I had the privilege to spend some time with the first amplifier from a new company, Orchard Audio. Orchard Audio is the result of founder Leo Ayzenshtat’s decades of engineering expertise and consulting work for some of the world’s most advanced companies: NASA, Lockheed Martin, L3 Technologies and Siemens.
After designing products for several elite names in the industry, and obtaining multiple patents, Leo has started Orchard Audio to release his own line of advanced audio products. Leo says, “Anyone can notice the difference in quality, but not everyone will appreciate it. We design our products for those who appreciate excellence in their listening experience.”
Their first amp is called the CRISPIN, and it uses Tommy O’Brien’s Digital Amplifier Company Class-D modules. All vital components of the modules are designed in-house, with everything built in the United States instead of the different prefabricated modules used in many digital amps. You can read the press release on this product launch here.
The CRISPIN puts out 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms, 200 watts into four ohms, a signal to noise ratio of 117db and a frequency response of 0 – 100 kHz. Yes, the specs are great, but we have come to expect that from Class-D amps. Leo says his amp isn’t about getting the most power and best specs in the smallest, lightest amp. That’s obvious, as the amp has a steel enclosure and, as you can see in the picture, it also has a really big transformer. He says that instead of light and small he’s interested in a musical amp that has great sonics.
I recently reviewed Digital Amplifier Company’s DAC DACs; I know that’s a mouth full, but I didn’t name it. In that review, I said that Tommy’s DAC is as “listenable as any digital source I have had in my system.” So, while I have not heard one of Tommy’s Cherry amps, I expected that if an amp used his modules and was implemented well it should sound musical.
Well, this unit must have been implemented very well; it had a very open, clear, transparent, and alive sound. There is a top-to-bottom balance that makes the amp addicting. At no time when listening to his amp did I ever say to myself, “This is a great amp for a Class-D amp.” Instead, I just kept thinking what a great amp it was.
Currently, CRISPIN is only available through Orchard Audio’s Kickstarter project. The amp is due to be ready for the market by the end of the year and at that time I look forward to doing a complete review of the CRISPIN, but for now, I can tell you this is a very wonderful sounding amp. Stay tuned for the complete review.