At this year’s RMAF I blogged about the first US appearance of Audio Research’s DSi200, a high-power solid-state integrated amp equipped with remote control, three single-ended inputs and a pair of balanced inputs. To recap: It’s a beauty, with ARC’s classic chunky lines. “The heavy front panel features volume and input selectors flanking a vacuum-flourescent display. The brightness of the display can be adjusted to one of six levels, plus off—nine small pixels remain lit as a discreet reminder that the unit is powered on. Control functions under the display are actuated via four small, roundaluminum buttons; functions include Power, Mono, Invert, and Mute. The supplied remote control accesses these functions, plus a Left-Right balance control, and Display Up and Display Down controls. Silver handles are standard, but the most striking visual update may be the silver chassis that matches the handles and knobs. The DSi200 is also available with a black front panel, handles and knobs, but the chassis and wraparound cover will only be available in silver.” It combines a hefty analog, linear power supply with a discrete MOSFET-based switching output stage of ARC’s own design. Terry Dorn of ARC describes it as a different kind of “hybrid” that uses a regulated analog power supply with a high-speed switching output stage— but all solid-state. And the DSi200 does not rely on any OEM modules or pre-manufactured components such as those found in designs from other “Class D” manufacturers. The resulting amplifier puts out 200Wpc continuous into 8 Ohms (300W into 4 Ohms) with very high efficiency energy conversion — over 90% -- and almost no heat. And, says Dorn, it draws very little power at idle. In fact, it’s so efficient that it achieved an “Energy Star” rating — unusual for this industry and for a high-powered amplifier ($5995). It’s currently breaking in via track 2 of the Isotek disc set on repeat. Believe me, I won’t wait the full 600 hours before reporting some general impressions!
Note that ARC places a US Postal "Forever" stamp on its Warranty card-nice touch ARC!