The David Berning Quadrature Z Mono Power Amplifiers

Tubed power amplifiers
David Berning Quadrature Z

story does it? In fact it will be very difficult for me to give you anything other than a very partial glimpse of the technology behind these amplifiers and the steps that David Berning has taken to address the well-known limitations associated with OTL amplifiers. I am no amplifier designer and have little comprehension of the finer points of audio design and even less where valves are concerned. But what I will say is that as humans, we like to compartmentalize and as audio and music lovers we also have a strong tendency to fit various types of component into neat little slots. Hence the widely held belief that solid-state amplifiers are fast, a little lean but have grip and control. Valve amplifiers on the other hand, are warm and more colourful, but slow and a bit soft. If you are even a general subscriber to these stereotypes (no pun intended) then time spent with David Berning’s amplifiers will be the audio equivalent of a cattle-prod in the nether regions because, despite being an all-valve design, and OTL to boot, the Quadrature Z amplifiers will shake your preconceptions to the core*. They’ll open your ears to the sheer beauty of music. Experience them and you’ll not give a hoot whether they are valve, solid-state or made from recycled washing machines. With these amplifiers the music is the message and the method of delivery is awesome.

The absence of output transformers and the fact that they eschew battleship build too, makes these amplifiers deceptively light in weight; no “hewn from solid billet” casework here. The facia is a simple alloy plate with extensive grilles to cover the innards. So if you judge by appearance alone you might well wonder just where all the money went. Internally though, the amplifiers are superbly constructed and point-to point wired. You just know that this is no mass produced component. As I mentioned before, the solutions arrived at have eliminated the problems usually associated with OTL designs, yet have preserved all those things that commend them, such as their astonishing openness and transparency. And valve life is very impressive too, at a projected 20,000 hours.

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