Digital Amplifier Company 2-CHerry Power Amplifier
My time as an audiophile to date, I've always had the impression that Class D amplification is just simply inferior to Class A or Class A/B amplification. That impression was influenced by educating myself in the various topics of audio, and through lurking on many online forums. Reading through these forums about topics, including the different amplifier topologies, it became very clear that some audiophiles see Class D in a bad light. Many claim that Class D amplifiers cannot sound musical or lifelike, and that "decent" Class D amplifiers pale in comparison to any Class A or A/B amplifier. The consensus from most seemed to be that Class D has no place in delivering quality sonics to audiophile ears. While this may be true for common off-the-shelf modules that may be found in A/V receivers and the like, this is certainly not the case for the 2-CHerry Power Amplifier.
The x-CHerry started as the mini-MEGAschino, a more affordable version of the MEGAschino with the same power supply but with Maraschino modules instead of MEGAschino boards. You may read the late Jeremy Kipnis's review on the MEGAschino here. As development progressed, Tommy realized that the product in development was more similar to the Maraschino, circuitry wise than the MEGAschino. The name then changed from mini-MEGAschino to mini-CHerry. Tommy was then encouraged by the customers of Digital Amplifier Company to make a five-channel version of the mini-CHerry for use in home theaters. Tommy listened to his customers' suggestions, giving them exactly what they wanted in the form of the x-CHerry. The x-CHerry can be configured as a 2-CHerry, 3-CHerry, 4-CHerry or 5-CHerry depending on the number of channels you need in either a standard or KING version. The KING version adds a black or red anodized brushed aluminum faceplate with WBT binding posts and double rail capacitance on all channels.
Their two to five Maraschino boards, depending on configuration, are fed by their 1kW 60V power supply. This provides a total maximum power output of 1000 Watts regardless of the number of channels. A convenient and practical feature of the x-CHerry is their channel-independent sleep mode, where a channel will shut off if it hasn't detected any signal after a couple of minutes of silence (more than eight minutes, actually). Their 5-CHerry can be connected to a five-channel surround system playing, and so stereo music will turn off the center and side/rear channels while the stereo channels continue playing music. What's great about the x-CHerry is that it is DC coupled end-to-end, which results in a zero bass phase shift. Truly balanced XLR inputs are found on the x-CHerry, adapters are included if you prefer single-ended / unbalanced RCA. Not only is the x-CHerry built by hand in Allentown, Pennsylvania, all components such as the enclosures, wire harnesses, and PCBs are sourced locally from within the north-east region. The specific configuration being reviewed is the 2-CHerry KING version.
When receiving the 2-CHerry, I found that the amplifier was accompanied by a branded bag, ink pen, and extra-large t-shirt. While I wear small, I still appreciated the effort to make us reviewers feel special. Out of the box, the build is nice and solid; the anodized brushed aluminum faceplate is a great touch and would be necessary if you don't want to look at a black box all day. My only complaint about the build is that the loudspeaker wire binding posts are very close to the inputs. This could be a problem for those who use spade connectors on their loudspeaker wire. The again, this isn't that big of a deal considering you could simply connect your spades from above the binding posts.
Digital Amplifier Company's 2-CHerry At Work
As a musician myself, I inherently know whether something sounds natural or distorted. As my primary instrument is the piano, the natural timbre of a piano is something that I'm very familiar with. The 2-CHerry is natural and musical too! It can reproduce the inherent sound of a grand piano with confidence. When listening to the 2-CHerry, everything just seems right and how it should be. Instruments aren't cluttered, they exist within their own space. It is most impressive how well the 2-CHerry images too! When listening to "All Your Love" by Sara K. on the album Water Falls via TIDAL, the guitar occupies a solid presence boundless within its own space. The 2-CHerry presents everything encapsulated within a given recording with authority.
The 2-Cherry is a very dynamic amplifier; it was the second thing that was noticed after the incredibly low noise floor during the first listen. Explosive dynamics may be the result of the massive amount of low distortion power. THD+N at 0.002% and a power rating of 200 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms are the exact ratings. Every single note had a seamless and natural path from attack to sustain and then decay. Bass is delivered with great speed and impact! I am sure the end-to-end DC coupling, combined with a great deal of clean power, is to thank for producing excellent bass. Mid and upper ranges were something special as well. They were pure and not analytical, lifelike even. The level of detail and clarity paired with great dynamics, imaging, and sense of rhythm was just simply amazing! No harshness, fatigue, or coldness ever existed within the music that the 2-CHerry reproduced.
Soundscape was firm, layered, and extended past the walls of my room. While playing the track "Worried Woman" by Andrew Cyrilleon [Lebroba LP], I heard natural horns accompanied by the subtle taps of drums appearing and disappearing seamlessly and precisely within the soundscape. You know when you are going about your day far away from your stereo or without headphones / IEMs, and you sort of playback songs in your head? If you are like me, you might try to imagine that song sounding "perfect" in your mind. A play of Roger Water's Amused to Death on TIDAL sounded almost as how I'd imagined it would in a close to perfect environment. Every sound coming from just the right places within the soundscape. Everything that the 2-CHerry does so well comes together to result in a blissfully immersive listening experience no matter what song, genre or artist is playing.
CHerry On Top
There is without a doubt a stigma that surrounds Class D amplifiers in the minds of some enthusiasts. If you are one of those people who believe that Class D amplifiers absolutely cannot be musical or sound lifelike, I'm certain that you will change your mind upon listening to one of Digital Amplifier Company's amplifiers. Simply put, this is an amplifier that is musical and lifelike! It's a great example of just how good Class D amplifiers can sound, and I will without a doubt miss Digital Amplifier Company's 2-CHerry when I send it back.