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Switched On: The Future of Amplification

Bel Canto Design e.One PRe3 Preamp and e.One S300 Amp
Sunfire TGA 7200 Amplifier
Bob Carver of Sunfire

When it comes to amplifying the music that comes out of our various discs, MP3 players, tapes and laptops, we’ve advanced leagues beyond the simple megaphonelike trumpet Edison used to amplify “Mary Had a Little Lamb” as it screeched forth from his early cylinders.

Going full circle from tubes to transistors and, for many, back to tubes, we are now poised on the threshold of a new generation of amplifiers. Most of these are based on the super-fast on/off switching-around 500,000 times per second-of an electrical current to re-create the musical waveform. Because digital information is stored via a similar concept-the zeros and ones of digital processing and recording represent turning a switch on or off, albeit in complex combinations-this genre of amplifier is often referred to as a “digital amp,” which is not really an accurate term but is still commonly used. They aren’t brand new, either-Infinity was selling a form of switching amp as far back as the late 1970s.

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