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Because Brik's own documentation on their components is surprisingly marginal, I asked John Wen to shed some light on the amplifier—its power specs suggested Tripath/TI—and DAC (i.e. what type of signal density could its inputs sync to). The lack of such fundamental data had me think that unlike NuForce with their Icon line, Brik Audio's primary target audience was the lifestyle rather than entry-level audiophile sector. This was confirmed when my inquiry netted that I could "open up the units to see what we did for the design."
I explained to John that—and what—our readers expect more. The next reply was more informative. "The class D amp with analog volume control runs the STMicroelectronics TDA 7492 power processing chip and has an input impedance of 20kΩ. The DAC runs the 24/192 Cirrus CS8416 digital receiver, CS8421 32-bit asynchronous sample rate converter and 24/192 CS4353 multi-bit Delta-Sigma DAC."
The ST amplification chip's spec sheet shows that it has four definable fixed-gain settings of 21.6, 27.6, 31.1 and 33.6dB. John confirmed that Brik selected the highest to compensate for low output power.
He also shared that their German and Swiss distributors have asked for remote controlled volume, that the company is working on it and that by May 2011 they already had distribution in 12 countries, with 20 countries expected by the end of the year. On what data density the USB input can process took three inquiries to have the expected confirmed - 44.1/48kHz max.
This means USB Audio Class 1. No drivers need to be installed but this affordable DAC can't stream high-resolution files via USB (although it can over its S/PDIF inputs if those are preceded by a 24/96 or 192 capable USB-to-SPDIF converter).
A multi-band equalizer is the next product to launch in the same box. John Wen's proposal of "having fun playing with the sound to change it for different moods" reiterates a general impression. Brik Audio means to make the hifi experience fun and non-threatening. This forthcoming equalizer will be the equivalent of a receiver's tone controls, albeit more flexible. Whether customers turn this optional feature into boom tizz bang bang or something more sophisticated is irrelevant. Offering it to promote changing the sound to personal preferences isn't. Why? To do the same with high-end stuff usually requires costly component substitutions and/or rolling of cables and tubes. Let's be honest. More than one audiophile changes components for no other reason than boredom with good sound that's always the same. When it launches, Brik Audio's solution will be far cheaper. It'll also be far more flexible and indefinitely resettable. This might undermine upgraditis from sheer boredom a bit? I'm sure you can have your own fun contemplating the practical implications vs. just how anathema this concept is to the high end and what this really says about it and built-in obsolescence...