Nevertheless, in a large range of electronics, there are products that designers feel best highlight their outlook. For Cossy, there are two products that demonstrate that; “The power amps, for the ability to adjust the ratio of global to local feedback circuit. This controls the damping factor and allows better loudspeaker and room matching. But also the P1 phono stage and its current mode inputs: These moving coil inputs remove the need for impedance matching and make for superior signal to noise ratio when compared to voltage inputs.” Demonstrating understated Swiss reserve, it’s clear that while all CH’s products are important to Cossy, these two design blocks best demonstrate what the company stands for.
I visited CH Precision at the time of one of its biggest changes in years; it announced and showed in early prototype form, the L10 and M10 amplifiers destined to sit atop the already mountainous peaks of CH Precision’s amplifier hierarchy. Alongside these ‘concept’ amplifiers came the substantial updates to the A1 stereo and M1 mono power amplifiers and – as seen in pre-release form – a Roon-Ready Ethernet streaming HD board for the C1 and C1 mono digital controllers and the I1 integrated amplifier. For a company as deliberately compact as CH Precision, this is a lot of heavy lifting for the R&D team in the company’s 10th anniversary year.
The longevity of each product – both in terms of the length of time it remains on sale and potential time it stays in a system – does impose unique disciplines on the brand. In 11-years of audio manufacturing, a company that has only ever discontinued one product that places severe strictures on both its designers and their designs; you don’t want the next model to be the first one that only stays around for a few years. That eradicates any complacency in product development, even if it does make for unchanging industrial design. This can make the brand a victim of its own success in terms of visibility; owners tend to upgrade or add more CH Precision products, and that means there are more unicorn horns on sale than second-hand CH kit. Also, a company that doesn’t launch a new product every six months doesn’t get the exposure of a brand that panders to the ‘yes, but what have you done for me lately?’ cabal of high-end audio buyers (and reviewers). Instead, CH Precision appears to sell its products on the revolutionary idea of making products that sound good, knowing their investment will still be current a decade or more from now. As such, distributors, retailers, reviewers, and listeners alike who have matured past the ‘flavour of the month’ club find themselves in lock-step with CH Precision’s approach.
The CH Precision concept posits that an owner of their products need not change their electronics, ever. The products are kept up to date through their modular nature and periodic and optional upgrades. Should you wish to improve the system, there’s a whole extended family tree of additional power supply and dual-mono options, a structure that applies to almost every core component and that can be worked through before you run out of CH Precision road. Should you decide to change your cartridge or loudspeakers, the electronics have unique flexibility to adapt. And with every component wearing a CH Precision logo still closely related to (or upgradable to) a current model, listeners aren’t likely to find themselves left with a discontinued ‘white elephant’.
It’s an approach that imposes its own rigour but creates its own opportunities too. Longevity brings long product cycles and modular design allows both future proofing and upgradability. But just as importantly, the design and technology remains common and complementary, the company agile and true to those original goals.