On what the RSA-777EX simplifies to be more affordable than the bigger SPEC models. "The biggest area where we could reduce costs was to use a device that integrates the PWM or pulse-width modulation controller and digital-audio power Mosfet in one package. The device we use is called PowIRaudio from Infineon Technologies. It reduces the number of parts and PCB area required to accommodate them. We added small high-performance parts for the low-pass filters and put them on a single board with PowIRaudio."

Left/right channel PowlRaudio LSIC and peripheral circuit area of the PCB.

"Another area was the switching power supply. There is a negative image about using one for audio but we have developed an audio-grade switching power supply with our "hibiki-ichi" capacitors we jointly developed with Nichicon for a richer sound. The same system of these two building blocks appears in the RPA-W3EX, RSA-G3E and RPA-W7EX models which also share the violin-shaped side panels."

Low-pass filter and peripheral circuit.

On how SPEC's model numbers work, "in the category of integrated amplifiers, a single number means regular size plus switching power supply. Two numbers mean regular size plus linear power supply. Three numbers mean small size plus switching power supply. Power amplifiers have one number for both small and regular sizes plus switching power supply."

Under its clever channel-clipped cover which mounts securely with just three rear-panel screws, the 777 shows off a fully shielded power supply and copious hookup wiring bundled in the front left corner and along that side. Thick foam strips prevent metal contacting metal to make for a non-ringing top.