In fact, my curiosity dates back to 5 years prior when according to Positive Feedback Online, Wyred first showcased their "all-new flagship stereo amplifier, the Statement at T.H.E. Show, Newport, June 3-5, 2016 in Irvine, CA.
"At its core is Wyred4Sound's completely proprietary class D design. This revolutionary technology produces a massive 750wpc into 8Ω. Contributing to this level of power are a transformer-coupled input stage and huge power transformer. On the outside the Statement looks like no other amplifier on the market with a machined copper or brass cover and a 5" color touch-screen display. The Statement by all measures lives up to its name and sets a new standard for the future of high-end amplification."
At the time I had grabbed this marketing image in anticipation of an eventual review, even penned this preview intro: "Starting with Bel Canto Design's visionary John Stronczer who first lobbied class D for president some 15 years ago via Tripath then ICEpower then nCore, analog switching amps have made ever broader inroads into the HighEnd. Just so, their voting majority relies on a handful of OEM boards from Anaview, B&O, Hypex/nCore, Pascal, Powersoft and TI. The engineering required to author them from scratch differs fundamentally from traditional circuits. Companies who built their reputations on class A/AB tend to lack the know-how to transition to class D from a blank sheet. That's as true for first-tier houses like Jeff Rowland Design Group and Theta Digital as it is for smaller players like Acoustic Imagery, April Music, Channel Islands Audio, Merrill Audio and Red Dragon. Big Corporate like Panasonic/Technics, Philips, Sony and Yamaha can hire the latest greatest expertise straight out of university. Or they'll underwrite a special Masters Thesis project to leverage government-funded research labs and equipment.
"Smaller boutique firms keen on green energy-efficient amps must OEM. Exceptions exist of course. Think Tommy O'Brien of the badly misnamed Digital Amplifier Company. Proprietary wrinkles also show up with bigger firms like Anthem, Audio Research, Mark Levinson and NuForce/NuPrime. Cullen Circuits who became Wyred4Sound started with ICEpower-based products. Eventual EJ developed a real knack for mating OEM output modules with proprietary input/driver circuits. Those released superior sonics than what competitors managed from the same basic building blocks. As his reputation grew, so did OEM contracts. This included design work for competitor Peachtree Audio. Then he began to assemble James Bongiorno's SST Audio products. When he acquired the company and rebooted it two years after JB's death, he added to his design arsenal top-shelf class AB and linear power supply tech. That IP is the distilled essence of what the legendary Bongiorno matured over four successful decades at his various stopovers at Great American Sound, Sumo and Spread Spectrum Technologies."
That's what I wrote in 2016. Five years later, not that much in this landscape has changed though new players have entered.
John Darko had chronicled a still earlier showing of the Statement Series preamp and power amp at RMAF 2015, the same year he did a factory tour of the company. Back then all we knew was that the stereo amplifier would strap a linear power supply with 1KVA power toroid to a 250/500wpc into 8/4Ω output stage. Bridged to true differential balanced mono, it was to generate 750w into 8Ω and a cool 1'300 watts into 4Ω.
At RMAF 2017, one could spot the statement nextGen version which had cancelled the display—amps don't really need one—but retained an adapted version of the original and stylish ventilation detail.
This year, the name Statement became Aura since nextnextGen or next³Gen really would be overstatementing things.
As for the rest of it, EJ would have to spell it out with his keyboard once he had sufficient time away from his real job. But we can already see how this ground-up class D amp has been a long time coming. It wasn't cobbled together two weeks prior to T.H.E. Show 2021. The actual chassis was yet the circuit inside surely can be called rather more mature by now. [At left, EJ's SST stable.]
On the GaNation side of class D, Mytek just then were about to bow their $20K Empire monoblocks in half-rack width promising 500/8Ω and 1kW/4Ω. They would obviously join the elitist club which Merrill and AGD had built for these fast parts. Living on the opposite side of town would be the upcoming $3'000 LSA Voyager 200wpc GaN amp. Singing to the tune of class AB not D is Gold Note's compact PA-10, a €1'390 stereo amp of 75wpc that's bridgeable to 300 watts. Java Hifi have their integrated of LDR preamp and class D GaNFet power stage. That starts at $8'995 where it does 200wpc. There likely are other class D GaN amps to market or around the bend. I've listed the ones I knew of just then. Regardless, gallium nitride transistors remained a relative novelty in mid 2021 hifi when the main class D OEMs including Purifi stuck to standard silicon parts. That left smaller boutique brands to roll their own king-slaying Jaime GaNnister. They just had to decide where to position theirs: as gold-plated efforts of €15K+; as midfielders at ~8K; or as hoi polloi around €3K.
We remember how EJ had said that "I hope to rattle a few cages because some of the gear out there is getting priced out of all control." So today we're all about the hoi polloi. In the original Greek, it just meant 'the many', hence the people. Only in common English usage has it acquired a negative connotation to imply the great unwashed.
But there's always soap.
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