Threshold Audio Announces New Amp, Preamp

Making good on a promise reported back in December of last year, Threshold Audio has returned the Threshold brand to the market with a new stereo power amplifier.

Dubbed the Stasis 7.0, the amplifier is a 100Wpc/8 ohms, class-A powerhouse based on the T200 design. The first production units were shipped "to a major recording label headquartered in New York," stated company principal Chris English. "We are now in full production of the Stasis 7.0, and ready to accept orders." Retail price is $7000.

Owners of original T200s can have their amplifiers brought up to Stasis 7.0 level at Threshold's factory. The basic upgrade consists of removal of both left and right output stages and replacement with Stasis 7.0 equivalents, plus some modifications to the amp's front end. "We sought to maintain a family resemblance between the new amp and the old ones," English explained. "But all the good qualities—stage, space, detail—have been improved." Threshold T200 amps with inoperative output stages are good candidates for this treatment; the original insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) are no longer available. Cost for the basic T200 repair/upgrade is $1800 USD, plus freight to and from the Threshold factory in Houston. Units undergoing this treatment will have a six months parts/90 days labor warranty.

A second—and probably preferable—option is a $3200 full upgrade to a Stasis 7.0, which includes "full operating and cosmetic appearance of the Stasis 7.0 power amp." This upgrade retains only the basic chassis and power transformer, and includes "extensive electrical rework of the amp, power supply and front end circuit and installation of new output stages with the proprietary Stasis design." Amps undergoing the full upgrade will be given new serial numbers and will carry three-year warranties. The price does not include shipping to and from Houston.

Design work on a 200Wpc "performance" stereo amplifier is almost completed, according to English, who says Threshold hopes to have it and a pair of monoblock amplifiers on the market by late summer or early fall. The company will announce a new preamp in August, and is currently refining designs on a second preamp, intended as a replacement for the original T2, expected later in the fall.

While getting established, Threshold Audio examined the idea of re-creating the Threshold Corporation dealer network. However, the market has changed in the intervening years, according to English: "Now it makes more sense to deal with customers directly. Although we will be happy to work with former Threshold dealers if customers prefer, it's more efficient for us and for them to work directly." Although Threshold Audio, Inc. owns the patents, designs, logos, and other intellectual property of Threshold Corporation, the two are legally separate entities, English emphasized.

Threshold Audio successfully partnered with Houston-based Nova Audio in the design of a self-powered monitor loudspeaker, the Applause S, which debuted at the 2001 Consumer Electronics Show. Aimed at the professional market, the $15,000/pair Applause S has also won praise from home theater fans "who want performance and power without the clutter of fat cables and multiple amps," English commented. The two companies will continue building products that work equally well in the recording studio or in the home, he said.

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