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Old 13th January 2015, 09:40 PM   #1
IO390 is offline IO390  United Kingdom
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Default Sprout - a kickstarter thingy

Well this is obviously class D so I'll post it here.

Kickstarter

This is some amp called "sprout". It has a variety of inputs, a mains supply and an amplifier in a fancy box. Specs are here:
  • Sprout Specs
  • Dimensions: 6"W x 8"L x 1.75"H
  • Inputs: Phono (Moving Magnet), Analog (3.5mm), USB (asynchronous 192kHz/24-bit), Digital Coax (any sample rate and bit depth up to 192kHz/24-bit), aptX Bluetooth (built in).
  • Stereo power Amplifier 4Ω 50W (drives any size speakers)
  • THD <0.025% at normal listening levels
  • Headphone output 16Ω 500mW, 300Ω 425mW (drives all headphones)
  • Analog output: variable 3.5mm line, for subwoofer or otherwise.
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-weighted) >90dB
  • Retail $799.99

Judging by the specifications it's quite obviously a TPA3116 or similar. He's made it really dumbed down for the "average joe", but I think he's probably taking advantage of that a little. Sure it's a nice unit, but it's certainly not universal. Hopefully he's done his homework on the mains supply and is using a certified module, although a wooden enclosure for anything with mains, especially this compact, is something I would never do.

Anyway, they are asking for $450 minimum on the kickstarter which is reasonable if it's really good. At the RRP, you'd have to be a bit crazy to buy it I think. Although that's probably to deter people from waiting until it's on sale and buying it at the kickstarter.

Big alarm bells with the power cable nonsense, that's a plain scam as we all know.

Anyway, thought I should post it, as I haven't seen it here yet.

P.S. I did consider that he might be using a digital input amp chip, although this is unlikely as it would require an ADC for the analogue inputs only, and data conversion on the digital inputs. Far more convenient to just use analogue inputs straight to the amp and a single DAC for the digital inputs.
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Old 13th January 2015, 11:16 PM   #2
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Anybody who allows something like ' Exchange any stock power cord with a Power Boost custom designed power cable, and you'll hear it immediately.' in their advertising has failed the test as far as I am concerned, so although there's quite a lot of good features, the enclosure is nice, it really does depend on the execution of the electronics, and for U$800 (or even 450) I want a bit more than THD <0.025 'at normal listening levels'. Just too vague. Probably not as scammy as a lot of things though, I mean a Grado RA1 at U$586.50?

http://www.amazon.com/Grado-RA-1-Hea...ords=grado+ra1
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Old 13th January 2015, 11:42 PM   #3
AlanL is offline AlanL  United States
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Quote:
This is some amp called "sprout".
This is the new entry level amp from PS Audio, a very well established company . I was kind of surprised to see them using kickstarter for it.
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Old 13th January 2015, 11:56 PM   #4
IO390 is offline IO390  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanL View Post
This is the new entry level amp from PS Audio, a very well established company . I was kind of surprised to see them using kickstarter for it.
Homeopathy companies are well established.

They are using the kickstarter for marketing purposes. This is a product for Mr. Bloggs and Kickstarter is the best way to do that.

As such, I expect them to be delivering them very soon.
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Old 14th January 2015, 12:05 AM   #5
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They already shipped some (hundreds) - I looked at the updates, last of which was last month.

Interesting how the market is bifurcating with traditional hi-fi companies seeing their future market is quite different from the one they currently serve.
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Old 14th January 2015, 12:24 AM   #6
AlanL is offline AlanL  United States
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I didn't mean to imply that well established companies don't sell snake oil. PS Audio is local to me, I know they've been working on it a while. I'm sure it's a fine little amp.

Just seems funny to see these corporations on crowdfunding sites, which should (in my mind) be more for startups.
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Old 14th January 2015, 01:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by IO390 View Post
Big alarm bells with the power cable nonsense, that's a plain scam as we all know.
Audio power conditioners, aka "Power Plants", is their core business so the fancy power cable really doesn't surprise me.

I guess its kind of clever having a Class D speaker/headphone amp, DAC, Phono pre, and Bluetooth connectivity all in the one stylish box. Great if your into that kind of thing... but not for me thanks.
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Old 14th January 2015, 10:32 AM   #8
IO390 is offline IO390  United Kingdom
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Well as I say, Kickstarter was for marketing only. I guess it is a bit cheeky for an established company to use Kickstarter etc... but hey, why not. If it works out well then great.

Those "power conditioner" thingys are just such an obvious scam. If someone is designing a product (amp) that is supposedly so sensitive to mains fluctuations, then any mains filtering should be done there, where it's needed. To require a separate product would just be dumb.
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Old 14th January 2015, 10:41 AM   #9
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Old 14th January 2015, 11:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IO390 View Post

Those "power conditioner" thingys are just such an obvious scam. If someone is designing a product (amp) that is supposedly so sensitive to mains fluctuations, then any mains filtering should be done there, where it's needed. To require a separate product would just be dumb.
To design it on purpose so the new mains cable makes it better could be viewed as damn good marketing.
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