What is high-end audio ?
Robert Harley, Editor-In-Chief of The Absolute Sound, states that “High-End Audio is the quest to re-create in the listener’s home the musical message of the composer or performer with the maximum realism, emotion, and intensity.” Historically, skilled audio professionals have created high-end audio components by carefully crafting circuits and taking great care in parts selection. They achieve great sound through elaborate, time-consuming processes, resulting in expensive and often opulent products.
Thanks to innovations in digital design, NuPrime Audio is producing affordable audio that sounds as good as the best. For example, NuPrime’s STA-9 stereo amplifier (120Wx2, 290W bridged mono) retails for $649 — a fraction of the price of comparable high-end products. This compact, powerful, superb-sounding amplifier employs an advanced hybrid design via Class-D topology and a hand-crafted transistor circuit that rival the sonic characteristics of the world’s leading tubed amps.
NuPrime Audio makes it possible for the budget-minded music lover to acquire an impeccable audio system that costs not much more than mass-market goods. Small wonder that in 2015, for the first time in audio history, NuPrime has received four Product-of-the-Year awards from The Absolute Sound and the SoundStage! Network.
How does NuPrime achieve its price-performance advantage?
Typically a brand works with an OEM factory, including supplier factories, to achieve its target products. It isn’t often that a brand owns its own factory. Atypically, NuPrime is vertically integrated: we don’t subcontract for amplifiers and power supplies. Our in-house engineering team makes it unnecessary to spend elsewhere for what we do so well. Our stocked parts range from raw materials and ICs to semi-assembled boards. Hybrid Class-D switching and linear power supplies, DACs, preamps, and anything else we require are conceived and achieved in-house. Admittedly, we can’t do it all. On occasion we partner to develop a product another company does better. In short, NuPrime customers benefit from our R&D, efficiency and fruitful associations.
How does NuPrime price its high-end audio product ?
We don’t price a unit based on how good it sounds within our own product line or compared with the competition. We are an engineering company plain and simple. We don’t price our amps based on weight or workmanship. We price our products based on cost. Over time costs come down due to innovations and performance advances. For example, you may know that preamp switch resistors are quite expensive. We have learned how to implement them at a much lower cost by using FPGA, a big logic chip. Designs that were once exclusive to super-expensive preamps now occupy of our modestly priced amps and DACs. We’ve advanced from a bank of expensive resistors to a fruitful chip. In terms of cost difference the journey from one to the other amounts to an order of magnitude. Similarly, our amplifiers employ a naturally occurring self-oscillating design principle to generate the PWM pulses for Class D sampling rather than incorporating a relatively expensive PWM generator. In short, instead of marketing a crazy-expensive amp, we’re in a position to sell an STA-9 at $649.