The Black Amp

A Most Delightful Headphone Amplifier

“I even had a full-on eargasm on Bjork’s “Undo”. Here’s my notes from that moment: “Holycrap the heavens opened up and down came all of the angelic voices. Swirling holographic soundstage. Ooh la-la.”

Scott Peterson – Audio Engineering Supervisor 

 The Black AMP offers exquisite layering and separation of instruments, quick and precise attack with no lingering decay. A bright, wide-open sound without harshness or fatigue the BlackAMP renders each musical voice in precisie detail magnifing the impact of the overall music presentation. A unique qualithy of the Black AMP isits enhancement spatial definiiion creating a full but specific sound scape upon which the sonic events are placed as they would be in the real world.

The remarkable sound of the Black Amp is based on three technologoies

Operating in the current rather than voltage domain create power gain. The Black Amp is a fully Complimentary-Symmetric Class-A, Current Carrier Technology Headphone amplifier. This gives us speed and consistiant linearity with frequency resuliing in extraordinary detail, fast dynamics, and precise resolution.

Distortion – as Important as no feedback the fact that the new circuits do not increase in distortion as the frequency goes up.

With standard amplifier design the distortion level changes with frequency so the amplifier is a different amplifier to the load, speaker or headphone, at each frequeny 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, timbre changes with musical pitch.

In AAW amplifiers the harmonic structures are treated the same at all frequencies. Timbre is not modulated by the frequency. For octives well below to well above the audio band the dynamic nature of the amplifier is consistant which makes all the difference when listening to the 11 octives of music we ask our system to reproduce.

Topology, The Black AMP is four independent no feedback, current mode power amplifiers configured as two truly balanced ‘momo-blocks. Each channel operaties on its own with no internal comingeling of any of the four audio information ‘conduits or processes. Eliminating common ground gets rid of signaling contamination due to electircal and magnetic fielding interactions between the channels.

 

Key Issues include

Feeback means taking some of the output and subtracting from the input in kind of 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 frequeny goes up. You see this s rising distortion in the amplifiers distortion graphs. In addition, anything that changes in the load impedance or any stored return energy cretes new signals at the input that are not part of the music stream coming in. The quallity and timbre of the music changes on the fly.

Employing current mirrors with matched complimentary symmetric transistors in their natural 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 – as Important as no feedback the fact that the new circuits do not increase in distortion as the frequency goes up.

With standard amplifier design the distortion level changes with frequency so the amplifier is a different amplifier to the load, speaker or headphone, at each frequeny 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, timbre changes with musical pitch.

In AAW amplifiers the harmonic structures are treated the same at all frequencies. Timbre is not modulated by the frequency. For octives well below to well above the audio band the dynamic nature of the amplifier is consistant which makes all the difference when listening to the 11 octives of music we ask our system to reproduce.

Output drive to headphones is very special – moving coil and planar headphones are pure electro-mechanical transducers. The don’t store energy and they are about ampere-turns in magnet fields meaning they work on current rather than voltage (loudspeakers with crossovers have to be driven in the voltage mode). The current
sourcing and sinking output of the Black Amp drives headphones as they should be, in their natural current mode.

Current mode and output allows us to design while avoiding feedback. This eliminating its dynamic music ‘muddling’ sonic signature so we get the right gain, the right drive, and the right sound.

These are the basic qualities of our amplifier designed for delightful headphone listening.