This must rank as one of the most expensive one-make audio systems we’ve ever explored. CH Precision is based in Switzerland and it’s designed and built by people who used to design and build Goldmund audio equipment. Each component is built like a brick outhouse, without even an implication of a suggestion of compromise. It’s hyper-flexible, engineer’s engineering. And the whole package costs well north of £60,000. Cor!
The system tested here is comprised of a D1 SACD/CD player, which becomes a transport to the C1 digital to analogue controller that in turn drives an A1 power amplifier. This last is perhaps the easiest way to define the ‘hyper-flexible’ nature of the system, because it’s designed to be used as a lone 2x 100W amplifier, or with another A1 amp as a dual-mono, a passive or active bi-amplified system, or as a bridged design, delivering up to 350W per channel. All are equally good and valid ways to make sound, and all depend on what best suits your system. There is also an X1 power supply, designed to feed the D1 or C1, and this can be factory configured to feed one or two units. There is also an M1 reference two-channel amplifier. This has all the flexibility options of the A1, but doubles the power throughout. At twice the height and 75kg per chassis, it makes the 43kg A1 seem almost sylph-like. Like the X1, the M1 was not available at the time of review, in part because I wouldn’t be able to get this into my room without having to resort to structural changes to the property.
There’s a common theme to all CH Precision components in terms of design and overall look. They are share the same wave like front panel with centre display panel and all use the same chassis: large, heavy, and allowing the designs to be built on a common modular motherboard/card layout akin to a desktop PC. This not only means shared chassis components, but extends the working life of the design, by allowing up-coming changes to the design to be implemented by card additions and substitutions. The common chassis also allows a clever stacking arrangement, where decoupled screw-in bars fit in the place of the four feet, meaning the system becomes its own rack. Of course, this means whatever the three or four components rest on needs to be structurally sound, because it’s taking a load that tips the scales at an impressive 99kg (142kg if you use two A1 amps) – that’s almost 220lb in the developed world.