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REVIEW: Orchard Audio BOSC HiFi Monoblock Class-D GaN Amps Amplifier (SS)

Model: BOSC HiFi Monoblock Class-D GaN Amps
Category: Amplifier (SS)
Suggested Retail Price: $1499
Description: BOS-~Y - HiFi Monoblock GaN Class D Amplifier
Manufacturer URL: Orchard Audio
Model Picture: View

Review by mdconnelly on September 24, 2019 at 13:17:28
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A few months back, I had the opportunity and great pleasure to purchase a couple of Orchard Audio's PecanPi Streamers. I bought them to replace an aging pair of Squeezebox Touches I had been using as Roon endpoints. The PecanPi Streamer is a great combination of Roon endpoint and extraordinarily good DAC which sounds substantially better than the SB Touch.

Since then, Orchard Audio announced it's latest product, the BOSC mono amps. It would seem that these were made as the perfect companions for the PecanPi so I asked Leo Ayzenshtat (owner of Orchard Audio) if he had any that I could try, review and return well before they became available via his Kickstarter launch. About 2 weeks ago, a pair of the BOSC amps appeared on my doorstep. Thank you, Leo!

Before I go into any detail, let me say up front that these amps are something special. Detail and clarity galore with a transparency that grabs your attention and doesn't let go. The amps run cool to the touch and are so small that they can be easily stashed away out of site in any system. In my opinion, they punch way above their price point and easily turn a background music system into something that cannot be easily ignored... or at least, that was my experience.

Listening Setup 1: Kitchen/Dining Room System
-- a pair of B&W DM110i speakers
-- PecanPi Streamer & BOSC amps connected via a pair of XLR cables

I installed the BOSC amps into this system early one evening and just let it play for a few hours while I was off doing other things. When I got up the next morning, my wife was already streaming our local public radio station from it via Roon as we do most every morning. To be honest, I totally forgot about the BOSC amps in this system. That is, until the radio program started playing music. Here I am sipping my coffee, reading the news, and damn, the music just grabbed my attention! It sounded so much better than anything I'd heard on this system before... and then I remembered that I had installed the BOSC amps the day before. Well, good morning! Breakfast reinvented.

I left the amps in this rig for a week and thoroughly enjoyed it throughout that time. In this setup, there is no "sweet spot". It is intended to be used as mood music during meals and boogie music while cooking in the kitchen. These amps definitely took both of these intents up a significant notch. It made me want to sit at the table as close to the sweet spot as possible.

In discussions with Leo, he mentioned that the amps might do even better with a very short run of speaker cable. My XLR interconnects were long enough to allow me to do this, so I swapped out a pair of 8' speaker cables with 18" of 12-gauge stranded copper wire. To be honest, I didn't hear much of a difference on the B&W speakers at the time, but then, the 8' speaker cables I had been using were nothing special either.

Next Up! Listening Setup 2: The Big Rig System
-- Von Schweikert VR-35 speakers
-- PecanPi Streamer & BOSC amps connected via a pair of XLR cables

My "Big Rig" is a pair of Von Schweikert VR-35 speakers normally driven by a Devialet Expert Pro 440 running dual-mono (440 watts per channel into 6 ohms). The Expert Pro is an amazing piece of tech integrating a state-of-the-art amp, preamp, phono pre, DAC and Roon endpoint all in one. I love it. My intent in trying the Orchard Audio gear here was not to compare them to the Devialet, but to see just how good the BOSC would sound with the VR-35 speakers. The Devialet Expert Pro is in a different league power and price wise and not up for replacement. By anything.

While I normally use a pair of JPS SC3 speaker cables with the VR-35 speakers, I initially hooked up the BOSC to them using the 18" 12-gauge wire. When I turned on the system to listen, I was... disappointed. The sound was a bit hard and edgy. Definitely not as refined and relaxed as I was used to hearing from these speakers. But I then remembered the many times I compared speaker cables in the past with occasionally similar results. Out went the cheap 18" wires and back went the JPS SC3. Wow, what an improvement. Who says wire doesn't make a difference?! Let the listening commence!

Just as with my B&W DM110i speakers, what I noticed first and foremost was transparency across the board and extraordinary detail and delicacy of the top-end. Voices and instruments were presented in an oh-so engaging way. The extended harmonics and fast transient response were startling from the start. It was easy to just get lost in the music. The soundstage was big, wide and deep with voices and instruments well defined within it. Tiny details normally not noticed were there in abundance... fingers on strings, the shimmer of a cymbal, room ambience of the recording venue... life-like but never distracting from the music. As good as it sounded, I did notice that the bass and lower register music was not quite as full and impactful as I was used to via the Devialet. I'm tempted to say that music via the BOSC was leaner, but it never sounded lean. Bass was tight and tuneful and integrated well within the overall sound presentation.

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Topic - REVIEW: Orchard Audio BOSC HiFi Monoblock Class-D GaN Amps Amplifier (SS) - mdconnelly 13:17:28 09/24/19 (6)


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