So that’s a real surprise in the generally rather predictable world of hi-fi. HiFi Rose, a South Korean firm best known for its tried-and-tested streaming solutions, has created an integrated amplifier that defies typical design standards while also offering cutting-edge technology with the RA180.
The RA180 is still so new that it can only be seen on the manufacturer’s Korean website for now. There are also no prices or release dates available. Until then, we’d like to consolidate the information we have thus far for you.
First and foremost, there is the design. The RA180 is perhaps best described as steampunk. In other terms, it is the marriage of steam engine technology and futuristic bonding.
The device has the appearance of classic hi-fi amplifiers from the 1970s and 1980s, with various knobs, dials, and switches, as well as gears suggestive of high-class clockwork. Some of the buttons appear to be straight lifted from Nagra, and the pointer instruments are similarly reminiscent of the Swiss high-end brand. There are also sliders and scales, which are uncommon today. The whole thing is finished off with soft background lighting and what appears to be a big aluminum housing.
These are authentic switches and mechanisms that adorn the RA180’s front. In contrast to HiFi Rose’s usual touchscreen operation, this is a true haptic Eldorado.
According to what is known, the RA180 also has a number of technical features. The most notable difference is that HiFi Rose’s amplifier section employs FETs (field-effect transistors) based on GaN (gallium nitride).
Simply described, it is a semiconductor material that, when compared to silicon, provides a more compact design with reduced heat generation and other optimized features. GaN is also increasingly being utilized in current chargers, which means they are smaller while retaining the same power – or more powerful while being the same size.
GaN technology also offers substantially lower rise times in amplifiers such as the RA180. This means that the transistors are much faster than usual, allowing for more precise signal processing.
HiFi Rose is not the first amplifier company to employ GaN technology. However, the topic is still in its infancy and will almost certainly play a significant role in many Class D amplifier proposals in the future. The RA180 is at the cutting edge. Its four power amplifiers provide 4 x 200 W per channel (at 4 and 8 ohms) or 2 x 400 W bridged.
On the back of the RA180, there are 16 loudspeaker terminals. Loudspeakers can be connected in two ways: conventionally or by bi-amping. And all of this is doable with just two pairs of speakers (A and B).
In addition, the (purely analog) RA180 is quite simple to connect in different ways. There are three cinch line inputs, one balanced input, and one phono MM/MC input. A subwoofer output is also available.
The RA180 has piqued our interest. As soon as the pricing is known, it will be posted here.