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This review first appeared in the September 2010 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read this review of the nowe audio mono3.5 in its original Polish version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or nowe audio - Ed.

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacuła
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air 
Phono preamp: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Air Tight Supreme, Miyajima Laboratory Waza
Preamp: Ayon Audio Polaris III with ReGenerator II power supply
Power amp: Tenor Audio 175S and Soulution 710
Integrated amp: Leben CS300XS custom
Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann
Headphones: AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600 Ω
Interconnects: CD-preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp-power amp Wireworld Platinum Eclipse, speaker cable Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cords: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300 (all equipment)
Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip
audio stand: Base under all components, Pro Audio Bono under CD
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD, turntables change continuously
Review component retail: 11.000zł the pair in Poland

I quite unexpectedly learned about the launch of nowe audio. That in itself wasn’t the real news. New companies spring up all the time. The important bit was that this firm proposed an absolutely uncompromising amplifier which on paper at least pushed the notion of the straight wire with(out) gain to the extreme whilst ensconcing its minimalist circuit in two heavy-as-hell monoblocks milled from solid aluminium. But there was an added wrinkle. The designer turned out to be none other than Wojtek Untershuetz, creator of the Acuhorn loudspeakers whose Rosso Superiore 175 model we reviewed earlier. You can find a Polish interview with him and his wife Alicja here. Against that background the gestation of these amplifiers wasn’t exactly news but rather the outcome of earlier research with an extreme emphasis on simplicity.

This amplifier is a bit unusual so that I had to clarify a few things first. For your benefit I’ve combined the email exchange with Wojtek into the following: "The mono3.5 has nothing in common with prior circuits. I chose for it a new part presently not used anywhere else in audio, a Mosfet rather than valve because tube technology is inductive and imprecise. The amplifier is switched on with a red backlit power switch. Preamplifier output may not exceed 20V peaks as it will damage the power Mosfet. For full power the amp needs to see a 4.4V input into 2Ω speakers and 6V peaks for 8Ω. The cases act as monolithic heat sinks so nothing may be put atop the amplifiers. At 20°C room temperature the top cover will run about 40°C. In a sun-lit spot of 40°C it will be get very hot – 65°C (these temperatures were measured with a thermo camera at Politechnika Gdańska). You can also order a preamplifier based on the same architecture and I plan on stereo and integrated variants."

"The main premises of the circuit are:
  • class A without feedback
  • only one single-ended part in the signal path
  • a purist common collector connection without voltage gain
  • a 3.5A output stage
  • a power supply with 150.000µF per channel
  • a low impedance power supply
  • a high impedance input
  • superb linearity of input and output
  • lowest possible harmonic distortion
  • direct connections with silver wire
  • CNC machined aluminium casing.

I won’t say more but I am pretty sure you have not seen anything like it before. [The Nelson Pass FirstWatt F4 with its negative voltage gain to work as pure current buffer would appear to be conceptually similar – Ed.]

Discs used for testing - FIM Super Sound! II, First Impression Music, FIM XR24 067, XRCD24; Art Blakey Quartet, A Jazz Massage, Impulse!/Universal Music Japan, UCCI-9043, CD; Basia, It’s That Girl Again, Koch Records/WHD Entertainment, Inc., IECP-10168, HQ CD; David Sylvian/Steve Jansen/Richard Barbieri/Mick Karn, Rain Tree Crow, Virgin Japan/EMI Music Japan, VJCP-68875, CD; Jim Hall, Live!, Horizon/A&M Records/Universal Music Japan, UCCM-9225, CD; John Coltrane, Coltrane, Prestige/JVC, VICJ-60270, K2 CD; Judy Garland, Judy in Love, Capitol/Toshiba-EMI, TOCJ-9656, CD; Laurie Anderson, Homeland, Nonesuch, 524055-2, CD+DVD; Martin L. Gore, Counterfeit e.p., Mute/Sire, 9 25980-2, CD; Savage, Tonight, Extravaganza Publishing Srl/Klub80, CD001, 25th Anniversary Limited Edition, CD; Smolik, Smolik, Kayax 014, CD; Stan Getz Quartet, The Soft Swing, Verve/Universal Music Japan, POCJ-2721, CD; The Beatles, Abbey Road, Apple/Parlophone/Toshiba-EMI, TOCP-51122, CD; Tsuyoshi Yamamoto, Autumn In Seattle, First Impression Music, FIM XRCD 043, XRCD2; Wes Montgomery, Just Walking, Verve/Universal Music Japan, UCCV-9355, SHM-CD.