A British made amplifier for less than £400! £450 with optional phono stage.
The Edwards Audio Apprentice IA1 Integrated Amplifier is an all new design from the ground up.
The intention was to try to build the best and least expensive British made amplifier on the market, just to prove that we can still do it. The result is the impressive Edwards Audio series of integrated amplifiers, which we feel is a very attractive product with our customary top level of sonic performance.
The main design is a spin off from its bigger brothers, with some lessons learnt along the way. It is based around an all new class AB, Bi-polar, Darlington configured output stage using Sanken devices, coupled with a differential front end and buffered voltage stage. The main PSU consists of a custom wound toroidal transformer with 20,000uF of smoothing. The active pre-amp section uses a Soundwell volume control and features relay input switching. So, there are no compromises on the parts!
The IA model design brief was to produce a ‘hair-shirt’ all out performance product that anyone could afford, which especially in these tough economic times we believe is an important consideration, so the only concession to modernism has been the elimination of remote volume. The IA1-R has remote volume if you can’t live without it!
The elegant ‘half width’ case size with RED LED backlit display allows the amplifier not to be imposing in the domestic environment even with its flexible input arrangement: you have 1 x line level on 3.5mm stereo jack and 4 x line level inputs on RCA, one of which is labelled OPTION, for use with the optional moving magnet RIAA input stage.
The PCB’s are all surface mounted using Vishay mini melf 1% resistors – not the usual thin film type which sound inferior. The capacitors, no less than Panasonic FM series and larger components are all hand placed and hand soldered as flow soldering has a negative impact on sound quality.
So where have we been able to make the savings? Well the answer is simple, by investing over many years in buildings and machines we have very low overheads and consequently a low cost of production. This is enhanced by some efficient design techniques that enable us to produce a complete tested amplifier in less than an hour, most of which is spent on the hand soldering of all the thru-hole components.
So, IF you TRY really hard and you really WANT to, you can still build quality, budget components in the UK