The Black AMP makes your headphones come alive. What goes on between your ears is one of life’s very special rewards. It is a passionate illusion that only you can have. The Black AMP enhances that illusion through the rendering of exquisite layering and separation of instruments, quick and precise attack with no lingering decay, incredible detail, and resolving power in rendering music. A clear, wide-open sound without harshness or fatigue. The Black AMP presents each musical voice in precise detail, magnifying the impact of the overall music presentation. A unique quality of the Black AMP is its enhancement of spatial definition creating a full but specific soundscape upon which the sonic events are placed as they would be in the real world. It makes headphones more fun to listen to. The Black AMP is also a system control center providing the selection of up to three sources offering both single-ended and balanced inputs and a Master level control.
Input selection three sources
Illumination Level (rear)
Balanced XLR Output (front XLR-4)
TRS Phone Output (front 1/4″ phone)
Balanced Input (rear XLR-3) Unbalanced Input (rear RCA)
AAWLink (rear XLR-4)
True Balanced Topology
The remarkable sound of the Black Amp is based on these technolgy philosophies:
Current rather than voltage domain operation to create power gain. The Black Amp is a fully Complimentary-Symmetric Class-A, Current Carrier Technology Headphone amplifier. This gives us speed and consistant linearity with frequency resuling in extraordinary detail, fast dynamics, and precise resolution.
No feedback and a unique bi-directional current drive system. The amplifier does not try to control the transducers, be they coil or planar technologies. It simply drives them in their natural current mode of operation so as not to ‘force’ the music out of them but rather let them render the music naturally. The Black AMP offers both push and pull electrical current carrying audio information through the headphones, letting them act as true transducers reproducing sound with unaltered timbre.
Topology – The Black AMP is four independent, no feedback, current mode power amplifiers configured as two truly balanced mono-block power amplifiers. Each channel operates on its own with no internal commingling of any of the four audio information signals or processes. Eliminating common ground gets rid of signaling contamination due to electrical and magnetic field interactions between the channels. Everything is floated above ground in a truly balanced environment.
Key Empowering Concepts
Feedback is not good. It means taking some of the output and subtracting from the input in an active dynamic loop. In the voltage mode transitors display a phase or time shift as the frequency goes up. This means that the output is not really in sync with the input and gets more out of sync as the frequency goes up. You see this as rising distortion in the amplifiers. In addition, anything that changes in the load impedance or any stored return energy creates new signals at the input that are not part of the original music stream. The quality and timbre of the music changes on the fly.
By employing current mirrors with matched complementary symmetric transistors in their natural Class-A current mode we get linearity, low noise, and ultra-high bandwidth without feedback. In the Black Amp only the original pure music signal is passed through the amplifier to the load.
Distortion that changes with frequency sucks the life out of the music. This is the result of feedback. The Black AMP circuitry has a consistent performance character from octaves well below to octaves well above the 11 octaves of the audio band. This means no changes in phase, amplitude, or distortion over the entire audio range as the frequency goes up.
With standard amplifier design the distortion level changes with frequency; meaning that the amplifier is really a different amplifier to the load, speaker or headphone, at each musical note or frequency in the audio band. The low frequency harmonics and thus timbre are different than high-frequency harmonics and timbre. Literally, the load, speaker or headphone, interacts with a different amplifier at different frequencies thus timbre changes with musical pitch.
In the Black AMP the harmonic structures are treated the same at all frequencies, the timbre is not modulated by the frequency.
Output drive to headphones is very special – moving coil or planar – all headphones are pure electro-mechanical transducers. They don’t store energy as do speakers – they are about ampere-turns and magnet fields. This means they work on current flow rather than voltage potential. The current sourcing and sinking output of the Black Amp drives all headphones as they should be, in their natural current mode. Current mode gain and output allows us to design while avoiding feedback. This eliminates the dynamic music ‘muddling’ sonic signature found in all other amplifiers. The Black Amp gets the right gain, the right drive, and the right sound.
Active power supply – Power from your house mains can be pretty gnarly and has a deleterious effect on the sonic output of a power amplifier.
The Black AMP employs active capacity multipliers to clean up and stabilize the power supply. Superior to active voltage regulation for current amplifiers, they don’t employ voltage feedback to control the power supply but instead do it naturally in the current mode.
Your headphones are the last link in the musical chain between information stored in time and the ‘now of your life as a listener’. This permits those headphones to do their best job of moving air to bring an illusion alive in your head. An amplifier that adds nothing but power and takes away nothing. This is the passion of the Black AMP.
The Black AMP is now on review tour with SBAF, read the reviews at https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/aaw-black-amp-impressions-thread.10693/