Audio Research's Model T

Audio Research Corporation is often considered one of the greybeards of the hi-fi business, having begun its audiophile life way back in 1970. Even so, the company, often noted for its tube equipment, is proving that it can still make a run at the cutting edge of amplifier design.

ARC has now put into production the new 150M Modular Multichannel Power Amplifier, first hinted at during the January 2003 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and which incorporates the Tripath TA0105A Class-T digital audio amplifier driver. Tripath has established itself in audio circles as the creator of one-bit Delta Sigma Digital Audio Amplifiers and the Digital Power Processing circuit topology.

According to Audio Research, the market for multichannel power amplifiers is "crowded, competitive, and compromised." ARC's Graham Wright notes, "Most conventional designs have shortcomings in terms of size, heat, or, most importantly, sonic performance. Audio Research waited to enter this market until the technology to break through these compromises was fully developed."

Tripath publically announced its class-T approach to amplification back in 1998, and rapidly developed applications for both home and car. Kal Rubinson reviewed the Bel Canto eVo 200.2 power amplifier based on the technology in March of 2001 and was favorably impressed, prompting Stereophile to assign it a Class A designation for "Recommended Components."

Wright adds that his company's selection of the TA0105A lends further validation to the application of Tripath's class-T amplifiers in "precision, high-fidelity audio equipment, where it is imperative to meet the most challenging sonic or sound criteria." ARC's Terry Dorn adds that class-T technology "has enabled our engineers to accomplish the previously unthinkable, a real-world multichannel audio amplifier in a modular format holding up to seven channels with ample power, rock-solid stability, high efficiency (low heat generation), and, most importantly, the natural sonics and musical dynamics for which Audio Research power amps have always been noted."

ARC joins Bel Canto and a long list of consumer electronics manufacturers including Aiwa, APEX, Apple, Denon, Hitachi, Onkyo, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Toshiba as Tripath customers. Tripath's Adya S. Tripathi considers the addition of Audio Research "another important design win" for his company, noting that its technology is gaining acceptance across a broad range of consumer electronics market applications including plasma and flat panel TVs, multichannel home entertainment systems, mini/micro component systems, and gaming, as well as personal computers.