Stunning Rose RA180 HiFi amplifier now available in the UK

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I appreciate a juicy piece of industrial design, especially when combined with audio technology. UK audio specialist Henley Audio has announced the imminent availability in the UK of the superb Rose RA180 HiFi integrated amplifier, signaling a new category for the Korean brand.

The RA180 has one of the most comprehensive feature sets of any high-end amplifier currently on the market today and is an ideal partner for the brand’s award-winning music streamers. With its striking, semi-exposed aesthetic, sturdy mechanical controls and array of inputs and outputs, it promises to be a pleasure to use and own.

The integrated amplifier has been designed to deliver natural sound and claims to have unique input and output options along with user adjustable features along with 800W Class AD amplification.

The overall design of the RA180 complements the award-winning RS150B music streamer in its look. However, the semi-exposed steampunk housing of the amplifier is constructed from high-purity aluminum. The RA180 is a Class AD amplifier that combines the superior efficiency and output of Class D amplification with its improved noise and distortion measurements, compared to more traditional Class AB designs. Unfortunately, many Class-D amplifier designs in the past have suffered from poor sound quality, due to the limitations of digital circuitry. HiFi Rose’s Class AD design solves these problems with innovative new materials.

The RA180’s Class AD amplifier uses gallium nitride FETs instead of more silicon FET technology. The result of this design is a high-speed, accurate amplifier stage with almost no dead time, allowing it to operate more naturally, like a pure analog amplifier.

The design features two 200W per channel amplifier modules. One amplifier is optimized for stable bass and balance, while the other is engineered to deliver smooth, clean high-frequency power, extending to the super tweeter area well beyond 20kHz. The company says the result is sophisticated bi-amping from a single package. When the two modules per channel are connected separately to the high and low frequency inputs of a loudspeaker, the signal to the loudspeaker is clean, controlled and free of interference.

To help control high frequencies, the RA180 is equipped with a user-adjustable active crossover. The H/F Crossover section allows users to adjust the base high frequency output from 600Hz to 6000kHz to precisely match the connected speakers. The high-frequency amplifier module will then support playback down to 100kHz (@-3dB) to produce a wide and deep soundstage that the designers say sounds natural and limitless.

Finally, the two amplifier modules per channel can also be set to Bridge Tied Loads (BTL) mode, allowing a single pair of speaker cables to connect to each speaker while enjoying 400W of balanced sound.

The RA180 has many other customizable features. Bass and treble tone controls allow the user to adjust the flat frequency response to 100Hz and 10kHz, respectively, with ±15dB gain for fully customized sound. There’s also a finely adjustable balance control slider for fine-tuning the signal distribution between the two channels. Alternatively, the bypass power amplification mode connects the source connected to the LINE 3 input directly to the power amplification stage without going through the preamplifier. This is particularly useful for home cinema applications, allowing the RA180 to power the front speakers of a home cinema system without having to deal with multiple volume knobs.

Built-in MM and MC compatible phono stages are included and fitted with low-band bass selection and high-band reduction dials to match the amplifier to the EQ filter with which each vinyl record was originally produced, offering greater flexibility than stand-alone phono stages can offer.

The RA180 has one balanced input and three unbalanced inputs alongside the built-in phono stage. There is also support for subwoofer output, trigger connection and two grounding points, as well as 16 speaker output terminals, which support connection of two different sets of stereo speakers. The wide range of features, technologies and connectivity options is supported by a new power supply design.

The power supply was developed exclusively for the RA180 and uses silicon carbide FET technology, with its high voltage support and heat resistance, to deliver high output efficiently with low heat generation. It also responds well to power fluctuations by using a 2.5 kW class PFC circuit, oversized capacitors and a damping factor greater than 200. The result is a power supply that meets the power demands of the system, while allowing always up to the amplifier to sound so clean. and as natural as possible.

Price and availability: The HiFi Rose RA180 costs £5,499 and will be available from May 2022 across the UK HiFi Rose dealer network.

More information: www.henleyaudio.co.uk and www.eng.hifirose.com.

Main characteristics:

  • Class AD amplifier design with 800W output.
  • Gallium Nitride FET for perfect linear output.
  • Four amplifier modules to support bridged loads or bi-amplification.
  • Frequency range up to 100kHz.
  • Separate outputs for two sets of stereo speakers.
  • Built-in moving magnet and moving coil phono stage.
  • Phono stage with adjustable equalizer.
  • Active crossover to support Super Tweeter frequencies.
  • Tonally flat output design.
  • Bass and treble tone controls.
  • Bypass power amp mode.
  • High efficiency power supply with silicon carbide FET.
  • Retro-industrial aesthetic.
  • Dimmable VU meters.
  • IR remote and Wi-Fi control (via RoseAmpConnect app).
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