The Apprentice IA is an all new design from the ground up. The intention was to try to build the best and least expensive British made amplifier on the market, just to prove that we can still do it!! The result is the impressive Edwards Audio series of integrated amplifiers. During the development we hit a few ‘problems’ with cost of the casework but these were eventually solved by investing in our own dedicated tooling for a custom Extrusion that is used for the side panels, this meant that we could almost eliminate bends in the metalwork, we ended up with just one, thus removing unnecessary cost. The result we feel is a very attractive product with our customary top level of sonic performance.
The main design is a spin off from it bigger brothers, with some lessons learnt along the way and is based around an all new class AB, Bi-polar, darlington configured output stage using Sanken devices, coupled with a differential front end and buffered voltage stage. The main PSU consists of a custom wound toroidal transformer with 20,000uF of smoothing. The passive pre-amp section uses a ‘Blue velvet’ ALPS RK27 volume control and features relay input switching. SO, no compromises on the parts then!!
The IA model design brief was to produce a ‘hair/shirt’ all out performance product that anyone can afford, which in these tough economic times we find ourselves is an important consideration, so the only concession to modernism has been the elimination of remote volume. The IA1-R has remote volume if you can’t live without it!!
The elegant ‘half width’ case size allows the amplifier not to be imposing in the domestic environment which coupled with its flexible input arrangement, you have 1 x line level on 3.5 stereo jack and 4 line level inputs on RCA one of which is labelled OPTION, this allows the user to select either a MM RIAA card for turntable replay or for our forthcoming TRUE 24/192kHz USB card with 24/192kHz Coax and 24/96kHz Optical inputs as well, this is a state of the art digital input board based on our own software all running on a powerful multi-threading processor.
The PCB’s are all surface mounted using Vishay mini melf 1% resistors - not the usual thin film type which sound inferior. The capacitors, no less than Panasonic FM series and larger components are all hand placed and hand soldered as flow soldering has a negative impact on sound quality - STILL no compromise, I hear you say!!
So where have we been able to make the savings ?? Well the answer is simple, by investing over many years in buildings and machines we have very low overheads and consequently a low cost of production, this is enhanced by some efficient design techniques that enable us to produce a complete tested amplifier in less than an hour, most of which is spent on the hand soldering of all the thru hole components.
Output into 8 Ohms / 4 Ohms both channels drive: 50W /80W
Power bandwidith +/-1.5dB: 20-20kHz
THD Distortion: <0.005% 1kHz
Signal to noise ratio Ref 1W - A Wtd: -83dB
RIAA Card (OPTION) gain 40dB: 47K with 120pF
Stereo separation: better than 66dB - 20-20kHz
Input Loading - Line level: 27K
Dynamic Range: 110dB
Output impedance: <0.1 Ohms
Max output level burst 5mSec 1kHz one channel: 60W into 8 Ohms
Dimensions WxHxL: 218 mm x 87.5mm x 325mm
Weight packed / unpacked: 4kg/3kg
Power consumption (idle): 12W
(Only in North America)
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