The three pieces you see here – DAC, preamp and poweramp from Silicone Arts are so small they will each rest within your palm with ease. They are even smaller than most hifi components you see in Best Buy! But are they better? Well, to that question, I only have one answer – they totally annihilate (when paired with the right pair of speakers) everything in Best Buy and any true hifi component costing up to $6,000!
Silicone Arts is the “baby” brand of the super high end Japanese manufacturer, Concert Fidelity. But don’t let its “baby” statue fool you. Many reviewers have considered this three piece combo to sound almost 80% of a typical Concert Fidelity preamp/amp combo but not at 80% of the price tag. I wouldn’t elaborate too much on the technical specifications of the combo which you can read more under Dick Olsher’s write-up but will just go straight into their sound quality.
This combo is an exercise of simplicity to the extreme. There is no power on or off button. They are designed to stay “live” at all times and since they are driven by DC voltage, they will not run any noticeable increase in your electrical bill. The volume pot on the preamp is an “infinity” design knob. Meaning to say, it will swing forever in either direction so before you play any music through this combo, make sure you give the volume pot several turns to the left to ensure its volume is all the way down or else you might just get a rude shock when you hit play on your CD player…. The amp has a mute toggle switch on the front where the “on” position means that the mute feature is on and not so much to turn on the amp. As for the DAC, it is just plug and play. Simple and sweet.
At 14W per channel, this is an amp that needs to be paired with high efficiency speakers. It is not as warm sounding as a typical single ended amp but it sure is more refine than most single ended amps. When used together, music is amazingly transparent and lucid. Very smooth around the edges and almost too “polite” sounding. The zero oversampling on the DAC reminds me of the Bitstream DAC of past but with more detail and a sharper sound. All in all, they are beautifully crafted little gems that sounds more capable than its size and weight. It is pretty obvious of its aesthetic intentions for the modern home but with a huge kicker behind it – sound quality. This is the “handsome” David that slay the Goliaths of the audio industry.
Original AC/DC adapter that is supplied is 100V (input) for the DAC and preamp and 100-240V for the power amp. All three units work fine when using in the USA but will need a 100-240V AC/DC adapter for the DAC and preamp when used in 220-240V countries. Output required is 12V.
These had one previous owner and is in very good condition with original boxes.