

Set Apart
The 2-CHerry, like all the other products from Digital Amplifier Company, was designed from the ground up by Tommy O'Brien of Digital Amplifier Company. No prefab modules or amplifier chips from another company are to be found inside the 2CHerry. In most cases, those off-the-shelf modules are designed for high volume, mass-market applications where great sonics and musicality may not be a priority of the designer. In this case, the 2-CHerry houses two, and upwards of five, Maraschino monoblock boards that were designed by Tommy with superior sonics in mind. Most importantly, they must be musical! If you would like to read more about Tommy, and the history of Class D with his approach to designing, please read the late Jeremy Kipnis' interview with Tommy at Enjoy the Music.com's partner magazine Positive Feedback.

 

Digital Amplifier Company 2-CHerry Power Amplifier Review

 

The x-CHerry started as the mini-MEGAschino, a more affordable version of the MEGAschino with the same power supply but with Maraschino modules instead of MEGAschino boards. You may read the late Jeremy Kipnis's review on the MEGAschino here. As development progressed, Tommy realized that the product in development was more similar to the Maraschino, circuitry wise than the MEGAschino. The name then changed from mini-MEGAschino to mini-CHerry. Tommy was then encouraged by the customers of Digital Amplifier Company to make a five-channel version of the mini-CHerry for use in home theaters. Tommy listened to his customers' suggestions, giving them exactly what they wanted in the form of the x-CHerry. The x-CHerry can be configured as a 2-CHerry, 3-CHerry, 4-CHerry or 5-CHerry depending on the number of channels you need in either a standard or KING version. The KING version adds a black or red anodized brushed aluminum faceplate with WBT binding posts and double rail capacitance on all channels.

Their two to five Maraschino boards, depending on configuration, are fed by their 1kW 60V power supply. This provides a total maximum power output of 1000 Watts regardless of the number of channels. A convenient and practical feature of the x-CHerry is their channel-independent sleep mode, where a channel will shut off if it hasn't detected any signal after a couple of minutes of silence (more than eight minutes, actually). Their 5-CHerry can be connected to a five-channel surround system playing, and so stereo music will turn off the center and side/rear channels while the stereo channels continue playing music. What's great about the x-CHerry is that it is DC coupled end-to-end, which results in a zero bass phase shift. Truly balanced XLR inputs are found on the x-CHerry, adapters are included if you prefer single-ended / unbalanced RCA. Not only is the x-CHerry built by hand in Allentown, Pennsylvania, all components such as the enclosures, wire harnesses, and PCBs are sourced locally from within the north-east region. The specific configuration being reviewed is the 2-CHerry KING version.

 

Digital Amplifier Company 2-CHerry Power Amplifier Review

 

When receiving the 2-CHerry, I found that the amplifier was accompanied by a branded bag, ink pen, and extra-large t-shirt. While I wear small, I still appreciated the effort to make us reviewers feel special. Out of the box, the build is nice and solid; the anodized brushed aluminum faceplate is a great touch and would be necessary if you don't want to look at a black box all day. My only complaint about the build is that the loudspeaker wire binding posts are very close to the inputs. This could be a problem for those who use spade connectors on their loudspeaker wire. The again, this isn't that big of a deal considering you could simply connect your spades from above the binding posts.

 

Digital Amplifier Company 2-CHerry Power Amplifier Review

 

Digital Amplifier Company's 2-CHerry At Work
My expectations were slightly influenced by past experiences with other Class D amplifiers, which was an inexpensive receiver that left much to be desired. I stayed open-minded and let the gear speak for itself, quite literally. Let me start by saying that out of the box, the first attribute that immediately became apparent was how low the noise floor was. This amplifier has an impressive signal-to-noise of 118dB. My first day with the 2-CHerry was quite a day for listening, as the music continued into the night without my notice. Harshness and fatigue were nowhere to be found with the 2-CHerry. The unique sound of the 2-CHerrywas sweet, smooth, and inviting while still retaining a great level of detail and clarity. Music was clear throughout all volume levels.

As a musician myself, I inherently know whether something sounds natural or distorted. As my primary instrument is the piano, the natural timbre of a piano is something that I'm very familiar with. The 2-CHerry is natural and musical too! It can reproduce the inherent sound of a grand piano with confidence. When listening to the 2-CHerry, everything just seems right and how it should be. Instruments aren't cluttered, they exist within their own space. It is most impressive how well the 2-CHerry images too! When listening to "All Your Love" by Sara K. on the album Water Falls via TIDAL, the guitar occupies a solid presence boundless within its own space. The 2-CHerry presents everything encapsulated within a given recording with authority.

 

 

The 2-Cherry is a very dynamic amplifier; it was the second thing that was noticed after the incredibly low noise floor during the first listen. Explosive dynamics may be the result of the massive amount of low distortion power. THD+N at 0.002% and a power rating of 200 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms are the exact ratings. Every single note had a seamless and natural path from attack to sustain and then decay. Bass is delivered with great speed and impact! I am sure the end-to-end DC coupling, combined with a great deal of clean power, is to thank for producing excellent bass. Mid and upper ranges were something special as well. They were pure and not analytical, lifelike even. The level of detail and clarity paired with great dynamics, imaging, and sense of rhythm was just simply amazing! No harshness, fatigue, or coldness ever existed within the music that the 2-CHerry reproduced.

Soundscape was firm, layered, and extended past the walls of my room. While playing the track "Worried Woman" by Andrew Cyrilleon [Lebroba LP], I heard natural horns accompanied by the subtle taps of drums appearing and disappearing seamlessly and precisely within the soundscape. You know when you are going about your day far away from your stereo or without headphones / IEMs, and you sort of playback songs in your head? If you are like me, you might try to imagine that song sounding "perfect" in your mind. A play of Roger Water's Amused to Death on TIDAL sounded almost as how I'd imagined it would in a close to perfect environment. Every sound coming from just the right places within the soundscape. Everything that the 2-CHerry does so well comes together to result in a blissfully immersive listening experience no matter what song, genre or artist is playing.

 

CHerry On Top
Digital Amplifier Company's 2-CHerry is quite the performer in all audio performance categories, with its unique sound that is sure to charm many as it did with me. It's already a great stereo amplifier, so it would be no surprise to me that the x-CHerry happens to be one of the best multi-channel amplifiers available today. It is safe to say that this amplifier is, in fact, a valuable deal for those looking for a powerful amplifier that is detailed, clean, and transparent while also producing smooth and natural sound too. I loved the way it powered my Martin Logan ESLs. Digital Amplifier Company's 2-CHerry seemed to improve the dynamics of my ESL's to a great degree! It can be said with certainty that the 2-CHerry and electrostatic loudspeakers make a wonderful pairing. This amplifier does well with all genres of music and handles poorly recorded / mastered music well.

There is without a doubt a stigma that surrounds Class D amplifiers in the minds of some enthusiasts. If you are one of those people who believe that Class D amplifiers absolutely cannot be musical or sound lifelike, I'm certain that you will change your mind upon listening to one of Digital Amplifier Company's amplifiers. Simply put, this is an amplifier that is musical and lifelike! It's a great example of just how good Class D amplifiers can sound, and I will without a doubt miss Digital Amplifier Company's 2-CHerry when I send it back.

 

 

 

Reference System
Speakers: Martin Logan ElectroMotion ESL, KEF R5
Amplification: Ayre V-5xe, Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum ii
Pre-Amplification: Ayre K-5xeMP
DAC: T+A Music Player, Geshelli Labs Enog2 Pro
Phono: EAR 834p
Source: Project Debut Carbon with an Ortofon Rondo Red cartridge, PC with Foobar2000 & Tidal
Cables: Nirvana Audio S-L series interconnects and speaker cable
Surround Processor: Marantz SR7012
Subs: KEF KF92, SVS SB1000
Room:12' 6" x 13' 8" x 10' 2" (WxDxH)

 

Tonality

Sub–bass (10Hz – 60Hz)

Mid–bass (80Hz – 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz – 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth

Soundscape Extension Into Room

Imaging

Fit And Finish

Self Noise

Value For The Money

 

 

Specifications
Type: Class D solid-state stereo power amplifier.
Frequency Response: 0 Hz to >100 kHz
Output Power per channel:
    200 Wpc into 8 Ohm
    400W into 4 Ohm
    800W into 2 Ohm
    1000W max total output
Gain: 22dB
SNR: 118dB
THD+N: 0.002%
Channel Separation; >100dB
Weight (preliminary, 5-CHerry): 12 lbs standard, 15 lbs KING version.
Size: 14.2" x 10.3" x 4.6" standard
       17.0" x 10.1" x 4.5" KING version
Power Efficiency: 96%
Output Impedance: <0.02 Ohm
Sensitivity: 3.1V in for 400 Watts into 4 Ohm
Input Impedance: 20 kOhm true balanced
Protection: Thermal, current, voltage, and features Auto-Recovery.
Price as reviewed: $2990

Standard Version:
2-CHerry $2490
3-CHerry $2690
4-CHerry $2890
5-CHerry $3090

KING Version:
2-CHerry $2990
3-CHerry $3190
4-CHerry $3390
5-CHerry $3590

 

 

Company Information
Digital Amplifier Company

Voice: (855) 753-0900
E-mail: Support@DigitalAmp.com  
Website: www.CHerryAmp.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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