Power amplifiers

Eigentakt is the current last word in Class D amplifier technology. It marries Class D efficiency and clean output power, low impedance rating, and compact design to vanishingly low harmonic and intermodulation distortion, and negligible output impedance. Apollon Audio’s PET 950 should be the most high-end implementation of it to date.

Funkce a forma


As said, the Apollon Audio PET 950 Monoblock Amplifier is built around 1ET7040SA amplifier modules, the latest from Bruno Putzeys’ Purifi (www.purifi-audio.com), hence “ET” that stands for the Eigentakt. According to the developer, the improvements in sound over its previous version, the 1ET400A, should be expected, as the new module is capable to almost double on current delivery (40A vs 25A for its predecessor), and provides twice as much of output power down to 2 ohms. The input buffer board is based on Weiss OP2-BP Op Amp, and uses linear power supply.

Apollon Audio sell their products through their own website. It has one big advantage: the Apollon PET 950 Monoblock Amplifier is fully configurable, for each unit is made to the future owner’s specification. Thus you can choose the chassis colour (blacks, whites, silvers, as well as any custom colour), type of inputs, type of feet, and even the operation amplifier specs. On top, one can decide to have single-wireable or bi-wireable binding posts. The posts are Apollon’s own high purity copper ones, a beautiful piece of work (see the attached picture). If you want any other posts, like WBTs for instance, Apollon Audio can do it. Ditto for the IEC inlet, which is Furutech by default.

When I unpacked the high gloss black monoblocks, I had a reminiscence of another smooth and flawlessly made amplifier: Rotel Michi. The industrial design was great, with no sharp edges and no extravaganza. The front panel screamed purity, with only the white back-lit logo on it. This amplifier will look decent in all types of interiors. The monolithic unity was broken only by cooling fins on one side of the chassis – it is a monoblock after all. The amplifier was cool after unpacking and it did not get any warmer after one hour of playing; it was a clear proof of the Class D efficiency with minimum thermal losses.

The main power switch was located on the bottom plate, and if you switch off the display (it is dimmable) it is really hard to tell if the amp is on or off. There was no buzz or hum generated inside the amplifier, nor a faintest sound was heard from the speakers, even with my ear pressed to the tweeter. The PET 950 is the quietest amplifier I have ever had in my room. Apollon Audio declares 129dB of signal-to-noise ratio, which seems to be true. The monos are neither bulky nor heavy, each weighs 11kg (another advantage of the Class D), and can deliver 1x 500W into 4 ohms (a half of it into 8 ohms). The gain switch on the rear panel selects one of four gain settings: 12,8/20,5/27,5/29,0dB. The rear panel also hosts an RCA/XLR switch; the other set of inputs is disconnected if not in use.

Nízké frekvence


While I mentioned the recollections of the Rotel Michi as far as the ‘sensorics’ were concerned, sonically the PET 950 took the best of two worlds, Mola Mola (control and purity) and Aavik (analog-like sound). The Apollon’s bass was a good example of it. While Mola Mola (no matter whether the integrated Kula or the Kaluga monos) were super-articulated and studio-dry on bass, the PET 950 provided a ‘wet’ variation of the same. It remained deep, but added punch and warmth by an accent on mid-bass. This was audible in any material I played, including Trouble is a Man (Patricia Barber, SACD, Impex) where the double-bass was pleasantly rich and big, although each note was not represented with the same weight.

Čistota rozlišení


With the Apollon PET950 I have never had an impression of hearing every single nuance of a recording, although the nuances were present and they were audible. The Apollon monos had a sort of understatement in their sound that is usually present in top high-end components, perhaps due to a soft roll-off of high frequencies (or alternatively, due to the absence of emphasis of the treble). The resulting sound was that of silkiness rather than steeliness. This way the amplifiers ameliorated the somewhat too brightly recorded violin of Arabella Steinbacher and her interpretation of Vivaldi´s The Four Seasons (Muenchener Kammerorchester, Pentatone). On the contrary, I wished the reference recordings had a bit more openness and spark. This is a minor quibble, considering the price level of the PET 950s.

Tonální věrnost


The way the Apollon PET 950 sounds can be slightly altered by the sensitivity switch, the gain control I have mentioned few paragraphs earlier. Other power amps, like Accuphase for instance, also provide the gain control, and the manufacturer recommends to use the lowest possible for the cleanest and the most dynamic sound. That is logical, as the amplifier is not pushed to its limits and most of the gain is provided by a preamplifier anyway. Unlike with the Accuphase, I got better sound with the Apollon monoblocks with a max gain setting. When I carefully matched the volume level and compared all the gains, the maximum one provided the best transients and dynamics.

The gain switch provides one useful option: if your speakers are reasonably sensitive and your source provides enough voltage, the switch can be used to control loudness. Of course, this can only come in handy if you are okay with only 4 loudness levels and using a passive preamp for the job is a better option. In any case, one needs to be careful about matching interconnect cables for the Apollon seemed quite sensitive to them. I used all the top-flight signal cables that I had on hand, and the best results were delivered by new AudioQuests (Thunderbird and Dragon), not so new Ansuz Signalz C2, and Krautwire Super Symetric, that seemed to really rock with the PET 950.


Šířka scény
Hloubka scény

The PET 950 is not the Apollon Audio´s catalogue peak. The company offers two peaks at the same time; the PNC 1200 monos represent the other one. Although the PNC 1200 is a similar Class D concept, it employs the newest NCore instead of the Eigentakt. According to the manufacturer, the PNC 1200 should be sonically even better. Is it? Both versions were available, so it was quite easy to compare them head-to-head, in the same loudspeaker configurations. Well, it may be that some listeners will be more thrilled by the PNC 1200, however, in our listening panel, the PET 950 were unequivocally preferred.

If you are out for a perfectionist mono power amplifiers that won’t drill a hole in your wallet, then the Apollon Audio PET 950 may be one of the hottest tips.

Cena v době recenze:150 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

Apollon Audio direct webshop

Připojené komponenty

  • Sources: Ayon CD-35 HF Edition, Accuphase DP-720, xDuoo x10T II
  • Amplifiers: Ayon Epsilon monoblocks, Ayon Epsilon Evo monoblocks, Apollon Audio Hypex NCore PNC1200 monoblocks, Apollon Audio Eigentakt Purifi PET950 monoblocks, TAD M-2500 stereo
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Stealth Audio Metacarbon, Roth Audio IC, Krautwire Super Symetric, AudioQuest Dragon Bass | Zero, Krautwire Numeric Digital, Krautwire MAX-S, Ansuz Signalz C2, AAI Maestoso, AudioQuest Thunderbird, AudioQuest Dragon
  • Loudspeakers: Legacy Audio Whisper XDS, Synergistic Research Black Box, Silent Laboratories - a prototype, TAD Evolution One E1, Sonus Faber Gravis I, Synergistic Research Black Box
  • Power conditioning: Synergistic Research PowerCell SX, Synergistic Research SRX, Nordost QPoint, Roth Audio PC, Block Audio Snakeblock, Shunyata Research Denali, Synergistic Research Atmosphere Level 2, Nordost Qv2, Qk1, AAI Maestoso, Stromtank S-1000



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