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Arriving professionally double-boxed, then ensconced in hard black foam and sheathed in a ziploc plastic bag, the CMA800R has O-ring decoupled footers installed but includes four alternate machined aluminium cone footers. The belly further provides two more threads in the middle of the front and back. Users can thus decide on a 3- or 4-point support theme in two footer flavors. The owner's manual in English and Chinese gives us additional specs of 650kHz bandwidth at -3dB, 114dB SN/R in stereo mode, 180mW (7.5Vrms) max power into 300Ω (710mW/15Vrms in mono). Input sensitivity is 1.2Vrms, input impedance 47KΩ, power consumption 13 watts.

It also tells us that Questyle started investigating current-mode signal processing in 2005, citing a 1989 paper by D.C. Wadsworth published in the 87th AES forum on its advantages for audio. We also learn that the model name's 'R' stands for reference and that each unit undergoes a 30-point measurement check before being shipped. A single sheet shows THD+N vs. amplitude, THD+N vs. frequency and frequency response graphs for your unit identified by serial #. For strategic tech partners Questyle lists Wolfson, JRiver for whom they are the exclusive Chinese firmware partner and ICEpower for class D product development. The factory contracted to build Questyle products is ISO certified to avoid made-by-hand inconsistencies. Based on execution it could be Shanling.

For a peek under the cover one undoes eight hex screws, four long, four short. Now we see a 115/230V chassis-mount voltage selector attached to the PCB instead; that the Alps is a model 337G 50KAX2; that the two 8-legged op amps in the current module merely say 'C800'; that the four power plastic transistors from On Semiconductor are 100V/15W complimentary pairs of JE253G/243G; that the four high-voltage rectifiers are from On Semi's B10100 range; and that the two voltage regs are from Texas Instruments (337) and On Semi (317BT). Relay switching is via three Takamisawa, the two large Wima caps are MKP4 series 2.2uF 250V units. The Plitron toroid's hex bolt should get a lock washer and dab o' Loctite as it had come just a bit loose during transit to where I could retighten nearly two full turns.

With its solid side-rail extrusions, very finely bead-blasted finish, quality socketry/controls and clean industrial design, my visual/manual inspection reconfirmed it. Products like the CMA800R obliterate justifiable cause for yellow fever—buyer hatred of Chinese products—unless one means to support one's domestic economy. That remains perfectly justifiable.

With Alden Zhao's published power spec centered on 300Ω, what would his deck do with low-Ω planars from HifiMan and Audeze? Time for some de rigueur 24/7 signal seasoning before I'd lend my ears to this question. The CMA800R siphoned single-ended signal off my Metrum Hex converter whilst the latter's balanced outputs drove my Nagra Jazz for speaker system duties as per usual.

On the earlier map quest—where framed by competitors Soundquest might fall in the bigger picture—and without any consideration yet on sound, I'd call the CMA800R's execution and pricing head to head with April Music's new Stello range as represented by the HP100MkII sitting right below my 27" iMac in the next photo. For a brand I'd not heard of until a few weeks ago, that was choice company indeed. My big question was whether sound quality would follow suit.