Technics SE-R1 Digital Amplifier

Technics displayed their Reference Series product line at CES 2017. While the New York Times recently focused on the introduction of the company's SL-1200G coreless-motor direct-drive turntable ($4,000), my interest focused on Technics' 188-lb, $17,000 SE-R1 digital amplifier, which I heard powering their SB-R1 3.5-way floorstanding speakers. Bill Voss, Technics' Business Development Manager, explained that the SE-R1 is rated at 300Wpc into 4 ohms (the load impedance of the SB-R1 speakers). The amplifier uses a pulse-width modulation circuit, a high-precision sample-rate converter for suppressing jitter, and a gallium nitride FET driver with very low output impedance to drive loudspeakers. In addition, the amplifier employs their proprietary load adaptive phase calibration (LAPC) to measure the amplifier's phase characteristics with each speaker it drives to achieve a flatter frequency response. Although the SE-R1's huge twin output meters and beautiful anodized-aluminum finish were visually distracting, the marketing of a class-D amplifier as a separate high-end component was important. This amplifier delivered some of the best reproduced sound at CES 2017. I persuaded Bill Voss to rip the contents of my copy of Rutter's Requiem to his media server's solid-state drive. The broad and deep soundstage, imaging, upper midrange detail, and bass extension were thrilling during the system's rendition of "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace" and "Pie Jesu." I appreciated the work done by the Technics staff to prepare their exhibit suite with recessed sound-absorbing panels. I left wanting to hear more.

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

@Larry Greenhill

What were the upper/mids/highs like Larry, Class-D's Achilles heel?

Cheers George

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