Here we are then with a pair of Yorkshire born reference amplifiers from Caas Audio, the Elysian 100 mono blocks. The company was established over ten years ago now in 2006 when Carl and Neil Broomfield decided to team up. Since then, they have developed the Elysian Pre, the Elysian Server, Digital Audio Server and the Elysian Power Amplifiers. Caas are a company who want to ‘leap ahead’ of offerings from other companies with all their electronics, as most do, but with Caas, they seem to be backing that up with facts and numbers rather than marketing and fancy words.
I will just be covering the ‘6 years in the making’ Elysian Power Amplifiers from their range, so without further ado, let’s crack on.
Two Looks Better Than One
I’m a sucker for mono’s, I just think there’s something awesome about an amplifier (or plural) per channel. In my experience it doesn’t necessarily correlate directly with sonic performance, but it does look awesome. Beyond this rather trivial fact, they are actually lovely to look at despite the fairly simple aesthetic. Nothing more than a well-engineered curved aluminium front plate and a black aluminium heatsink-edged main chassis. If it was me, I would have all black, sometimes I find the silver a little shiny and I think black would really suit this understated design.
It is worth noting that these aren’t giant amps by any stretch of the imagination at only 260mm (W), 340mm (D), 140mm (H) and weigh in at 11kg per mono-block. They could quite easily have put some more ‘space’ in the chassis an increased the size to move with what seems to be a trend currently of bigger must be better, but they didn’t, and I like that. The size makes them pretty discreet and means that you don’t need a massive room just to have enough space for both your speakers and amps! In short, I think the whole form factor and design are really good, although slightly odd when amplifiers of this price and ability tend to be much bigger.
Right, this is where things get serious, I mentioned earlier that there is a lot of technical innovation and evidence in these amps, so I will cover that in a moment, but before that, the more simplistic specifications.
The mono’s retail for £9000 a pair (£4500 individually) and as their name suggests the E100’s are able to output just over 100W into 8 Ohm, 20 of which is pure Class A so realistically at normal listening volumes these are going to be running in pretty much pure class A. Once you push past this though, they are operating in class A/B and they are able to deliver up to 200W into 4 Ohms. For this move, they utilise something called OpBias which can be read about here. As we know, operating in class A/B reduces heat and power consumption, although they do still get pretty warm!
Beyond this is where the interesting stuff starts. Here is a list of the things that Caas say are ‘state of the art’:
- DC coupled from input to output (NO capacitors in the signal path).
- Dual transformer supplies for near perfect circuit isolation.
- Ultra-low Transient Intermodulation Distortion (TIM).
- Linear phase response with zero feedback.
All of these are to be taken at face value but Caas are easily contactable for more information on these points. The following specs have a little more detail behind them! All of them are said to be world firsts in audio application so it’s definitely worth taking note!
RWave – Ultra wide bandwidth circuit topology utilising microwave circuit design, layout and stability techniques providing superior signal path fidelity.
CSD – Open loop, voltage gain topology for perfect symmetric drive and outstanding distortion reduction.
TZFB – True zero feedback design (NO global feedback, NO local feedback) with “VAS Perfect Isolation ( VPI )” system, producing zero VAS loading and unprecedented levels of THD for a zero feedback topology.
NIDS – Non-Intrusive DC Servo system.
Fastpower – 6 bespoke, discrete regulated power supplies with over 100,000uF of power supply capacitance for instantaneous current delivery.
Seriously, its well worth following this link and just taking the time to read about the tech in these amplifiers because it’s not only impressive for the sake of being complicated, but it actually makes total sense from an audio perspective. It also shows just how clever and committed these guys are to bring awesome sound for a comparatively reasonable price in comparison to the vast majority of top quality amplifiers on the market. I’m not for a second saying they are cheap by the way!
Lastly on the agenda is sound, turn the page to get into that….