“Things should be done as simple as possible, but not simpler” – Albert Einstein
We love music.
We aim to build audio gear that is able to reproduce recorded sound with ultimate sonic fidelity at realistic volume levels – the Ultimate Sound Machines.
Our products reflect our own personal values: everything worth doing is worth doing well, and only the best is good enough. We build stuff with extreme specifications, yet are very conservative in its design. Ultimate performance and unconditional reliability are the two invariable features of all our products.
Analog Domain Audio GmbH employs only the brightest, smartest, and craziest, using the latest technology at all stages of design and manufacturing.
We are fanatical about quality. Our products are intended for those special people who demand the best.
Digital technology has come a long way in recent years. “Digital”, i.e. switching amps do a pretty good job when operated at full-scale output. They are also great in terms of efficiency, often weigh less for the same power, are simpler to design, and cheaper to make. Great! So – where’s the catch?
The problem with music is that it is not a constant sine wave. In fact, the better a recording – the higher its peak-to-average ratio. When amplifying musical signals without clipping, an amplifier will be operating at an average power way below its peak rating. Furthermore, it is only on rare occasions that the full power output is utilized.
At lower than maximum output, digital equipment typically has a rising distortion, as one bit is lost with every 6dB down. It may also produce “digital artifacts” – new sounds not present in the source material are created through the very principle of operation. These side effects increase in proportion to the signal as the amplitude decreases.
Analog circuits do not have this fundamental problem – distortion falls off with amplitude. They have superior sonic fidelity and resolution. When carefully designed, overall efficiency need not be sacrificed. Last, but not least, analog circuits come closer to representing real-world events. Also, they are a lot more challenging to design and we really enjoy building them!
How much power?
Over the years, we’ve heard a lot of claims, and we’ve listened to many over-hyped products, claiming “the beauty of the first watt”. Indeed, performance in the first watt is very important, but it’s quite frustrating when an amp runs out of steam just as the fun begins. So, what if that divine ‘first watt’ beauty could be extended to … a kilowatt, or more?
How much power is needed is a tough question, whose answer depends on factors like room size, system efficiency, personal preference, mood, occasion, etc. Many of the finest loudspeakers today are “power hungry”, i.e. not very efficient in transforming electricity into sound. They achieve a realistic playback level only when driven with high peak power. Furthermore, high quality recordings contain peaks as high as +20dB or more above the average level of a performance. In terms of power, +20dB means 100 times more power.
|Waveform of a typical rock performance and its statistics. Average power is -12dB referenced to the peak level, corresponding to a power ratio of 1:16.||A typical classical track. Peak to average ratio is 23dB, corresponding to a power ratio of 1:200!|
Our amps are designed to give you the freedom of choice – to enjoy your music at any level. They have the ability to play gently in a late-night listening session, or to shake the house foundations on a mad party. They can be safely driven to the limit, even over-driven, retaining perfect control and resolution at any power level.
One of our proprietary technologies is the DXDrive™ circuit – a mature design with an outstanding performance and reliability record. The DXDrive™ effectively overcomes a major challenge in most transistor-based linear amplifier designs: dynamic bias shift and the associated “thermal” distortion.
Transistors need bias to operate in a linear mode. The amount of bias required to maintain their operating point constant is dependant on temperature. Output transistors typically generate varying amounts of heat, dependant on momentary load conditions, causing a corresponding change in their temperature. This makes optimal biasing a challenging task.
Classic circuits attempt to provide and control bias by employing some form of thermal feedback. Component manufacturers have gone as far as to include a dedicated diode for thermal sensing inside the transistor package. While this setup may work well under static load conditions, it has little chance to keep up with the dynamic thermal stress that power transistors experience in most real world applications. As a result, the momentary amount of bias can be either excessive or insufficient, leading to an increase in distortion. It is worth noting that this type of distortion is hard to measure in a standard setup, where an amplifier is provided with a constant sine wave signal and loaded with an active load – a resistor. Music is not a constant sine wave and loudspeakers are not even remotely close to resistors in terms of their electrical parameters.
The DXDrive™ operates on a fundamentally different principle. It does not use any form of thermal sensing. Instead, it monitors the idling current directly, adjusting bias dynamically to maintain it at the optimal level regardless of temperature, supply voltage, or load variations. The result is near-perfect control and reduced distortion at any output power level.
|The M4 chassis in chrome finish|
Our amps are built to last. We use the highest-grade commercially available components. Nothing is taken for granted or left to chance – every component has been meticulously selected for peak performance and is thoroughly inspected before, while and after it becomes part of our product. Assembly is done in a slow manual process, and we are proud of it!
Special attention has been dedicated to the chassis. Its various parts are machined from solid aluminum to exacting specifications on the latest CNC machines to form an extremely robust, vibration-, dust- and waterproof housing for the delicate electronics. When assembled, the chassis is practically airtight.
Appearance is equally important as technical performance. The finishing options are unlimited, fully customizable to customer preference. Most of the finishes we offer are high-tech coatings with outstanding mechanical properties.
The home of extreme audio engineering
The Isis integrated amplifier and the DAC1
review on Mono & Stereo
ULTIMATE SOUND MACHINES
Isis M75D integrated with volume control, $22,000.
Isis M75P stereo amplifier, $20,000.
|The Isis range of dual channel amplifiers from Analog domain represents the current state of the art in linear amplification technology. It is the result of 15+ years experience in high-performance amplifier circuit design, created to deliver exceptional performance at an attractive price point.The Isis features our recently disclosed proprietary Excalibur circuit. Near-zero distortion, a noise floor well below the human perceptual threshold and the generous power output capability of the Excalibur give the Isis its ability to amplify signals with extreme resolution and control, raising the enjoyment of music to an unprecedented level.The Isis is available in two configurations: an integrated amplifier and a matching 2-channel power amplifier. Both can be configured as monoblock amplifiers, for installations requiring more power in stereo, or for building multi-way systems with frequency splitting, or in multi-channel systems.|
Isis M75D – Stereo integrated amplifier, stepped analogue volume attenuator, remote controlIsis M75P – Stereo power amplifier SPECIFICATIONSParameter
ConditionIsis M75DIsis M75P
Power output8 ohm, sine wave, rms4 ohm, sine wave, rms8 ohm, bridged,
music material250W400W500WPower output
8 ohm, sine wave, rms250W
4 ohm, sine wave, rms400W
8 ohm, bridged, music material500W
4 ohm, bridged, music material1000W
1kHz, 4ohm load, single-ended
1kHz, 4ohm, bridged mode>500
THD+N20kHz BW, 8ohm, nom. power<0,002%
20kHz BW, 4ohm, 1W output<-93dBr
2 ohm, THD<0.1%5Hz-50kHz
20kHz BW, rms<35uV
Dimensions, mmIncluding feet and rear handles440W x 454D x 123H
With packaging560W x 560D x 200HNet weight
Owners’ manual Isis М75DOwners’ manual Isis M75P
DAC 1 $21,000. with volume control.
DAC 1 $20,000. with out volume control.
|The design differs from the mainstream, as can be seen from the block diagram:|
A driver is required for windows based systems only. Download here
Extreme power output mono block amplifiers
Black: $250,000. pr
Chrome: $255,000. pr
The Apollo is the most powerful member of the DX9 range. It is housed in our M4 chassis. Rated at 4,000W into 8 ohms and 8,000W into 4 ohms, the Apollo is one of the most powerful amplifiers ever built for home use, designed for precise amplification of audio signals in demanding installations.The output stage features 100 high-performance audio-grade power transistors with a peak output current capacity of 720 amperes.The high power output of the Apollo makes it especially suitable for driving the subwoofer/LF channel in a high-performance split system. SPECIFICATIONSInput sensitivity:1.55 VrmsInput impedance:10 kohmVoltage gain:+41 dB or +26 dB, switch-selectablePeak power output:4kW/8ohm; 8kW/4ohm; 2ohm stablePeak output voltage:179 Vac, ±253 VppPeak output current:120 AFrequency range:1Hz–100kHzFull-power bandwidth:5Hz-25kHzMinimum rated load:4ohmDamping factor:> 1000Output noise:< 50uVrmsDynamic range:> 126 dB linear; > 132 dB A-weightedTHD+N:< -92dB (0.0025%)Mains voltage:230/115Vac, factory pre-configuredPower draw:200W idling; < 20W standbyMax current draw:< 16A / 230VInputs:XLR balanced, RCA unbalancedTrigger voltage:12V in, 12V outTrigger input/output:3.5mm jacksDimensions:440(w) x 298(h) x 545(d), mmWeight:~85kg, 115kg shipping
Black: $200,000. pr
Chrome: $205,000. pr
The Athene is rated at a peak power of 2,000W into 8 ohms and 4,000W into 4 ohms. It is housed in our M4 chassis and has the same high-current output stage as the Apollo.
The Athene is designed for precise full range amplification, capable of sustained high power output. The output stage features 100 high-performance audio-grade power transistors with a peak current capacity of 720 amperes.
The Athene can drive any channel in a high-performance split system. SPECIFICATIONS Input sensitivity:1.55 VrmsInput impedance:10 kohmVoltage gain:+38 dB or +26 dB, switch-selectablePeak power output:2kW/8ohm; 4kW/4ohm; 2ohm stablePeak output voltage:126 Vac, ±179 VppPeak output current:120 AFrequency range:1Hz–100kHzFull-power bandwidth:5Hz-25kHzMinimum rated load:4ohmDamping factor:> 1000Output noise:< 40uVrmsDynamic range:> 126 dB linear; > 132 dB A-weightedTHD+N:< -92dB (0.0025%)Mains voltage:230/115Vac, factory pre-configuredPower draw:200W idling; < 20W standbyMax current draw:< 10A / 230VInputs:XLR balanced, RCA unbalancedTrigger voltage:12V in, 12V outTrigger input/output:3.5mm jacksDimensions:440(w) x 298(h) x 545(d), mmWeight:~75kg, 105kg shipping
Black: $170. pr
Chrome: $175,000. pr
The Artemis has a peak power rating of 1,000W into 8 ohms and 2,000W into 4 ohms, housed in our M2 chassis. Its footprint is the same as the M4 chassis, differing only in height.
The output stage of the Artemis features 52 high-performance audio-grade power transistors with a peak current capacity of 360 amperes.
The Artemis is designed for full range amplification or can be used as the Mid/HF channel amplifier in a high-performance split system. Front panel design is compatible with the Apollo and Athene, allowing amplifiers to be stacked. SPECIFICATIONSInput sensitivity:1.55 VrmsInput impedance:10 kohmVoltage gain:+35 dB or +26 dB, switch-selectablePeak power output:1kW/8ohm; 2kW/4ohm; 2ohm stablePeak output voltage:89 Vac, ±126 VppPeak output current:70 AFrequency range:1Hz–100kHzFull-power bandwidth:5Hz-25kHzMinimum rated load:4ohmDamping factor:> 1000Output noise:< 35uVrmsDynamic range:> 126 dB linear; > 132 dB A-weightedTHD+N:< -92dB (0.0025%)Mains voltage:230/115Vac, factory pre-configuredPower draw:150W idling; < 20W standbyMax current draw:< 8A / 230VInputs:XLR balanced, RCA unbalancedTrigger voltage:12V in, 12V outTrigger input/output:3.5mm jacksDimensions:440(w) x 254(h) x 545(d), mmWeight:~65kg, 95kg shipping Legacy designs
Black: $140,000. pr
Chrome: $145,000. pr
| The Calysto is designed for ultimate fidelity. It features a wider ‘Class A’ operating region in the output stage, providing exceptional resolution in the upper-midrange and high frequencies at low output power levels.|
The Calysto is especially suited to driving the Mid/HF channel amplifier in a high-performance split system. Front panel design and footprint are compatible with the Apollo, Athene and Artemis, allowing amplifiers to be stacked. SPECIFICATIONSInput sensitivity:1.55 VrmsInput impedance:10 kohmVoltage gain:+32 dB or +26 dB, switch-selectablePeak power output:550W/8ohm; 1.1kW/4ohm; 2ohm stablePeak output voltage:67 Vac, ±95 VppPeak output current:70 AFrequency range:1Hz–100kHzFull-power bandwidth:5Hz-25kHzMinimum rated load:4ohmDamping factor:> 1000Output noise:< 35uVrmsDynamic range:> 126 dB linear; > 132 dB A-weightedTHD+N:< -92dB (0.0025%)Mains voltage:230/115Vac, factory pre-configuredPower draw:150W idling; < 20W standbyMax current draw:< 5A / 230VInputs:XLR balanced, RCA unbalancedTrigger voltage:12V in, 12V outTrigger input/output:3.5mm jacksDimensions:440(w) x 254(h) x 545(d), mmWeight:~64kg, 75kg shipping
Brushed black: $49,500. pr
Brushed titanium: $49,500. pr
Black crytal: $60,000. pr
Exclusive – Building the Analog Domain Argus loudspeaker!
Here is are the exclusive insights, info and photos about the all new Analog Domain Argus loudspeaker. Angel Despotov writes: “Let me start by clarifying why I decided to build this loudspeaker. The Analog Domain brand (AD for brevity below) is well known for its state of the art electronics. In fact, I would never build a “me too” product just for the sake of having it in the portfolio. Every single one of AD’s products is a leader in its class, bringing superior performance based on radically better technology than what can be found in the “mainstream”. Period.”
“Obviously, in my work I need a set of true reference, no compromise loudspeakers, that would reveal every little detail in the music played. Looking at what the market had to offer was saddening – generally mediocre performance at premium prices, most of the cost going into cabinet appearance and “brand value”, with a handful of exceptions. I had to choose between sound quality and output capacity.
Few people know that before establishing the AD brand, I was building all kinds of custom systems – monitors for recording studios, high output systems for clubs and PA, etc. For over 25 years…
So, there you have it. Since there was nothing on the market that would satisfy all my requirements, the only way ahead was to roll up my sleeves and build one. I do realize that adding a loudspeaker to the AD portfolio will discourage many potential partners, as they now see me as a competitor, but so what? I’m not in this business to please anyone else except my customers. Dear “speaker guys”, here’s a real reference for all you to measure up to and exceed. Good luck!
Now to the details. Following is a no-nonsense description of the Argus.
All drivers are from “pro audio” manufacturers. Why? For a number of reasons:
– Consistent high performance;
– Many years of experience;
– Superior reliability.
This is the most important component.
The midrange driver is from the highly respected pro-audio manufacturer 18 Sound.
It has the highest sensitivity (102dB/W), the lowest distortion, a very natural timbre and a fantastic power rating of 180W AES, 480W peak. It is built for true high performance.
The absence of resonant peaks and an extended frequency response allows me to tailor the crossover points for optimal power loading and matching with the other drivers to use their natural roll off, thus achieving a steeper slope.
Tweeter: an outstanding air motion transformer type from Beyma. Again, a pro-audio manufacturer.
This specific driver has a number of advantages: no inductance, high sensitivity 101dB/W (with our custom waveguide) and a flat frequency response beyond 20 kHz.
Power handling is 150W, which is about a decade more than it will have to handle in the system. AMT (or HEIL) drivers have superior performance over dome tweeters. The effective surface of this specific model is about two magnitudes (100x) higher than a 1” dome tweeter. The large area ensures
better coupling with air and extremely low distortion, even at high volume. They are free of “breakup mode” by design.
All this amounts to a tweeter that has no coloration, produces fast, accurate transients and truthfully renders the tone of instruments, especially obvious with percussion. Furthermore, there is no artificial sibilance, as in dome tweeters, regardless how or from what materials they are made.
A custom waveguide enhances the sensitivity, yet is free from the nasty “honking” of a typical horn. It was revised and optimized several times over the past two years to achieve the perfect result.
Woofers: a pair of 12” long throw, high output woofers provide the low end foundation. Again, made by BMS, a pro-audio manufacturer, with some customization to my requirements.
What makes this woofer special is the extremely low distortion, even at high playback levels. Two units operating in parallel achieve an effective sensitivity of 99dB at 2.83V input. This is an excellent match with the other drivers in the system.
The smart design ensures high power handling with very low compression, resulting in fast transients for a tonally accurate bass free of any bloating, smearing or boominess. Bass is rendered with tonal and amplitude accuracy.
Think twice before commenting on my choice components. Yes, I am aware of all the junk science peddled by “high end audio component” manufacturers, however none of them have succeeded in convincing me in the “magical” properties of their products, nor have they produced any objective data to support their claims.
If, on the other hand, one wants the crossover to be built from components of a certain brand, feel free to ask for it. It’s your money and if that makes you happy – do it!
There is no “one size fits all” when voicing of a speaker is concerned. As no two rooms are the same, some control of the frequency response is desirable. Subtle level changes have a very noticeable effect on the overall tonal balance as they affect several octaves. Controls are provided on the rear panel of the Argus to allow adjustment the tonal balance to the room acoustics and personal preference.
Rotary switches with clear marking provide the user with the ability to adjust the level of the midrange and tweeter, in five steps covering -1 dB to +1 dB each, relative to the flat response.
All heat-producing components of the crossover assembly are located in the top half of the PCB so as not to heat up any other components when playing really loud, especially important for the inductors. Proper resistor power ratings ensure safe operation when the Argus is driven with consistently high power. Inductors are positioned as to eliminate mutual interference and interaction with the metal plate.
The custom gold plated 5-way binding posts attach directly to the board. They may look familiar, as do all car tires, yet the similarities end there. Bridges are provided to uncouple the bass from the mid/high filters if one wishes to do bi-wiring or bi-amping. Will this provide any advantages? Depends on what electronics one uses. The crossover assembly is mounted directly over the binding posts on a thick metal plate to eliminate any potential resonances. It is recessed so that the binding posts do not protrude from the rear of the cabinet.
The cabinet: thick 21mm birch plywood forms the body of the cabinet. Front and back panels are double thickness, 42mm. Multiple braces ensure rigidity and prevent the cabinet from resonating. The corners are custom aluminium extrusions that add stiffness and ensure dimensional accuracy of the assembly.
The body assembly locks together with perfect precision. It is so strong and rigid by design that one can jump on it even before it’s glued together. I actually did…
The internal bracing ensures perfect alignment of the assembly on all three axes. Especially important is the brace located between the woofers. It couples the front and back panels as
well as the side walls to eliminate any resonances.
The cabinet bottom is a thick aluminum plate to which the foot assembly attaches. Ports are downward firing to provide more freedom of placement.
Locking castors are installed prior to shipping, to allow easy unpacking and moving about of the speakers in search of their perfect location. Once the speakers are set in the right spot, the castors can be replaced with the provided adjustable feet.
The top plate is a grey glass mirror. One’s spouse may want to place her favorite flower pot on top, and she’s welcome to do so, as long as this tips the WAF in the desired direction.
The drivers, being “pro audio” are protected from the elements, although I wouldn’t recommend hosing the Argus to keep it clean. Occasional dusting or wiping with a damp cloth would be sufficient. Common window cleaner produces excellent results. Avoid strong solvents like acetone.
Finishing: the standard options are Titanium or Black.
Packaging: the Argus is shipped in custom flight cases on pallets to ensure they arrive in perfect condition. Two persons are required for unpacking. Once on its feet, moving the speaker around is easy.
Some final words
The Argus is a “Mastering reference” class loudspeaker that has the ability to accurately reproduce all genres of music up to the live sound level of the respective instruments. It has no preference for a particular genre. Its response covers the full range of human hearing, both with respect to frequency, as well as sound volume. The high power handling ensures lack of compression when playing at live sound levels.
It is hand built from premium components, with meticulous attention to detail at every step of the process.
The Argus is definitely enabling my dream come true – to be able to hit the Play button and be magically transported in time and space to the place where the recording took place, and to experience it in its full glory.”
| Why another loudspeaker?In early 2017, I started looking for a new reference speaker to use in my development work. I need a true reference speaker that can play any music, at any volume, right up to live levels, when required. There are many loudspeakers out there. Some sound very nice and will do a great job when playing at moderate output levels. How about playback at live sound levels? A few can, most will give up long before that.A suitable, ready-made system simply did not exist. Drawing on my experience in building custom monitoring systems for recording studios, the only solution was to build it myself.The prototype pair came into existence in late 2017. Countless hours went into refining the sound – rearranging the crossover, tweaking component values, fine tuning, listening, measuring, listening again, with the objective to achieve three major goals:uncompromised fidelity at any playback levelhigh efficiency and high power handlingminimal distortion and compressionI can now confidently say the Argus is the reference loudspeaker system I have been longing for.How is the Argus different? In almost everything, actually.The Argus is a Mastering reference class, floor standing, three-way, ported loudspeaker system, intended for reproduction of music with maximum fidelity. It is designed for indoor use. Customized high performance drivers and crossover components enable The Argus to play from whisper-quiet up to live sound levels with unrestricted dynamics, minimal distortion and compression. A flat frequency response, excellent time alignment and close matching of the speakers ensure precise timbre and a realistic spatial presentation.Efficiency, impedance and power handlingNominal efficiency of the Argus is 99dB@2.83V, allowing it to be used even with modest amplifiers. The high power handling capacity provides ample headroom for playback up to live sound levels with minimal distortion and compression. The rated impedance is 4 ohms, dipping to 3.5 ohms in the mid-bass range (150-400Hz) and rising above 4 ohms at all other frequencies.DriversDual custom 12” long throw woofers ensure a solid foundation in the low frequencies. The powerful Neodymium magnets, triple demodulation rings, a ventilated motor assembly, a high temperature 3” sandwich voice coil and a very rigid cone make these drivers stand out from the crowd. The 6” midrange driver has outstanding sound quality due to its extremely low distortion, even at high output levels. Its nominal efficiency is a respectable 103dB/W/1m, thus allowing it to deliver the required output at a reduced power relative to the other drivers with minimal compression. A precision AMT (Air Motion Transformer) driver renders the high frequencies. Its pleated diaphragm has a much larger area relative to dome or cone drivers, thus providing better coupling with the surrounding air. A significant advantage is the absence of inductance. Near-perfect impulse response and no breakup are the hallmarks of this driver. Its radiation pattern is shaped by a custom waveguide to minimize room effects.||Finishing optionsThe Argus is available in “Brushed Black” and “Brushed Titanium”. Technical specifications Enclosure typeBass reflex type with dual down-firing portsFrequency response +/- 3dB25 Hz-20 kHzNominal efficiency99 dB @2.83V, 1mRated impedance Nominal4 ohm (3.5 minimum)Power handling AES, noise |
1’650 WProgram material
2’200 WPhysical Dimensions, cm118(h) x 44(w) x 44(d)Net weight, each65 kg
All specifications subject to improvement1) AES power is determined according to AES2-1984 (r2003) standard2 ) Program power rating is measured using a pink noise test signal with 50% duty cycle, applied for 2 hours[i] Compression is the difference between actual output and the anticipated output for a given power input..
Brushed black: $15,750. pr
Brushed titanium: $15,750. pr
Custom piano finish: $19,950. pr