Audio Engeenering Components
The AEC Group, as audiophiles, engineers, and manufacturers, have studied the problem of high resolution reproduction in audio components. These studies revealed the need for new methods of electronic evaluation, new amplifier circuit concepts, and more refined fabrication techniques.
A NEW WAY TO SEE
The last few years in audio have seen prolific growth in audio amplification equipment. Consumer equipment now exists in which distortion is virtually unmeasurable. Total harmonic and intermodulation distortion tests reveal essentially no differences in high quality equipment, yet audiophiles find that amplifiers and preamplifiers continue to sound different, despite equivalent, low distortion specifications. At this point, we may suspect that known and practiced measuring techniques are failing to reveal differences that we hear and know to exist. We need a new way to see. AEC engineers, following the transient behavior concept, developed a new tool, a new way to see distortion we hear. We discovered that both THD and IMD measurements failed to show how the harmonics were behaving during amplification. These measurements single out particular aspects and measure individual factors, as opposed to measuring distortion mechanisms as the ear does. When all read together in a distortion analyser, these signals tend to cancel themselves out, and read as a lower value than they really are. The error or distortion is present in complex signals and is aurally quite apparent, but remain hidden or imperfectly evaluated in most lab test conditions. For more details read our “Audio Talk” Audio Nirvana.
A NEW WAY TO DESIGN
Armed with this new evaluation tool, AEC engineers were able to explore the problems of amplifier and preamplifier design with a meaningful new yardstick, a new touchstone, yielding truly high resolution audio electronics.
Following the straightforward design concepts of tube and FET characteristics, AEC engineers evolved pure building block amplifier components. These components are capable of unmatched operational characteristics: offering high output, low noise, and unmeasurable distortion. These building blocks, with their integral seamless chassis construction, are the pure forms of a preamplifier, an equalizer, an electronic cross-over, and a master source control center.
The design of the power amplifier opened a whole new “Pandora’s Box” of problems. It became apparent that, although either side of the standard push-pull amplifier is fully competent, the transition zone between the two, the “cross-over” area, is still unsatisfactory, even in systems utilizing high bias or having the bias carried in the drivers. The solution to these problems was conceptually easy but technically sophisticated. We call it pure Class A.
The result is a virtually distortionless amplifier which forces any speaker system to comply with the reality of the program material: a cleaner, tighter, more articulate sound, a higher degree of audio resolution. For more information read: “What is an Amplifier”.
A NEW WAY TO FABRICATE
The engineering approaches evolved by the AEC Group have opened new performance horizons in audio electronics, yet this performance cannot be obtained without rather special considerations in fabrication. The general rules are simple: only the most straightforward techniques can be used along with the highest grade parts and components. The extensive use of metal film resistors, tantalum and silver-mica capacitors, vacuum sealed reed-relays, gold-plated missile-grade printed circuit boards, silver-plated switch contacts, unique high tolerance rotary controls, single piece aluminium sub-chassis, and a high-shielding, test-equipment grade, anodized aluminium case results in audio electronics capable of superlative sonic performance backed by a comprehensive 7 years warranty.
There are several ways to construct anything, from a highly specified and repeatable amplifier to the quintessential audio and video component. To do either requires time and precision, and a highly talented technical stuff. We used artists on our electronic equipment, the best we could find, for all aspects of music reproduction. Music was the final test in every sense, for us the quintessence of importance.